2-1-24 roundup: Pro football, basketball and baseball, College basketball and baseball, High school basketball and wrestling, Middle school basketball

By Richard Walker

For the first time in Carolina Panthers history, they hired a new general manager and head coach in the same hiring cycle.

New Carolina Panthers general manager Dan Morgan (left) and head coach Dave Canales were officially introduced on Thursday.

On Thursday, the franchise introduced those new hires in general manager Dan Morgan and head coach Dave Canales.

Former colleagues with the Seattle Seahawks, Morgan and Canales spoke about improving a franchise that finished the 2023-24 season with NFL’s worst record (2-15).

Since the Panthers have gone 6 seasons since making the NFL playoffs and 8 seasons since winning a playoff game, Morgan frequently talked about wanting to make Carolina a title contender.

“The logo has to be feared again because right now it’s not feared,” Morgan said.

Later, Morgan added, “I think it’s about alignment and process. We’ve got to be aligned in our building to go in the same direction – and that’s towards a championship.”

Canales, who has previously worked with quarterbacks in Seattle and Tampa Bay, said the more he researched 2023 Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young, the most excited he became for the Panthers’ head coaching job.

“In Seattle, we were never anywhere close to touching the first overall pick,” Canales said. “Just a year ago, we’re evaluating him as a player, as a person with all the information we could. I just got more and more fired up about the opportunity to have this amazing talent. He’s the right guy that we all talk about when we have that face of the franchise-type player.”

Panthers owner David Tepper is banking on Canales developing his team into a contender.

“He has a track record of bringing the best out of players,” Tepper said of Canales. “He is a connector. He takes the time to work with players to create an environment that will earn their trust and maximize their ability.”

Canales’ success with Seahawks’ quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Geno Smith and the Buccaneers’ Baker Mayfield was considered the reason the 42-year-old who has been a coach for 20 years could be a successful NFL head coach.

After playing wide receiver and defensive back at Carson, Cal., High School, Canales played college football at NAIA Azusa Pacific University before beginning his coaching career at his high school alma mater.

A two-year high school coach, Canales left to coach tight ends and special teams at El Camino College in Los Angeles. That led Canales to a job at the University of Southern California under then-Trojans head caoch Pete Carroll.

And in 2009, when Carroll left the college ranks for the NFL’s Seahawks, Canales went with him.

In 13 seasons with Seattle, the franchise made 10 playoff appearances and won 1 of the 2 Super Bowls it played in. Last season, Canales was Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator.









Pro baseball

A new baseball team for Gastonia will officially unveil itself next Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the city’s CaroMont Health Park.

The new team will replace the Gastonia Honey Hunters in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball after a group of lawsuits centered around the City of Gastonia and the Honey Hunters.

CaroMont Health Park opened in 2021 as the original home of the Honey Hunters. But after three largely successful seasons on the field, including a ALPB runner-up finish in 2023, the city of Gastonia filed a lawsuit accusing the Honey Hunters of breaching agreements and failing to meet financial and maintenance obligations.

NC Gas House Gang, the ownership group of the Honey Hunters, filed a countersuit against the city last month for what it called “an abusive and unlawful pattern of conduct.”

The group alleged that the city and ALPB had “devised a scheme to take the ownership of the team and membership in the League from NC Gas House Gang, and to manufacture termination of the 20-year EUALA and UOA.”









College baseball

Former Gastonia resident Mike Martin, who was Florida State baseball’s head coach for 40 seasons and the winningest coach in college baseball history, died Thursday, after a three-year battle with Lewy body dementia. He was 79.

Martin is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carol; children Mike Jr, Melanie and Mary Beth; and grandchildren Hannah Elizabeth, Tyler, Thomas Joseph and Lexi.

Martin capped his 40-year head coaching career at Florida State in 2019 with his 40th NCAA Tournament appearance, his 40th winning season and his 17th College World Series appearance, tied for the most all-time. Martin is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history, for any sport, finishing his career with a 2,029-736-4 record.

A man whose uniform number – 11 – was universally substituted among FSU faithful, Martin is a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame (inducted 2005), the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2007) and his home-state North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (2018). After his retirement in 2019, he was inducted into the Florida State Athletics Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association named its Coach of the Year trophy in his honor.

Born Feb. 12, 1944, in Charlotte, Martin graduated from Garinger High School before spending two years at Wingate Junior College, where he first met the former Carol Dellinger. Accompanied by Carol, the pair moved to Tallahassee when Martin enrolled at Florida State as a junior. After helping lead the Seminoles to the 1965 College World Series and the NCAA Tournament in 1966, Martin earned his undergraduate degree in 1966 and his Master’s degree in 1971.

Mike and Carol married and remained in Tallahassee for the next 60 years.

The 1965 CWS appearance came after Martin helped the Seminoles win the district tournament hosted by Gastonia’s Sims Legion Park.

After coaching stints at Cobb Middle School, Godby High School and Tallahassee Community College, Martin was hired by Woody Woodward as FSU’s assistant coach prior to the 1975 season. After four seasons with Woodward and one under Dick Howser, Martin was promoted to the head job in the fall of 1979 when left to manage the New York Yankees.

A public celebration of life will be held on Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium. More details will be provided as they become available.









High school basketball

Here are area results/upcoming schedule:

(Friday, Feb. 2)
Crest at Ashbrook
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

(Monday, Feb. 5)
MAC tournament

(Tuesday, Feb. 6)
Crest at Cramer
Forestview at Ashbrook
Huss at South Point
North Gaston at Kings Mountain
Bessemer City at Shelby
Cherryville at East Gaston
Thomas Jefferson at Burns
East Lincoln at Foard
North Lincoln at St. Stephens
East Burke at Lincolnton
West Lincoln at West Caldwell
Bradford Prep at Lincoln Charter
Corvian at Mountain Island Charter

(Wednesday, Feb. 7)
Shelby at Kings Mountain

(Thursday, Feb. 8)

(Friday, Feb. 9)
Ashbrook at North Gaston
Cramer at Huss
Kings Mountain at Forestview
South Point at Crest
Burns at Bessemer City
Cherryville at Highland Tech
Shelby at East Gaston
East Lincoln at St. Stephens
Foard at North Lincoln
Lincolnton at West Caldwell
West Lincoln at Newton-Conover
Bradford Prep at Mountain Island Charter
Lincoln Charter at Christ the King











Pro basketball

Charlotte Hornets swingman Brandon Miller was named Eastern Conference rookie of the month for January.

It’s Miller’s first career monthly honor and he becomes the first Hornets player to win NBA rookie of the month since March 2021 (LaMelo Ball).

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Miller averaged 16.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 13 starts in the month while recording 5 of the top 6 scoring games of his career highlighted by a career-high-tying 29 points against the New York Knicks on Jan. 29.

Entering Friday’s game at Oklahoma City, Miller is averaging 15.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 40 games (34 starts).

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 (L 104-138)
Sat. 27 UTAH (L 122-134)
Mon. 29 NEW YORK (L 92-113)
Wed. 31 CHICAGO (L 110-117)
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.











High school wrestling

Here are the area’s state playoff dual team results:

(Saturday, Jan. 27)
Class 3A
No. 4 Ashbrook (defeated Smoky Mountain 47-29, defeated Dudley 41-28, advances to Jan. 31 regional finals)
No. 11 Kings Mountain (defeated Piedmont 35-32, met Pisgah in 2nd round)

Class 2A
No. 2 West Lincoln (defeated Wheatmore, defeated North Wilkes 44-31, advances to Jan. 31 regional finals)
No. 8 Burns (defeated Lincoln Charter 42-36, lost 60-21 to Trinity)
No. 9 Lincoln Charter (lost 42-36 to Burns)
No. 12 Lincolnton (defeated Mount Pleasant 42-36, defeated Bandys 36-30, advances to Jan. 31 regional finals)

Class 1A
No. 9 Cherryville (lost 60-22 to Mitchell County)
No. 16 Mountain Island Charter (lost 72-5 to Robbinsville)

(Wednesday, Jan. 31)
Class 3A at West Rowan
No. 4 Ashbrook (lost to Eastern Guilford)

Class 2A at Lincolnton
No. 12 Lincolnton (lost 51-27 to Trinity)
No. 2 West Lincoln (defeated Madison, lost 38-27 to Trinity)









College basketball

Results and schedule for area men’s college basketball:

(Thursday, Feb. 1)
Queens 94, Eastern Kentucky 76
Winston-Salem State 77, J.C. Smith 52

(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

(Tuesday, Feb. 6)
Charlotte at South Florida
Cleveland CC at Catawba Valley CC

(Wednesday, Feb. 7)
Davidson at Duquesne
Gardner-Webb at Presbyterian

(Thursday, Feb. 8)
J.C. Smith at Fayetteville State
Queens at Lipscomb

(Friday, Feb. 9)
Gaston College at Cape Fear CC

(Saturday, Feb. 10)
Belmont Abbey at Young Harris
Gaston College at Brunswick CC
George Mason at Davidson
High Point at Gardner-Webb
Queens at Austin Peay
St. Augustine’s at J.C. Smith

(Sunday, Feb. 11)
Charlotte at Temple











Pro football

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 – Kansas City 17-10
NFC: Detroit at San Francisco – San Francisco 34-31

Super Bowl LVIII: Feb. 11
At Las Vegas: Kansas City vs. San Francisco, 6:30 p.m. (CBS)








Middle school basketball

Gaston County Conference standings through Feb. 1:
Grier 3-0
Belmont 3-1
W.C. Friday 3-1
Stanley 3-1
Southwest 2-1
Chavis 2-2
York Chester 2-2
Holbrook 1-2
Cramerton 1-3
Mount Holly 0-3
Bessemer City 0-4

Belmont 4-0
Holbrook 3-0
Mount Holly 3-0
Bessemer City 3-1
Southwest 2-1
Cramerton 2-2
Grier 1-2
Chavis 1-3
W.C. Friday 1-3
Stanley 0-4
York Chester 0-4

(Thursday, Feb. 1)
W.C. Friday 44, Holbrook 40: Aiden Smith had 16 points for Holbrook.

Cramerton 43, Mount Holly 33: Caleb Johnson had 18 points, Yazid Cherigui 11, Carson Sloan 6, Kypton Polston 5 and Parker Atty 3 for Cramerton.

Southwest 41, Chavis 33: Aiden Thomas (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Canon Whitesides (10 points, 5 rebounds) led Chavis.

Stanley 39, Bessemer City 10: Jacole Bates (12 points, 4 rebounds), Cam Stillwell (8 points, 6rebounds, 5 steals) and Bryson Summey (8 points) led Stanley.

Belmont 41, York Chester 23: Braydon Walden (23 points, 20 rebounds), Tucker McWhirter (9 points) and JoJo Holt (5 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 assists) led Belmont.

BYE – Grier

Holbrook 46, W.C. Friday 4: Shemiah McCoy had 16 points and JaKyra Sadler 9 for Holbrook.

Mount Holly 19, Cramerton 10: Brinley Womack had 7 points and Toni Booker 6 for Mount Holly.

Southwest 46, Chavis 8

Bessemer City 38, Stanley 12

Belmont 34, York Chester 0: Stella Absher had 8 points and Alice Bass, Kaelinn Reagan, Kate Hux and Logan Culbertson 4 apiece for Belmont.

BYE – Grier

(Monday, Feb. 5)
Grier at Cramerton, Holbrook at Chavis, Mount Holly at Bessemer City, Southwest at Belmont, Stanley at York Chester, BYE – W.C. Friday

(Thursday, Feb. 8)
Chavis at W.C. Friday, Bessemer City at Grier, Belmont at Holbrook, York Chester at Mount Holly, Stanley at Southwest, BYE – Cramerton