12-12-23 roundup: Pro football, basketball and soccer, College football and basketball, High school basketball, Legion baseball

By Richard Walker
(Special from Mike Powell)

State legislators, City of Cherryville officials, and American Legion brass gathered on Thursday, Dec. 7 for a check presentation to Cherryville American Legion Post 100 for improvements at Fraley Field in advance of the 2024 state Legion baseball tournament.

Ceremonial presentation of check to Cherryville American Legion Post 100’s Fraley Field. From left to right, Cherryville City Council member Jill Parker Puett, N.C. Rep. Kelly Hastings, N.C. Area Four Legion Commissioner Jerry Hudson, Cherryville Post 100 Commander Mike Robinson, N.C. State Speaker of the House Tim Moore, and N.C. Sen. Ted Alexander.

The $158,272 state-funded check will be used toward the refurbishing of the ballpark to accommodate Cherryville’s landing of the state tournament in 2024 and 2025 and possibly the Southeast Regional in 2026.

The ceremony and luncheon drew politicians who played a role in procuring the athletic grant as well as a $1.3 million grant for the City of Cherryville to use on various projects, including infrastructure (roads, water, and sewer).

On hand were N.C. Speaker of the House Tim Moore (R-Cleveland and Rutherford), Rep. Kelly Hastings (R-Cleveland and Rutherford), and Sen. Ted Alexander (R-Cleveland, Gaston, and Lincoln).

N.C. Area IV commissioner Jerry Hudson of Cherryville announced that he received promising news from a meeting last weekend of American Legion officials.

“Depending on how we do, we are going to be awarded the state tournament for the next years,” Hudson said. “This will be huge for Cherryville, huge for Gaston, Cleveland, and Lincoln counties.
“Our slogan will be ‘Cherryville: Fans in the Stands.’ That is what the national American Legion people want us to accomplish. We are a small town that loves American Legion baseball, and hopefully we will all pull together and accomplish our goals.”

Hudson thanked the state legislators “for pushing this thing (grant) through the General Assembly,” and singled out the financial contributions of realtor Vicky Spurling, Piedmont Lithium, and developer Patrick O’Leary, who donated approximately $85,000 for a digital scoreboard at Fraley Field.

Additional improvements on the drawing board include billboard signage and fencing, a covered batting cage, and ultimately canopies for some of the bleacher sections.

In his address, Moore said Gaston County and the surrounding region received more state-directed grants this year than any area of the state.

“We have worked hard to fund projects back home in our region. And it’s because we had some good, worthwhile projects to get behind,” Moore said. “We are proud to bring it back.”











College football

Gardner-Webb University announced the hiring of its 12th senior college coach in school history on Tuesday.

Cris Reisert

The Runnin’ Bulldogs are hiring Cris Reisert, a veteran of 13 years of college coaching including the last 5 as head coach at Tiffin University in Ohio.

Reisert replaces Tre Lamb, who resigned after a 2nd straight conference title season and FCS playoff berth for a head coaching job at East Tennessee State.

Lamb guided GWU to a 20-20 record in his 4 seasons at the school capped by winning the 2022 Big South Conference title and 2023 Big South/Ohio Valley Conference title.

The league titles were the 4th and 5th in the school’s senior college history that began in 1970.

Gardner-Webb president Dr. William M. Downs scheduled a Thursday at 11 a.m. introductory news conference in the Gardner-Webb Football Center at Spangler Stadium.

“Ours was a true national search, attracting attention from strong candidates around the region and across the country,” Downs said in a school news release. “We wanted our next head football coach to be someone who would come in with successful experience as a head coach, someone who consistently fields an up-tempo high-scoring offense, and someone with the confidence to take on (and beat) anybody, anywhere, any time. In Coach Reisert, we’ve found our guy. He sees no ceiling for Gardner-Webb football. He clearly knows how to win, how to build and sustain a program, and—most importantly—how to keep the focus on the student-athletes who he is charged with leading. I’m eager to support Coach Reisert as he builds on our proud football tradition and takes it to new and impressive heights.”

Reiesrt most recently guided Tiffin to a 40-11 record (32-4 in the Great Midwest Conference) in the last 5 seasons that included GMAC titles in 2019, 2020 and 2023.

During his tenure at Tiffin, Reisert’s helped the school to its 1st 2 Division II playoff berths in school history (2019 and 2023), the highest national ranking in school history (No. 9) and the program’s first win over its biggest rival (University of Findlay) in 22 years.

Reisert also was an assistant coach at his alma mater of Ohio Dominican (from 2011 to 2012 and from 2017 to 2018), at Ball State (2013) and Elon University (2014-16).

As a player, Reisert started four years at quarterback for Ohio Dominican, where he was named the 2007 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Player of the Year and a 2-time All-American. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2019.

Reisert holds a bachelor’s (2009) and master’s degree (2011) in business administration from Ohio Dominican. He and his wife Emily have two children, a son Hawkins and a daughter Lennox.

Here is the full 2023 college football bowl schedule:

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

New Orleans Bowl: Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Dec. 16, New Orleans, La., ESPN, 2:15 p.m.

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

New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Fresno State
Dec. 16, Albuquerque, N.M., ESPN, 5:45 p.m.l

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

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

Famous Toastery Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion
Dec. 18, Charlotte, Jerry Richardson Stadium, ESPN, 2:30 p.m.

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

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

Gasparilla Bowl: Duke vs. Central Florida
Dec. 22, Tampa, Fla., ESPN, 6:30 p.m.

Birmingham Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Troy
Dec. 23, Birmingham, Ala., ABC, noon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gator Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky
Dec. 29, Jacksonville, Fla., ESPN, noon

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

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

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

Peach Bowl: Penn State vs. Mississippi
Dec. 30, Atlanta, Ga., ESPN, noon

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

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

Arizona Bowl: Toledo vs. Wyoming
Dec. 30, Tucson, Ariz., 4:30 p.m.

ReliaQuest Bowl: Wisconsin vs. LSU
Jan. 1, Tampa, Fla., ESPN2, noon

Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee
Jan. 1, Orlando, Fla., ABC, 1 p.m.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Liberty
Jan. 1, Glendale, Ariz., ESPN, 1 p.m.

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

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

CFP championship game
Jan. 8, Houston, Tex., ESPN, 8 p.m.












High school basketball

Results and schedule for Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties’ high school basketball:

(Tuesday, Dec. 12)
Ashbrook 53, East Lincoln 52: Jamari Smith had 20 points and Isaac Byers 17 for Ashbrook and Jackson Fannon had 20 points for East Lincoln.

Kings Mountain 65, Shelby 50: Bradley Floyd had 21 points and Caleb Nixon 13 for Kings Mountain and Grady Morgan had 17 points for Shelby.

Lincolnton 67, Cherryville 40

North Lincoln 104, South Iredell 59: Kellen Karr had 37 points for North Lincoln.

Community School of Davidson 44, Lincoln Charter 37

Olympic 31, East Gaston 27

East Lincoln 65, Ashbrook 10

Fort Mill, S.C. 55, South Point 45: Amya Graham (21 points, 14 rebounds) led South Point.

Shelby 39, Kings Mountain 34

North Lincoln 78, South Iredell 71

(Wednesday, Dec. 13)
Maiden at Burns
Mountain Island Charter at East Rutherford
West Lincoln at Foard

(Thursday, Dec. 14)
Highland Tech at Sugar Creek

(Friday, Dec. 15)
Ashbrook at South Point
Forestview at Crest
Kings Mountain at Cramer
North Gaston at Huss
Bandys at West Lincoln
Bunker Hill at Lincolnton
Lincoln Charter at Langtree
Burns at McDowell
Gaston Christian at Rabun Gap, Ga.
Gaston Day at Westchester CD
Hibriten at East Lincoln
Piedmont CC at Cherryville
Shelby at Dorman (girls only)

(Saturday, Dec. 16)
Gaston Christian at Weddington

(Monday, Dec. 18)
Gaston Day at Grace Christian

(Tuesday, Dec. 19)
Ashbrook at Kings Mountain
Cramer at North Gaston
Huss at Crest
South Point at Forestview
Sugar Creek at Piedmont CC
Bessemer City at East Rutherford
Shelby at Watauga

(Wednesday, Dec. 20)
East Gaston at North Gaston
East Lincoln at Hickory
North Lincoln at Statesville
Burns at Polk
Lincolnton at Hibriten

(Thursday, Dec. 21)
Gaston Christian at Davidson Day
Shelby at Crest










Pro soccer

The Charlotte FC has a new head coach.

New Charlotte FC coach Dean Smith shows off one of the team’s jerseys.

Dean Smith, a 52-year-old former Premier League head coach, has signed a multi-year contract pending receipt of his visa.

“I’m honored to be appointed as the next head coach of Charlotte FC and cannot wait to start preparations for the 2024 season,” Smith said in a team news release. “Throughout the interview process, it was clear that this is an ambitious club with the right ingredients for success and I’m delighted to begin a new chapter in Charlotte. This is a unique opportunity to be part of a project with so much potential to take to new heights in Major League Soccer. I’d like to thank Mr. Tepper, Zoran, Joe and the rest of the Charlotte FC leadership for entrusting me to lead this team and I look forward to meeting everyone involved with Charlotte FC.”

Smith brings more than a decade of managerial experience in the English football league system to Charlotte. A West Midlands native, Smith is best known for leading Aston Villa back to the Premier League in 2019.

“We’re excited to welcome Dean and his family to Charlotte to become the next head coach of Charlotte FC,” owner David Tepper said in a team news release. “We’re confident his leadership and experience will help elevate our Club beyond its first playoff appearance into a championship team.”

Smith’s coaching career followed a distinguished 16-year playing career with over 500 appearances in what is now known as the Championship, League One and League Two at Walsall, Hereford United, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale.

Smith, who also has coached Leicester City and Norwich City, becomes Charlotte FC’s 3rd head coach in its 3-year history.










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 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.









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 (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, 1 p.m.
Dec. 24 Green Bay, 1 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Jan. 7 Tampa Bay, TBD











College basketball

Results and schedule for area men’s college basketball:

(Tuesday, Dec. 12)
Spartanburg Methodist 99, Cleveland CC 83

(Wednesday, Dec. 13)
Appalachian State at Queens
Catawba Valley CC at Cleveland CC
Converse at Belmont Abbey

(Thursday, Dec. 14)
J.C. Smith at Lincoln, Pa.

(Saturday, Dec. 16)
Belmont Abbey at Mount Olive
Charlotte at Richmond
Fayetteville Tech at Cleveland CC
Gardner-Webb vs. Appalachian State at Greensboro
J.C. Smith at Virginia Union
Lynchburg at Davidson

(Sunday, Dec. 17)
Gaston College at Chipola College