1-8-24 roundup: Pro football and basketball, College football and basketball, High school basketball

By Richard Walker

All 7 area conferences will have league games this week as the high school basketball season kicks into high gear.

And in the Big South 3A, there are huge matchups scheduled for Tuesday night as the only 2 remaining league unbeaten boys teams meet when Ashbrook hosts Crest and 2 of the 3 remaining league unbeaten girls teams clash when Cramer hosts South Point.

In the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A, there are 3 boys and girls unbeaten league teams remaining and 2 of those 3 girls teams are slated to meet on Tuesday when Burns visits Thomas Jefferson.

Among the other schools, the biggest matchup was to be Tuesday’s Gaston Christian at Gaston Day boys contest before it was postponed to a later date by the expected stormy weather.

Gaston Christian had never beaten Gaston Day until the 2019-20 season but have now won 3 of the last 6 meetings in the series, including 2 of 3 last year.

Here are the area’s standings through Jan. 6:

(Big South 3A)
Ashbrook 2-0, 10-1
Crest 2-0, 7-1
Kings Mountain 1-1, 7-3
South Point 1-1, 6-5
Huss 1-1, 2-7
North Gaston 1-1, 3-9
Cramer 0-2, 5-7
Forestview 0-2, 5-7

(Southern Piedmont 1A/2A)
Burns 2-0, 4-8
East Gaston 1-0, 8-5
Shelby 1-0, 5-6
Thomas Jefferson 1-1, 6-5
Highland Tech 1-1, 4-9
Cherryville 0-2, 7-6
Bessemer City 0-2, 3-11

Piedmont CC 2-0, 8-3
East Lincoln 0-1, 5-5
North Lincoln 1-1, 9-3
Lincolnton 1-1, 10-2
West Lincoln 0-2, 2-10
Gaston Day 2-3, 11-8
Gaston Christian 5-1, 11-11
Lincoln Charter 4-0, 10-6
Mtn Isl Charter 0-2, 7-2

(Big South 3A)
Cramer 2-0, 8-4
Huss 2-0, 6-6
South Point 2-0, 6-4
Crest 1-1, 7-2
Ashbrook 1-1, 3-7
Forestview 0-2, 8-4
North Gaston 0-2, 3-9
Kings Mountain 0-2, 0-8

(Southern Piedmont 1A/2A)
Thomas Jefferson 2-0, 7-3
Burns 2-0, 6-6
Shelby 1-0, 2-6
Bessemer City 1-1, 4-10
East Gaston 0-1, 1-7
Highland Tech 0-2, 10-3
Cherryville 0-2, 4-9

Piedmont CC 1-0, 4-6
East Lincoln 1-0, 10-1
North Lincoln 1-1, 9-3
Lincolnton 0-2, 3-9
West Lincoln 0-2, 3-10
Gaston Christian 2-3, 2-5
Lincoln Charter 3-1, 9-4
Mtn Isl Charter 0-2, 3-6









Pro football

The Carolina Panthers announced on Monday they were firing general manager Scott Fitterer and the 9 candidates they have formally requested for interviews for their head coaching vacancy.

It means the organization will be hiring a coach and general manager for the 1st time in the same offseason since 2002.

Fitterer had been with the Panthers since 2021.

“As we move forward with the new direction for our franchise, I have made the decision that Scott Fitterer will no longer serve as our general manager,” Panthers owner David Tepper said in a news release. “I appreciate Scott’s efforts and wish the best for him and his family.”

And, for the 2nd straight year, the Panthers will conduct interviews for their head coaching vacancy after Frank Reich was fired after 11 games of the just-completed 2-15 season.

On Monday, the team submitted a list of requests for interviews with 9 candidates. Those are:

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson
Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik
Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn
Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald
Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith
Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris
Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales

No in-person interviews can be conducted until Jan. 22, but Zoom interviews can be conducted.

The 2023-24 NFL playoffs schedule:

Wild Card round: Jan. 13-15

No. 1 Baltimore (13-4), bye
(Sunday, Jan. 14)
No. 7 Pittsburgh (10-7) at No. 2 Buffalo (11-6), 1 p.m. (CBS)
(Saturday, Jan. 13)
No. 6 Miami (11-6) at No. 3 Kansas City (11-6), 8:15 p.m. (Peacock)
(Saturday, Jan. 13)
No. 5 Cleveland (11-6) at No. 4 Houston (10-7), 4:30 p.m. (NBC)

No. 1 San Francisco (12-5), bye
(Sunday, Jan. 14)
No. 7 Green Bay (9-8) at No. 2 Dallas (12-5), 4:30 p.m. (FOX)
(Sunday, Jan. 14)
No. 6 L.A. Rams (10-7) at No. 3 Detroit (12-5), 8:15 p.m. (NBC)
(Monday, Jan. 15)
No. 5 Philadelphia (11-6) at No. 4 Tampa Bay (9-8), 8 p.m. (ESPN/ABC)

Divisional round: Jan. 20-21

Conference championships: Jan. 28
AFC, 3 p.m. (CBS)
NFC, 6:30 p.m. (FOX)

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

The 2024-25 Carolina Panthers’ schedule:

Home – Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Dallas, N.Y. Giants, Kansas City, L.A. Chargers, Arizona, Cincinnati
Away – Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Washington, Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago

The 2023-24 Carolina Panthers’ results:

Sept. 10 at Atlanta (L 10-24)
Sept. 18 New Orleans (L 17-20)
Sept. 24 at Seattle (L 27-37)
Oct. 1 Minnesota (L 13-21)
Oct. 8 at Detroit (L 24-42)
Oct. 15 at Miami (L 21-42)
Oct. 22 OFF WEEK
Oct. 29 Houston (W 15-13)
Nov. 5 Indianapolis (L 13-27)
Nov. 9 at Chicago (L 13-16)
Nov. 19 Dallas (L 10-33)
Nov. 26 at Tennessee (L 10-17)
Dec. 3 at Tampa Bay (L 18-21)
Dec. 10 at New Orleans (L 6-28)
Dec. 17 Atlanta (W 9-7 )
Dec. 24 Green Bay (L 30-33)
Dec. 31 at Jacksonville (L 0-26)
Jan. 7 Tampa Bay (L 0-9 )











Pro basketball

Chicago 119, Charlotte 112 (OT): The Hornets forced overtime before falling to the Bulls, who roared ahead 14-2 in the first 4 minutes of Monday’s game.

Terry Rozier (39 points, 8 assists), Miles Bridges (24 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists), Nick Smith, Jr. (14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) and Nick Richards (10 points, 8 rebounds) led Charlotte.

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 7 p.m.
Fri. 12 at San Antonio 8 p.m.
Sun. 14 at Miami 6 p.m.
Wed. 17 at New Orleans 8 p.m.
Fri. 19 SAN ANTONIO 7 p.m.
Sat. 20 PHILADELPHIA 7 p.m.
Mon. 22 at Minnesota 8 p.m.
Wed. 24 at Detroit 7 p.m.
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.










Pro baseball

The Charlotte Knights’ franchise is up for sale.

According to The Charlotte Business Journal, the team could command a sales price of as much as $100 million.

A class AAA International League affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, the Knights were originally bought in 1997 by Hickory businessman Don Beaver.

Beaver, now 83, paid an inflation-adjusted $20 million for the team then and he controls 90 percent interest in the Knights; Bill Allen, who owns the other 10 percent, also is selling his interest.

The Knights released the following statement on Monday:

“The Charlotte Knights have notified Major League Baseball that they will begin the process of exploring the potential sale of the team. A few prospective interested parties have inquired about the team and the ballpark. We want to vet the interested groups to see if a sale makes sense for Don Beaver and his family. The Knights have been a tremendous asset to the Greater Charlotte Region and we are committed to continuing that legacy for years to come.”











College football

Here are the full 2023-24 college football bowl results/schedule:

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Ohio U. vs. Georgia Southern – Ohio U. 41-21
Dec. 16, Conway, S.C., ESPN, 11 a.m.

New Orleans Bowl: Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette – Jacksonville State 34-31 (OT)
Dec. 16, New Orleans, La., ESPN, 2:15 p.m.

Cure Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Miami (Ohio) – Appalachian State 13-9
Dec. 16, Orlando, Fla., ABC, 3:30 p.m.

New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Fresno State – Fresno State 37-10
Dec. 16, Albuquerque, N.M., ESPN, 5:45 p.m.

LA Bowl: UCLA vs. Boise State – UCLA 35-22
Dec. 16, Inglewood, Cal., ABC, 7:30 p.m.

Independence Bowl: Texas Tech vs. California – Texas Tech 34-14
Dec. 16, Shreveport, La., ESPN, 9:15 p.m.

Famous Toastery Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion – Western Kentucky 38-35 (OT)
Dec. 18, Charlotte, Jerry Richardson Stadium, ESPN, 2:30 p.m.

Frisco Bowl: Marshall vs. Texas-San Antonio – Texas-San Antonio 35-17
Dec. 19, Frisco, Tex., ESPN, 9 p.m.

Boca Raton Bowl: South Florida vs. Syracuse – South Florida 45-0
Dec. 21, Boca Raton, Fla., ESPN, 8 p.m.

Gasparilla Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Central Florida – Georgia Tech 30-17
Dec. 22, Tampa, Fla., ESPN, 6:30 p.m.

Birmingham Bowl: Duke vs. Troy – Duke 17-10
Dec. 23, Birmingham, Ala., ABC, noon

Camellia Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Arkansas State – Northern Illinois 21-19
Dec. 23, Montgomery, Ala., ESPN, noon

Armed Forces Bowl: James Madison vs. Air Force – Air Force 31-21
Dec. 23, Fort Worth, Tex., ABC, 3:30 p.m.

Idaho Potato Bowl: Utah State vs. Georgia State – Georgia State 45-22
Dec. 23, Boise, Id., ESPN, 3:30 p.m.

68 Ventures Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. South Alabama – South Alabama 59-10
Dec. 23, Mobile, Ala., ESPN, 7 p.m.

Las Vegas Bowl: Northwestern vs. Utah – Northwestern 14-7
Dec. 23, Las Vegas, Nev., ABC, 7:30 p.m.

Hawaii Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State – Coastal Carolina 24-14
Dec. 23, Honolulu, Hi., ESPN, 10:30 p.m.

Quick Lane Bowl: Bowling Green vs. Minnesota – Minnesota 30-24
Dec. 26, Detroit, Mich., ESPN, 2 p.m.

First Responder Bowl: Texas State vs. Rice – Texas State 45-21
Dec. 26, Dallas, Tex., ESPN, 5:30 p.m.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Kansas vs. UNLV – Kansas 49-36
Dec. 26, Phoenix, Ariz., ESPN, 9 p.m.

Military Bowl: Tulane vs. Virginia Tech – Virginia Tech 41-20
Dec. 27, Annapolis, Md., ESPN, 2 p.m.

Duke’s Mayo Bowl: North Carolina vs. West Virginia – West Virginia 30-10
Dec. 27, Charlotte, Bank of America Stadium, ESPN, 5:30 p.m.

Holiday Bowl: Louisville vs. Southern California – Southern California 42-28
Dec. 27, San Diego, Cal., Fox, 8 p.m.

Texas Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M – Oklahoma State 31-23
Dec. 27, Houston, Tex., ESPN, 9 p.m.

Fenway Bowl: Boston College vs. SMU – Boston College 23-14
Dec. 28, Boston, Mass., ESPN, 11 a.m.

Pinstripe Bowl: Miami (Fla.) vs. Rutgers – Rutgers 31-24
Dec. 28, Bronx, N.Y., ESPN, 2:15 p.m.

Pop-Tarts Bowl: N.C. State vs. Kansas State – Kansas State 28-19
Dec. 28, Orlando, Fla., ESPN, 5:45 p.m.

Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Arizona – Arizona 38-24
Dec. 28, San Antonio, Tex., ESPN, 9:15 p.m.

Gator Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky – Clemson 38-35
Dec. 29, Jacksonville, Fla., ESPN, noon

Sun Bowl: Oregon State vs. Notre Dame – Notre Dame 40-8
Dec. 29, El Paso, Texas, CBS, 2 p.m.

Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. Memphis – Memphis 36-26
Dec. 29, Memphis, Tenn., ESPN, 3:30 p.m.

Cotton Bowl: Ohio State vs. Missouri – Missouri 14-3
Dec. 29, Arlington, Tex., ESPN, 8 p.m.

Peach Bowl: Penn State vs. Mississippi – Mississippi 38-25
Dec. 30, Atlanta, Ga., ESPN, noon

Music City Bowl: Auburn vs. Maryland – Maryland 31-13
Dec. 30, Nashville, Tenn., ABC, 2 p.m.

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Georgia – Georgia 63-3
Dec. 30, Miami Gardens, Fla., ESPN, 4 p.m.

Arizona Bowl: Toledo vs. Wyoming – Wyoming 16-15
Dec. 30, Tucson, Ariz., 4:30 p.m.

ReliaQuest Bowl: Wisconsin vs. LSU – LSU 35-31
Jan. 1, Tampa, Fla., ESPN2, noon

Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee – Tennessee 35-0
Jan. 1, Orlando, Fla., ABC, 1 p.m.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Liberty – Oregon 45-6
Jan. 1, Glendale, Ariz., ESPN, 1 p.m.

(College Football Playoff)
Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Alabama – Michigan 27-20 (OT)
Jan. 1, Pasadena, Cal., ESPN, 5 p.m.

Sugar Bowl: Washington vs. Texas – Washington 37-31
Jan. 1, New Orleans, La., ESPN, 8:45 p.m.

CFP championship game: Michigan vs. Washington – Michigan 34-13
Jan. 8, Houston, Tex., ESPN, 8 p.m.










High school basketball

The N.C. High School Athletic Association announced on Monday that its 2024 East and Western regional and state championships would be held in all 4 classes at Winston-Salem’s Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum from March 11-16.

A regular host for state playoffs and Western regional competition, it’ll be the venue’s 1st state championships.

“We are thrilled to be hosting the NCHSAA Basketball Championship in this exciting new format,” Brandon Berry, general manager of ASM Global which operates LJVM for Wake Forest University, said in a news release. “Our staff is eager to provide a first-class experience for athletes and fans from across North Carolina.”

The concept will create a week-long NCHSAA basketball championship event.

The regional finals will be played Monday through Thursday (March 11-14) with state title games contested on Friday and Saturday (March 15-16).

“The North Carolina High School Athletic Association is proud to partner with the City of Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University and the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum to stage our basketball championships,” NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker said in a news release. “This year’s new format should make for an exciting and excellent week of basketball and a great showcase of our student-athletes.”

Winston-Salem previously has hosted several basketball state title games, the 1st in 1945 and most notably as the home of the 8-team Class 2A championship tournament at R.J. Reynolds High School each year from 1960 to 1980.

Here are the area’s results and schedule:

(Monday, Jan. 8)
Mountain Island Charter 89, Lake Norman Charter 80

(Tuesday, Jan. 9)
Crest at Ashbrook
Forestview at North Gaston
Kings Mountain at Huss
South Point at Cramer
Burns at Thomas Jefferson
East Gaston at Cherryville
Shelby at Bessemer City
North Iredell at North Lincoln
West Iredell at East Lincoln, ppd., Jan. 17
Bunker Hill at West Lincoln
Lincolnton at Bandys
Gaston Christian at Gaston Day, ppd., no date
Piedmont CC at Carolina International

(Wednesday, Jan. 10)
East Lincoln at Hickory
Mountain Island Charter at Langtree
Sugar Creek at Highland Tech

(Friday, Jan. 12)
Ashbrook at Forestview
Cramer at Crest
Kings Mountain at North Gaston
South Point at Huss
Cherryville at Bessemer City
Shelby at Highland Tech
Thomas Jefferson at East Gaston
Polk County at Burns
Foard at East Lincoln
St. Stephens at North Lincoln
Newton-Conover at West Lincoln
West Caldwell at Lincolnton
Gaston Christian at Northside
Westminster Catawba at Gaston Day
Lincoln Charter at Bradford Prep
Mountain Island Charter at Corvian

(Saturday, Jan. 13)
Huss at Butler

(Tuesday, Jan. 16)
Crest at South Point
Forestview at Kings Mountain
Huss at Cramer
North Gaston at Ashbrook
Bessemer City at Burns
East Gaston at Shelby
Highland Tech at Cherryville
North Lincoln at Foard
St. Stephens at East Lincoln
Lincolnton at East Burke
West Caldwell at West Lincoln
Hickory Grove at Gaston Christian
Northside at Gaston Day
Christ the King at Lincoln Charter
Mountain Island Charter at Bradford Prep
Apprentice Academy at Piedmont CC

(Wednesday, Jan. 17)
West Iredell at East Lincoln
Shelby at Ashbrook

(Thursday, Jan. 18)
Metrolina at Gaston Christian
NCSSM-Morganton at Cherryville

(Friday, Jan. 19)
Cramer at Ashbrook
Forestview at Huss
Kings Mountain at South Point
North Gaston at Crest
East Gaston at Burns
Highland Tech at Bessemer City
Shelby at Thomas Jefferson
East Lincoln at North Iredell
North Iredell at West Iredell
East Burke at West Lincoln
Lincolnton at Maiden
Gaston Christian at Concord Academy
Gaston Day at Hickory Grove
Lincoln Charter at Mountain Island Charter

(Saturday, Jan. 20)
Kings Mountain vs. West Charlotte at Hopewell HS










College basketball

Results and schedule for area men’s college basketball:

(Monday, Jan. 8)
Gaston College 115, Lees-McRae JV 100

(Tuesday, Jan. 9)
North Greenville at Belmont Abbey
Rhode Island at Davidson

(Wednesday, Jan. 10)
Charleston Southern at Gardner-Webb
Florida Gulf Coast at Queens
Tulsa at Charlotte

(Thursday, Jan. 11)
Gaston College at Spartanburg Methodist

(Friday, Jan. 12)
Stetson at Queens

(Saturday, Jan. 13)
Bryant and Stratton at Cleveland CC
Charlotte at UTSA
Davidson at George Washington
Presbyterian at Gardner-Webb
UNC Pembroke at Belmont Abbey

(Sunday, Jan. 14)
Brunswick CC at Gaston College

(Tuesday, Jan. 16)
Charlotte at Rice

(Wednesday, Jan. 17)
Belmont Abbey at Lees-McRae
Cleveland CC at Southwest Virginia
Davidson at Fordham
Gardner-Webb at Radford

(Thursday, Jan. 18)
Queens at Jacksonville

(Saturday, Jan. 20)
Cape Fear CC at Gaston College
Erskine at Belmont Abbey
Fayetteville State at J.C. Smith
North Texas at Charlotte
Queens at North Florida
Richmond at Davidson
Winthrop at Gardner-Webb