10-23-23 roundup: Pro football, basketball and soccer, High school football, volleyball and tennis, College football, NASCAR

By Richard Walker

When the Charlotte Hornets open the 2023-24 NBA season on Wednesday at home against the Atlanta Hawks, they will open with high hopes and low recent results.

Charlotte Hornets guards Terry Rozier (left) and LaMelo Ball at a training camp practice session.

The Hornets will start the year with a longest current postseason drought in the NBA at 7 seasons.

Hope springs eternal after co-owners Gabe Plotkin and Rich Schnall bought a majority stake of the team from iconic Michael Jordan, who will remain with the organization as a minority owner.

And while Jordan’s tenure fell far short of expectations after he took over majority ownership in February 2010 during the first postseason run in the expansion Charlotte Bobcats history that season.

Jordan negotiated with the New Orleans franchise to regain the Hornets name that has remained with the organization since the 2014-15 season but success has remained fleeting.

The Hornets, Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves are currently tied for the longest active NBA drought without a playoff series win of 19 years.

Already this offseason, current Hornets head coach Steve Clifford has called this team the most talented group he’s ever had as a head coach.

And, assuming a healthy season, Clifford has a point with former All-Star LaMelo Ball leading a group that also includes Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington in addition to recent first round draft picks Mark Williams and Brandon Miller.

“I think our goal should be to be a playoff team,” Clifford said during Oct. 2 media day.

Following a 4-game preseason schedule that ended with a 1-3 record last Thursday, Clifford remained positive.

“It was good,” Clifford said of the preseason progress. “We have a week here to get ready. Things change quickly. We have
to get a level of physicality with our guys, and our 5 men have got to own the glass at both ends of the floor. They’re
both capable of doing it, and it starts with having the right intent with what you’re concentrating on and what you’re
prioritizing. We need them to do it, and we need the other guys to help out in that area.”

Ball was among several Hornets limited last season by injuries as Charlotte finished 27-55.

Ball was out for 46 games, Hayward 32, Rozier 19 and Washington 10 and Bridges missed the entire season following a domestic dispute legal matter that has him suspended for the 1st 10 games of this season.

In the 36 games he played, Ball averaged team-highs of 23.3 points and 8.4 assists along with 6.4 rebounds.

“I feel good just being out here with the guys,” Ball said following the team’s 1st training camp practice. “Every day I’m alive and able to play basketball I appreciate it.”

Despite the missed games due to injury, Ball signed a 5-year, $260 million contract extension in July that is the largest in organization history.

As for his assessment of this year’s team, Ball offered: “I feel like we’ve got talent everywhere.”

Rozier (21.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists), Washington (15.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists), Hayward (14.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists) and Williams (9.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.0 blocks) all return after solid seasons.

Bridges averaged a team-high 20.2 points along with 7.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the 2021-22 season in which Charlotte went 43-39 before being eliminated in a play-in game.

And Miller, the No. 2 overall pick in the recent draft, averaged 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in his lone season at Alabama last season.

Here is the Charlotte Hornets’ 2023 preseason schedule:

Oct. 10 at Miami Heat (L 109-113)
Oct. 12 at Washington Wizards (L 92-98)
Oct. 15 Oklahoma City (W 117-115)
Oct. 19 Boston Celtics (L 99-127)

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

Wed. 25 ATLANTA 7 p.m.
Fri. 27 DETROIT 7 p.m.
Mon. 30 BROOKLYN 7 p.m.
Wed. 1 at Houston 8 p.m.
Sat. 4 at Indiana 7 p.m.
Sun. 5 at Dallas 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 8 WASHINGTON 7 p.m.
Fri. 10 at Washington 7 p.m.
Sun. 12 at New York Noon
Tue. 14 MIAMI 7 p.m.
Fri. 17 MILWAUKEE 7 p.m.
Sat. 18 NEW YORK 6 p.m.
Mon. 20 BOSTON 7 p.m.
Wed. 22 WASHINGTON 7 p.m.
Sun. 26 at Orlando 6 p.m.
Tue. 28 at New York 7:30 p.m.
Thu. 30 at Brooklyn 7:30 p.m.
Sat. 2 MINNESOTA 5 p.m.
4-9 Two games TBD
Mon. 11 MIAMI 7 p.m.
Wed. 13 at Miami 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 15 NEW ORLEANS 7 p.m.
Sat. 16 PHILADELPHIA 7 p.m.
Mon. 18 at Toronto 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 20 at Indiana 7 p.m.
Sat. 23 DENVER 7 p.m.
Tue. 26 at LA Clippers 10:30 p.m.
Thu. 28 at L.A. Lakers 10:30 p.m.
Fri. 29 at Phoenix 9 p.m.
Mon. 1 at Denver 9 p.m.
Tue. 2 at Sacramento 10 p.m.
Fri. 5 at Chicago 8 p.m.
Mon. 8 CHICAGO 7 p.m.
Wed. 10 SACRAMENTO 7 p.m.
Fri. 12 at San Antonio 10 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 L.A. 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.

Charlotte’s In-Season Tournament Group Play Schedule:

Nov. 10 at Washington, 7 p.m.
Nov. 14 MIAMI, 7 p.m.
Nov. 17 MILWAUKEE, 7 p.m.
Nov. 28 at New York, 7:30 p.m.
Quarterfinals: Dec. 4-5 at higher-seeded teams
Semifinals: Dec. 7 at Las Vegas
Championship game: Dec. 9 at Las Vegas

The NBA In-Season Tournament Groups:

Western Conference
A: Memphis, Phoenix, L.A. Lakers, Utah, Portland
B: Denver, L.A. Clippers, New Orleans, Dallas, Houston
C: Sacramento, Golden State, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, San Antonio

Eastern Conference
A: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Indiana, Detroit
B: Milwaukee, New York, Miami, Washington, Charlotte
C: Boston, Brooklyn, Toronto, Chicago, Orlando









High school football

(This week’s Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties games:)
Ashbrook at Huss
Crest at Kings Mountain
Forestview at Cramer
North Gaston at South Point
Burns at Shelby
Cherryville at Bessemer City
East Gaston at Highland Tech
Mountain Island Charter at Corvian Community
East Lincoln at North Lincoln
Lincolnton at West Lincoln

(Other area games:)
Garinger at Rocky River
Independence at Butler
Providence at East Meck
Berry at Olympic
Kell at Palisades
Myers Park at South Meck
Harding at West Meck
Hough at Hopewell
Mallard Creek at Chambers
North Meck at West Charlotte
Hickory at Statesville
St. Stephens at Foard
West Iredell at North Iredell
Bunker Hill at Bandys
East Burke at West Caldwell
Newton-Conover at Maiden
R-S Central at Chase











College football

Charlotte 49ers senior linebacker Demetrius Knight II has been named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the 49ers’ 10-7 road win at East Carolina last Saturday.

Knight led Charlotte’s school-record defensive effort with a career-high nine tackles as Charlotte held ECU to just 127 yards of total offense. The win was the school’s first AAC victory and the 127 yards was the least yards allowed by a 49ers’ defense in the program’s 10-year history.

A transfer from Georgia Tech, Knights leads the 49ers with 49 tackles this season. He has added 5 1/2 tackles for losses, 1 1/2 sacks and a pass interception he returned for a touchdown in Charlotte’s non-conference loss at Maryland.

Here is this week’s Carolinas NCAA Division I (FBS and FCS) schedule:

(Thursday, Oct. 26)
S.C. State at N.C. Central, 7:30 p.m.

(Friday, Oct. 27)
Florida Atlantic at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

(Saturday, Oct. 28)
Florida State at Wake Forest, Noon
South Carolina at Texas A&M, Noon
UT-Martin at Gardner-Webb, 1:30 p.m.
Clemson at N.C. State, 2 p.m.
East Tennessee State at Furman, 2 p.m.
North Carolina A&T at Hampton, 2 p.m.
Mercer at Western Carolina, 2:30 p.m.
The Citadel at Samford, 3 p.m.
Campbell at Richmond, 3:30 p.m.
Duke at Louisville, 3:30 p.m.
East Carolina at UTSA, 3:30 p.m.
Southern Miss at Appalachian State, 3:30 p.m.
Bryant at Charleston Southern, 4 p.m.
Marshall at Coastal Carolina, 6 p.m.
Presbyterian at Davidson, 7 p.m.
North Carolina at Georgia Tech, 8 p.m.

Here is next week’s Carolinas NCAA Division I (FBS and FCS) schedule:

(Thursday, Nov. 2)
Wake Forest at Duke, 7:30 p.m.

(Saturday, Nov. 4)
Campbell at North Carolina, Noon
Jacksonville State at South Carolina, Noon
Notre Dame at Clemson, Noon or 3:30 p.m.
San Diego at Presbyterian, Noon
Davidson at Stetson, 1 p.m.
Elon at Delaware, 1 p.m.
Gardner-Webb at Bryant, 1 p.m.
Towson at North Carolina A&T, 1 p.m.
Furman at Chattanooga, 1:30 p.m.
Mercer at The Citadel, 2 p.m.
Western Carolina at Wofford, 3 p.m.
Coastal Carolina at Old Dominion, 3:30 p.m.
Howard at S.C. State, 3:30 p.m.
Norfolk Sate at N.C. Central, 3:30 p.m.
Tulane at East Carolina, 3:30 p.m.
Charlotte at Tulsa, 4 p.m.
Tennessee State at Charleston Southern, 4 p.m.
Marshall at Appalachian State, 6 p.m.
Miami at N.C. State, 8 p.m.









Pro football

The 2023 Carolina Panthers’ schedule:
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, 1 p.m.
Nov. 5 Indianapolis, 4:05 p.m.
Nov. 9 at Chicago, 8:15 p.m.
Nov. 19 Dallas, 1 p.m.
Nov. 26 at Tennessee, 1 p.m.
Dec. 3 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Dec. 10 at New Orleans, 1 p.m.
Dec. 17 or 18 Atlanta, TBD
Dec. 24 Green Bay, 1 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Jan. 6 or 7 Tampa Bay, TBD









Pro soccer

Here is Charlotte FC’s full 2023 schedule with results:

(10-11-13 record)
Feb. 25 New England Revolution (L 0-1)
March 4 at St. Louis City SC (L 1-3)
March 11 Atlanta United FC (L 0-3)
March 18 at Orlando City SC (W 2-1)
March 25 New York Red Bulls (T 1-1)
April 1 at Toronto FC (T 2-2)
April 8 at Real Salt Lake (L 1-3)
April 15 Colorado Rapids (T 2-2)
April 22 Columbus Crew (W 1-0)
April 29 at D.C. United (L 0-3)
May 6 New York City FC (W 3-2)
May 13 at Atlanta United FC (W 3-1)
May 17 Chicago Fire FC (W 2-1)
May 20 Nashville SC (L 1-2)
May 27 at L.A. Galaxy (W 1-0)
May 31 at Philadelphia Union (L 0-1)
June 3 at Columbus Crew (L 2-4)
June 10 Seattle Sounders FC (T 3-3)
June 21 at New York Red Bulls (T 2-2)
June 24 CF Montreal (T 0-0)
July 5 at New York City FC (T 1-1)
July 8 FC Cincinnati (T 2-2)
July 15 at CF Montreal (L 0-2)
Aug. 26 L.A. FC (W 2-1)
Aug. 30 Orlando City SC (T 1-1)
Sept. 2 at Nashville SC (T 1-1)
Sept. 16 D.C. United (T 0-0)
Sept. 20 Philadelphia Union (T 2-2)
Sept. 23 at FC Cincinnati (L 0-3)
Sept. 30 at New England Revolution (L 1-2)
Oct. 4 Toronto FC (W 3-0)
Oct. 7 at Chicago Fire FC (W 2-0)
Oct. 18 at Inter Miami CF (T 2-2)
Oct. 21 Inter Miami CF (W 1-0)
(MLS playoffs)
Oct. 25 at New York Red Bulls

(Leagues Cup schedule – Group stage)
July 21 at FC Dallas (T 2-2, wins 4-1 on penalty kicks)
July 29 Necaxa (W 4-1)
(Round of 32)
Aug. 3 Cruz Azul (at Dallas TX) (T 0-0, wins 4-3 on penalty kicks)
Aug. 7 at Houston Dynamo (W 2-1)
Aug. 11 at Inter Miami (L 0-4)













High school volleyball

Twelve teams from Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties have qualified for the state playoffs. Here are their postseason pairings:

-Oct. 21
(3A 1st round)
No. 28 North Lincoln at No. 5 Ashe County – AC 3-0
No. 21 East Lincoln at No. 12 West Henderson – WH 3-0
No. 30 Smoky Mountain at No. 3 Kings Mountain – KM 3-0
No. 22 South Point at No. 11 South Rowan – SR 3-0
No. 18 Forestview at No. 15 Crest – C 3-1

(2A 1st round)
No. 30 Lincoln Charter at No. 3 Southwestern Randolph – SR 3-0
No. 23 Eden Morehead at No. 10 East Gaston – EG 3-0
No. 31 West Lincoln at No. 2 Brevard – B 3-0

(1A 1st round)
No. 25 South Stanly at No. 8 Piedmont Community Charter – SS 3-2
No. 21 Union Academy at No. 12 Mountain Island Charter – MIC 3-1
No. 31 Cherryville at No. 2 Highland Tech – HT 3-0

-Oct. 24
(3A 2nd round)
No. 14 West Rowan at No. 3 Kings Mountain
No. 15 Crest at No. 2 Oak Grove

(2A 2nd round)
No. 10 East Gaston at No. 7 Maiden

(1A 2nd round)
No. 12 Mountain Island Charter at No. 5 Uwharrie Charter
No. 15 Swain County at No. 2 Highland Tech

(NCISAA playoffs)

-Oct. 17
(3A 1st round)
Gaston Christian at Asheville School – AS 3-2

-Oct. 21
(2A 3rd round)
Greensboro Caldwell Academy at No. 3 Gaston Day – GD 3-0

-Oct. 24
Wayne Christian at No. 3 Gaston Day











High school girls tennis

Eleven teams from Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties have qualified for the state playoffs. Here are their postseason pairings:

-Oct. 18
(3A 1st round)
Foard at Forestview – Foard 6-3
Hickory at North Lincoln – NL 6-0
Kings Mountain at Piedmont – Piedmont 5-1
North Gaston at Ashe County – Ashe 9-0
Smoky Mountain at East Lincoln – EL 9-0

(2A 1st round)
Mount Pleasant at Burns – Burns 6-2
Lincoln Charter-BYE
Reidsville at West Lincoln – WL 9-0

-Oct. 23
(3A 2nd round)
East Lincoln at W-S Atkins
Rockingham County at North Lincoln

(2A 2nd round)
Southwestern Randolph at Shelby
East Surry at Lincoln Charter
West Lincoln at North Stanly
Burns at West Stanly

(1A 1st round)
Draughn at Highland Tech
Piedmont CC at South Davidson











Middle school boys soccer

(Monday’s Gaston County Conference schedule:)

Mount Holly 7, Stanley 1

York Chester 3, Holbrook 2

Grier 4, Belmont 2

Bessemer City 5, W.C. Friday 1

Cramerton 9, Chavis 1: Ibrahem Abu Baker (3 goals, 1 assist), Zach Janik (1 goal, 1 assist), M.J. Liwosz (2 goals, 2 assists), Chris Markley (1 assist), Kaden Robinson (1 goal), Isaac Cuadro (1 assist), Andrew Hellams (1 assist), Esteban Vivas Sanchez (2 assists) and defenders Cam McGinnis, Jordan Bess and Vivas Sanchez led Cramerton.

BYE – Southwest

(Thursday’s schedule:) Holbrook at Southwest, Grier at Stanley, W.C. Friday at York Chester, Cramerton at Belmont, Chavis at Bessemer City, BYE – Mount Holly









Middle school volleyball

(Monday’s Gaston County Conference schedule:)

Stanley def. Mount Holly 3-0

York Chester at Holbrook (ppd. Tuesday)

Belmont def. Grier 3-0

Bessemer City def. W.C. Friday 3-1

Cramerton def. Chavis 3-0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-15)

BYE – Southwest

(Thursday’s schedule:) Holbrook at Southwest, Grier at Stanley, W.C. Friday at York Chester, Cramerton at Belmont, Chavis at Bessemer City, BYE – Mount Holly










Auto racing

The 2023 NASCAR schedule (with winners in parentheses):

Feb 5 Clash at The Coliseum, Los Angeles CA (Martin Truex, Jr.)
Feb 16 Duel No. 1, Daytona Beach FL (Joey Logano)
Feb 16 Duel No. 2, Daytona Beach FL (Aric Almirola)
Feb 19 Daytona 500, Daytona Beach FL (Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.)
Feb 26 NASCAR Cup Series at California, Fontana CA (Kyle Busch)
Mar 5 NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV (William Byron)
Mar 12 NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix, Avondale AZ (William Byron-2)
Mar 19 NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta, Hampton GA (Joey Logano-2)
Mar 26 NASCAR Cup Series at Circuit of the Americas, Austin TX (Tyler Reddick)
Apr 2 NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond, Richmond VA (Kyle Larson)
Apr 9 NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol, Bristol TN (Christopher Bell)
Apr 16 NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville, Martinsville VA (Kyle Larson-2)
Apr 23 NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega, Lincoln AL (Kyle Busch-2)
May 1 NASCAR Cup Series at Dover, Dover DE (Martin Truex, Jr.-2)
May 7 NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas, Kansas City KS (Denny Hamlin)
May 14 NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington, Darlington SC (William Byron-3)
May 21 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Open Race, North Wilkesboro NC (Josh Berry)
May 21 NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race, North Wilkesboro NC (Kyle Larson-3)
May 29 NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte, Concord NC (Ryan Blaney)
Jun 4 NASCAR Cup Series at World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison IL (Kyle Busch-3)
Jun 11 NASCAR Cup Series at Sonoma, Sonoma CA (Martin Truex, Jr.-3)
Jun 25 NASCAR Cup Series at Nashville, Lebanon TN (Ross Chastain)
Jul 2 NASCAR Cup Series at Chicago, Chicago IL (Shane van Gisbergen)
Jul 9 NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta, Hampton GA (William Byron-4)
Jul 17 NASCAR Cup Series at New Hampshire, Loudon NH, noon on USA (Martin Truex, Jr.-4)
Jul 23 NASCAR Cup Series at Pocono, Long Pond PA, 2:30 p.m. on USA (Denny Hamlin-2)
Jul 30 NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond, Richmond VA, 3 p.m. on USA (Chris Buescher)
Aug 6-7 NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan, Brooklyn MI, noon on USA (Chris Buescher-2)
Aug 13 NASCAR Cup Series at Indianapolis Road Course, Speedway IN (Michael McDowell)
Aug 20 NASCAR Cup Series at Watkins Glen, Watkins Glen NY (William Byron-5)
Aug 26 NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona, Daytona Beach FL (Chris Buescher-3)

(Cup Playoffs)
Sep 3 NASCAR Cup Series at Darlington, Darlington SC (Kyle Larsen-4)
Sep 10 NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas, Kansas City KS (Tyler Reddick-2)
Sep 16 NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol, Bristol TN (Denny Hamlin-3)
Sep 24 NASCAR Cup Series at Texas, Fort Worth TX (William Byron-6)
Oct 1 NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega, Lincoln AL (Ryan Blaney-2)
Oct 8 NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte, Concord NC (A.J. Allmendinger)
Oct 15 NASCAR Cup Series at Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV (Kyle Larsen-5)
Oct 22 NASCAR Cup Series at Miami, Homestead FL (Christopher Bell-2)
Oct 29 NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville, Martinsville, 2 p.m. on NBC
Nov 5 NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix, Avondale AZ, 3 p.m. on NBC