1-25-24 roundup: Pro football and basketball, College football and basketball, High school basketball and wrestling, Middle school basketball, Legion baseball

By Richard Walker

When the offseason began, the Carolina Panthers appeared determined to hire a talented offensive mind to lead their football team in 2024.

Dave Canales

On Thursday night, the team announced it was hiring Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales as the franchise’s 10th head coach as it enters its 30th season.

Other previous Panthers head coaches were Dom Capers (1995-98, 30-34 record), George Seifert (1999-2001, 16-32 record), John Fox (2002-10, 73-71 record), Ron Rivera (2011-19, 76-63-1 record), Perry Fewell (2019 interim, 0-4), Matt Rhule (2020-22, 11-27 record), Steve Wilks (2022 interim, 6-6 record), Frank Reich (2023, 1-10 record) and Chris Tabor (2023 interim, 1-5 record).

Canales spent the 2023 season with the Buccaneers and is credited with resurrecting former Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield’s career as Tampa Bay won the NFC South Division title and advanced to the NFC semifinals following a wild card playoff victory.

Canales’ 1st job was for 13 years with the Seattle Seahawks’ organization during which time he worked for 8 years with recent new Panthers general manager hire Dan Morgan.

“Dave’s background is rooted in success,” Panthers owner David Tepper said in a team news release. “He has an innovative mindset and positive energy that connects well with players and staff. We are impressed with his ability to bring out the best in players.”

Said Morgan in a team news release: “I’m excited to work alongside Dave again. His background coaching multiple position groups has given him a great understanding of what it takes to build a successful team. His infectious personality resonates with players and everyone who comes in contact with him. I’m confident that will translate to the field.”

Canales, 42, started his NFL coaching career as Seahawks wide receivers coach in 2010 before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2018, passing coordinator in 2020 and quarterback coach again in 2022 before moving on to Tampa Bay.

The priority for Canales will be to work with Panthers quarterback Bryce Young, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft, who struggled through his rookie season with a 2-14 quarterback records.

A Mexican-American, Canales will become the 5th NFL head coach of Latino descent Tom Fears, Tom Flores, Rivera and Brian Flores.










Pro football

Sunday’s NFL conference championship games are a mixed bag of regulars and newcomers when the Baltimore Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs at 3 p.m. and the San Francisco 49ers host the Detroit Lions at 6:30 p.m.

In the Super Bowl era that began with the 1966 regular season, the 49ers are the most frequent participant with 19 appearances in 58 years.

Meanwhile, only the Houston Texans (none) have less appearances that the Lions, the 49ers opponent on Sunday.

Detroit is making its 2nd appearance – and first since the 1991 season when the Lions lost to the Washington Redskins (now Commanders).

In the AFC, the Chiefs are making their 6th straight conference finals appearance and 9th overall in their history. Kansas City is still 2 behind the all-time record of 8 straight conference title games held by the New England Patriots from the 2011 to 2018 seasons.

The Ravens are in their 5th title game – and first since the 2012 season.

Here are conference finalists by each organization by number of appearances:

19 – San Francisco 49ers
16 – Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers
15 – New England Patriots
13 – Las Vegas Raiders
11 – Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams
10 – Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings
9 – Kansas City Chiefs
8 – Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles
7 – Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins
6 – Washington Commanders, Tennessee Titans
5 – Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens
4 – Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks
3 – Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints
2 – Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions
0 – Houston Texans

The 2023-24 NFL playoffs schedule:

Wild Card round: Jan. 13-15
No. 1 Baltimore (13-4), bye
(Monday, Jan. 14)
No. 7 Pittsburgh (10-7) at No. 2 Buffalo (11-6) – Buffalo 31-17
(Saturday, Jan. 13)
No. 6 Miami (11-6) at No. 3 Kansas City (11-6) – Kansas City 26-7
(Saturday, Jan. 13)
No. 5 Cleveland (11-6) at No. 4 Houston (10-7) – Houston 45-14
No. 1 San Francisco (12-5), bye
(Sunday, Jan. 14)
No. 7 Green Bay (9-8) at No. 2 Dallas (12-5) – Green Bay 48-32
(Sunday, Jan. 14)
No. 6 L.A. Rams (10-7) at No. 3 Detroit (12-5) – Detroit 24-23
(Monday, Jan. 15)
No. 5 Philadelphia (11-6) at No. 4 Tampa Bay (9-8) – Tampa Bay 32-9

Divisional round: Jan. 20-21
(Saturday, Jan. 20)
No. 4 Houston at No. 1 Baltimore – Baltimore 34-10
(Sunday, Jan. 21)
No. 3 Kansas City at No. 2 Buffalo – Kansas City 27-24
(Saturday, Jan. 20)
No. 7 Green Bay at No. 1 San Francisco – San Francisco 24-21
(Sunday, Jan. 21)
No. 4 Tampa Bay at No. 3 Detroit – Detroit 31-23

Conference championships: Jan. 28
AFC: Kansas City at Baltimore, 3 p.m. (CBS)
NFC: Detroit at San Francisco, 6:30 p.m. (FOX)

Super Bowl LVIII: Feb. 11
At Las Vegas, 6:30 p.m. (CBS)










High school wrestling

Seven local teams will participate in the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual team wrestling championships that start on Saturday.

Ashbrook and Kings Mountain of the Big South 3A, Burns and Cherryville of the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A, Lincolnton and West Lincoln of the Catawba Valley 2A and Lincoln Charter of the Catawba Shores 1A/2A all made their respective playoff brackets.

In Class 3A, No. 4 Ashbrook (28-2) will host Smoky Mountain and No. 11 Kings Mountain (28-8) meets Piedmont at Pisgah.

In Class 2A, No. 2 West Lincoln (20-4) hosts Wheatmore, No. 8 Burns (17-7) meets No. 9 Lincoln Charter (19-19) at Trinity and No. 12 Lincolnton (30-2) meets Mount Pleasant at Eden Morehead.

And in Class 1A, No. 9 Cherryville (7-31) meets Mitchell County at Robbinsville.

In each of Saturday’s single elimination matches, the teams are in 4-team pools with winners advancing to a 2nd match later on Saturday to advance to Jan. 31 regional finals.







High school basketball

Here are area results/upcoming schedule:

(Thursday, Jan. 25)
Kings Mountain 68, Cramer 39

Cramer 76, Kings Mountain 19: Oshauna Holland (49 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 5 steals), Hadley Womack (7 points, 5 assists, 3 steals), Mallory Hall (6 points) and Nevaeh Floyd (4 points, 3 rebounds) led Cramer.

(Friday, Jan. 26)
Crest at Forestview
Huss at North Gaston
South Point at Ashbrook
Burns at Shelby
Cherryville at Thomas Jefferson
Highland Tech at East Gaston
Hickory at East Lincoln
Statesville at North Lincoln
Lincolnton at Bunker Hill
West Lincoln at Bandys
Westminster Catawba at Gaston Christian
Community School of Davidson at Lincoln Charter
Mountain Island Charter at Christ the King
Piedmont CC at Sugar Creek

(Monday, Jan. 29)
Victory Christian Center at Gaston Christian

(Tuesday, Jan. 30)
Crest at Huss
Forestview at South Point
Kings Mountain at Ashbrook
North Gaston at Cramer
Burns at Highland Tech
Shelby at Cherryville
Thomas Jefferson at Bessemer City
East Lincoln at Statesville
North Lincoln at Hickory
Lincolnton at Newton-Conover
Maiden at West Lincoln
Concord Academy at Gaston Day
Langtree at Lincoln Charter
Mountain Island Charter at Pine Lake Prep
Piedmont CC at Valor Prep

(Friday, Feb. 2)
Ashbrook at Crest
Cramer at South Point
Huss at Kings Mountain
North Gaston at Forestview
Bessemer City at Cherryville
East Gaston at Thomas Jefferson
Highland Tech at Shelby
Piedmont CC at Queen’s Grant
East Lincoln at West Iredell
North Lincoln at North Iredell
Bandys at Lincolnton
West Lincoln at Bunker Hill
Gaston Day at Gaston Christian
Langtree at Mountain Island Charter
Lincoln Charter at Pine Lake Prep
Piedmont CC at Queen’s Grant










Pro basketball

Here is the Charlotte Hornets’ 2023-24 regular season schedule:

Wed. 25 ATLANTA (W 116-110)
Fri. 27 DETROIT (L 99-111)
Mon. 30 BROOKLYN (L 121-133)
Wed. 1 at Houston (L 119-128)
Sat. 4 at Indiana (W 125-124)
Sun. 5 at Dallas (L 118-124)
Wed. 8 WASHINGTON (L 116-132)
Fri. 10 at Washington (W 124-117)
Sun. 12 at New York (L 107-129)
Tue. 14 MIAMI (L 105-111)
Fri. 17 MILWAUKEE (L 99-130)
Sat. 18 NEW YORK (L 108-122)
Mon. 20 BOSTON (W 121-118, OT)
Wed. 22 WASHINGTON (W 117-114)
Sun. 26 at Orlando (L 117-130)
Tue. 28 at New York (L 91-115)
Thu. 30 at Brooklyn (W 129-128)
Sat. 2 MINNESOTA (L 117-123)
Wed. 6 at Chicago (L 100-111)
Fri. 8 TORONTO (W 119-116)
Mon. 11 MIAMI (L 114-116)
Wed. 13 at Miami (L 104-115)
Fri. 15 NEW ORLEANS (L 107-112)
Sat. 16 PHILADELPHIA (L 82-135)
Mon. 18 at Toronto (L 99-114)
Wed. 20 at Indiana (L 113-144)
Sat. 23 DENVER (L 95-102)
Tue. 26 at LA Clippers (L 104-113)
Thu. 28 at LA Lakers (L 112-133)
Fri. 29 at Phoenix (L 119-133)
Mon. 1 at Denver (L 93-111)
Tue. 2 at Sacramento (W 111-104)
Fri. 5 at Chicago (L 91-104)
Mon. 8 CHICAGO (L 112-119, OT)
Wed. 10 SACRAMENTO (L 98-123)
Fri. 12 at San Antonio (L 99-135)
Sun. 14 at Miami (L 87-104)
Wed. 17 at New Orleans (L 112-132)
Fri. 19 SAN ANTONIO (W 124-120)
Sat. 20 PHILADELPHIA (L 89-97 )
Mon. 22 at Minnesota (W 128-125)
Wed. 24 at Detroit (L 106-113)
Fri. 26 HOUSTON 7 p.m.
Sat. 27 UTAH 7 p.m.
Mon. 29 NEW YORK 7 p.m.
Wed. 31 CHICAGO 7 p.m.
Fri. 2 at Oklahoma City 8 p.m.
Sun. 4 INDIANA 6 p.m.
Mon. 5 LA LAKERS 7 p.m.
Wed. 7 TORONTO 7 p.m.
Fri. 9 at Milwaukee 8 p.m.
Sat. 10 MEMPHIS 7 p.m.
Mon. 12 INDIANA 7 p.m.
Wed. 14 ATLANTA 7 p.m.
Thu. 22 at Utah 9 p.m.
Fri. 23 at Golden State 10 p.m.
Sun. 25 at Portland 9 p.m.
Tue. 27 at Milwaukee 8 p.m.
Thu. 29 MILWAUKEE 7 p.m.
Fri. 1 at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Sun. 3 at Toronto 6 p.m.
Tue. 5 ORLANDO 7 p.m.
Fri. 8 at Washington 7 p.m.
Sat. 9 BROOKLYN 7 p.m.
Mon. 11 at Detroit 7 p.m.
Wed. 13 at Memphis 8 p.m.
Fri. 15 PHOENIX 7 p.m.
Sat. 16 at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Tue. 19 at Orlando 7 p.m.
Sat. 23 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Mon. 25 at Cleveland 7 p.m.
Wed. 27 CLEVELAND 7 p.m.
Fri. 29 GOLDEN STATE 7 p.m.
Sun. 31 LA CLIPPERS 6 p.m.
Mon. 1 BOSTON 7 p.m.
Wed. 3 PORTLAND 7 p.m.
Fri. 5 ORLANDO 7 p.m.
Sun. 7 OKLAHOMA CITY 6 p.m.
Tue. 9 DALLAS 7 p.m.
Wed. 10 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 12 at Boston 7:30 p.m.
Sun. 14 at Cleveland 1 p.m.











Middle school basketball

Gaston County Conference standings through Jan. 26:
Chavis 2-0
Grier 2-0
Holbrook 1-0
Belmont 1-1
W.C. Friday 1-1
Stanley 1-1
York Chester 1-1
Southwest 0-0
Mount Holly 0-1
Bessemer City 0-2
Cramerton 0-2

Belmont 2-0
Bessemer City 2-0
Holbrook 2-0
Mount Holly 1-0
Cramerton 1-1
W.C. Friday 1-1
Grier 1-1
Southwest 0-1
Chavis 0-2
Stanley 0-2
York Chester 0-2

(Wednesday, Jan. 24)
York Chester 35, W.C. Friday 32 (OT)

W.C. Friday 20, York Chester 9

(Thursday, Jan. 25)
Holbrook at Southwest: Suspended with Holbrook leading 9-8 5:02 left in 1st half due to unsafe playing conditions.

Grier 49, Stanley 26: Raheem McClure (27 points, 5 steals) and Braylon Smith (11 points 8 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists) led Grier.

Belmont 49, Cramerton 15: Braydon Walden (21 points, 10 rebounds), Tucker McWhirter (9 points) and Wilson London (5 points, 12 rebounds) led Belmont.

Chavis 41, Bessemer City 28: Aiden Thomas (15 points, 13 rebounds), Karter Willis (11 points, 3 rebounds), Jayden Adams (10 points, 3 steals), Canon Whitesides (5 assists) and Mason Powers (4 assists) led Chavis.

BYE – Mount Holly

Holbrook 42, Southwest 14: Shemiah McCoy had 20 points and JaKyra Sadler 10 points for Holbrook.

Grier 39, Stanley 22

Belmont 25, Cramerton 8: Rowen Trexler had 8 points and Stella Absher 7 for Belmont.

Bessemer City 51, Chavis 9

BYE – Mount Holly

(Monday, Jan. 29)
Jan. 29: Mount Holly at Grier, Southwest at W.C. Friday, Stanley at Cramerton, York Chester at Chavis, Belmont at Bessemer City, BYE – Holbrook














College basketball

Results and schedule for area men’s college basketball:

(Friday, Jan. 26)
Gaston College at Denmark Tech

(Saturday, Jan. 27)
Belmont Abbey at Southern Wesleyan
Charlotte at Tulane
Cleveland CC at Fayetteville Tech
J.C. Smith at Claflin
Queens at North Alabama
USC Upstate at Gardner-Webb
VCU at Davidson

(Sunday, Jan. 28)
Denmark Tech at Gaston College

(Tuesday, Jan. 30)
Shaw at J.C. Smith

(Wednesday, Jan. 31)
Belmont Abbey at Converse
Davidson-Davie at Cleveland CC
Gaston College at Caldwell Tech
UNC Asheville at Gardner-Webb

(Thursday, Feb. 1)
Eastern Kentucky at Queens
J.C. Smith at Winston-Salem State

(Saturday, Feb. 3)
Bellarmine at Queens
Chowan at Belmont Abbey
East Carolina at Charlotte
Gaston College at Wake Tech
Johnston CC at Cleveland CC

(Sunday, Feb. 4)
Davidson at Loyola