Saturday’s roundup: Lincoln Charter and Highland Tech pick up state titles, Mountain Island Charter pursues volleyball title and prep and college basketball results

By Richard Walker

Highland Tech’s Lauren Tolbert won the N.C. 1A girls cross country state title to become the 3rd Gaston County product to win the individual title. [NCHSAA photo]
Lincoln Charter School, Highland Tech, Stuart Cramer and Forestview helped conclude the best weekend in area N.C. High School Athletic Association cross country history at the Ivey Redmon Park in Kernersville on Saturday.

Lincoln Charter’s boys won their third straight 1A state title and Highland Tech’s Lauren Tolbert became the seventh local state champion.

Also, two boys runners from Cramer and Forestview finished among the top 12 finishers in the 3A state meet.

Lincoln Charter won due to extraordinary balance as it placed all five of its scorers among the top 19 finishers – seventh-place Cutter Law, 14th-place Matthew Radin, 15th-place Patrick Rice, 18th-place Brandon Wright and 19th-place Manix Ferreira.

Tolbert finished the course in 19:15.05, which is the best 1A girls state championship-winning time since 2013.

The Lincoln Charter and Highland Tech titles came one day after North Lincoln High School won the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 2A boys and girls cross country championships and North Lincoln’s Angie Allen set a state record as the 2A individual winner.

Tolbert is only the third Gaston County individual champion in history as she joined South Point’s Glenn Sparrow (1978 Open classification boys title) and Highland Tech’s Sophia Bhalie (2012 1A girls title).

In the 3A boys meet, Cramer’s Zachary Willer and Nicholas Willer finished sixth and seventh, respectively, and Forestview’s Austin Brotemarkle and Oussama Ajala finished eighth and 12th, respectively, in the individual standings.

In the 1A girls meet, Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy of Mooresboro won the team title.


High school volleyball
Mountain Island Charter’s dream season finished with a state runner-up finish as the Raptors lost in four sets to East Wake Academy by scores of 15-25, 15-25, 25-21 and 23-25 in the N.C. 1A state championship match at Green Level High School in Cary.

The Raptors, the first Gaston County team in history to advance to the state, finished the season with an 18-1 overall record after losing to the 13-1 Eagles.

Lauren Pledger (21 kills) and Aniajah Jones (15 kills) led Mountain Island Charter and Pledger was honored before the match with the NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Award for coach Jim Seidel’s team.

The Raptors won the PAC 7 1A regular season title then won playoff matches over Mount Airy (3-1), Highland Tech (3-0), Alleghany (3-0) and Bishop McGuinness (3-0) to make their historic state finals appearance.

Lincoln Charter’s boys cross country team won its third straight 1A state title. [NCHSAA photo]
High school boys basketball
Ashbrook 64, North Gaston 60 (Friday): Jordan Robertson (20 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks), Nash Heavner (14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals), Ben Carpenter (9 points, 13 rebounds) and Trevian Curry (9 points, 3 assists, 2 steals) led the Green Wave in the victory.

Lincoln Charter 69, Christ the King 51 (Friday): Sam Cogan (21 points, 8 rebounds), Marcus Farley (13 points, 8 rebounds), Carter Seitz (10 points, 14 rebounds) and Crichton Palmer (9 points, 5 rebounds) led the Eagles to the win.


College men’s basketball
Charlotte 74, Florida Atlantic 71: Jahmir Young scored 25 points and Jordan Sheperd 19 as the 49ers evened their overall (7-7) and Conference USA (3-3) records with the road victory. Charlotte plays again on Friday at home at 6 p.m. against Florida International.

Emmanuel 67, Belmont Abbey 65: The visiting Crusaders came up just in the Conference Carolinas game. L.J. McCoy (14 points), Nate Davis (11 points) and Quest Aldridge (10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) led the Abbey (6-2, 4-1), which plays again on Tuesday at home at 7 p.m. against Southern Wesleyan.


Mountain Island Charter’s 2020-21 volleyball team was the first Gaston County team to advance to the state finals. The Raptors finished with an 18-1 overall record.

College women’s basketball
Belmont Abbey 70, Emmanuel 63: Keyanna Spivey had 16 points and seven rebounds as the visiting Crusaders (8-2, 4-1) won their fourth straight Conference Carolinas game. The Abbey’s next game is Thursday at 5 p.m. at home against Lees-McRae.

USC Upstate 70, Gardner-Webb 68: A late comeback came up just short for the Bulldogs (5-10, 5-5) in the Big South home loss. Ki’Ari Cain (16 points), Jhessyka Williams (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Alasia Smith (14 points, 9 rebounds) led Gardner-Webb, whose next game is Friday at Campbell at 5 p.m.