Saturday’s roundup: High school basketball playoffs, high school football, college football and basketball

By Richard Walker

Gaston Christian School finished the 2020-21 basketball season as NCISAA 3A state runner-up.

Gaston Christian battled visiting Asheville Christian Academy tough throughout but dropped a 74-68 decision in the N.C. Independent Athletic Association Class 3A state boys basketball title game.

It was the Eagles’ first-ever appearance in a boys basketball state title game and ended their season with a 9-19 record that includes losses to 1A state champion Victory Christian Center and 4A state champion Cannon School.

In other NCISAA state championship games played on Saturday, Victory Christian Center defeated United Faith Christian Christian 65-51 in 1A boys, Burlington School beat Northwood Temple Academy 72-51 in 2A boys, Cannon School defeated Carmel Christian 94-85 in 4A boys, Victory Christian Center beat Lee Christian 50-24 in 1A girls, Davidson Day defeated Burlington School 65-46 in 2A girls, Concord Academy beat Asheville Christian 58-57 in overtime in 3A girls and Cannon School defeated North Raleigh Christian 53-39 in 4A girls.

NCHSAA high school basketball

3A boys
Crest 66, West Rowan 62: Mari Adams hit six free throws in the final 1:02 as the Chargers (16-1) advanced to the Western N.C. 3A title for the third time in school history by winning at West Rowan (14-2), which is coached by former Belmont Abbey standout Mike Gurley. Crest will play at Weddington (16-0) on Tuesday in the Western N.C. 3A championship game.

2A boys
North Lincoln 87, Shelby 56: The Knights (15-2) advanced past the third round of the state playoffs for the first time in school history by ending defending N.C. 2A co-state champion Shelby’s season at 15-2. North Lincoln will play at Hendersonville (16-0) on Tuesday in the Western N.C. 2A championship game.

1A boys
Lincoln Charter 80, Mitchell County 42: Lincoln Charter (15-2) advanced to the fourth round of the state playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons. The Eagles will host Mount Airy (14-3) on Tuesday in the Western N.C. 1A championship game.

Mount Airy 60, Mountain Island Charter 57: Mountain Island Charter’s season ended at 13-3 with the road playoff loss.

2A girls
Shelby 64, Mountain Heritage 53: The Golden Lions (16-0) advance to the Western championship game for the first time in school history and to the fourth round for the first time since 2010. Shelby plays at West Stokes (14-0) on Tuesday in the Western N.C. 2A championship game.

Tuesday’s regional championship winners advance to March 6 state title games at Wheatmore and Providence Grove high schools.

High school football

Kings Mountain 43, Cramer 7: Ethan Reid had three touchdown passes and one touchdown run as Kings Mountain won its season opener at home. Titus Phillips, Chance Cannon and Devin Pressley caught the TD passes, with Cannon’s going for 95 yards. Caleb Holland opened the scoring by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown and Jalen Mims also had a touchdown run for the Mountaineers, who visit North Gaston on Friday in their next game.

East Lincoln 28, Mountain Island Charter 27: East Lincoln (1-0) visits rival Lincolnton next Friday in its next game.

High school boys soccer

East Rutherford 4, East Gaston 3

College football

Gardner-Webb head coach Tre Lamb (white hat) picked up his first victory in the Bulldogs’ season-opener on Saturday. [GWUSports.com photo]
Gardner-Webb 42, Elon 20: The Bulldogs trailed 17-0 early and 20-7 at halftime before scoring 35 second half points to make head coach Tre Lamb’s debut a winner.

Playing in front of a sellout crowd of 2,700 – with capacity in Spangler Stadium limited to 30 percent due to COVID-19 protocols – the Bulldogs (1-0) posted their first win over a ranked team since 2016 with the come-from-behind victory over No. 24 Elon (1-1).

“This was a program building win,” Lamb said. “I think we were too hyped up to start the game. I had to calm them down a little bit. They are a good team and jumped on us in the first quarter, but our defense kept us in the game. In the second half, we stayed together and I think, once we cut it to one score, the momentum just kept building in our favor.”

Quarterback Carlton Aiken, a graduate transfer from Pace College, overcame three first-half interceptions – two on tipped balls – to score two rushing touchdowns, including the go-ahead 23-yard run with 3:30 left in the third quarter.

Devron Harper then followed shortly afterwards with a 41-yard touchdown punt return and Narii Gaither sealed the victory with touchdown runs of two and 18 yards in the fourth quarter.

Gaither carried 19 times for 111 yards and two scores in his first career start and got Gardner-Webb’s offense in gear with some tough running late in the first half. Aiken ran for 59 yards on 11 carries and completed 21 of 30 passes for 167 yards. Izaiah Gathings was Aiken’s top target with 10 catches for 126 yards – his fifth game in a row with double figures catches and at least 100 yards through the air.

Gardner-Webb outgained Elon 369-298 in total offense and had 202 yards rushing on 41 carries. The Bulldogs were 8-of-14 on third down and scored four touchdowns in four red zone trips. Freshman end Ty French led the defense with 12 total tackles (five solo), including four for losses, 1 1-2 on quarterback sacks and had two quarterback hurries. Janathian Turner added seven hits, Dameon Williams and freshman William McRainey each had six stops and Shai Thomas had five hits, a half sack and 1 1-2 tackles for loss.

Gardner-Webb hosts Presbyterian at 1 p.m. next Saturday in its next game.

College men’s basketball

UTEP 70, Charlotte 47: Jahmir Young scored 12 points and Caleb Stone-Carrawell 10 for the 49ers (9-12, 5-8) in a road Conference USA loss on Saturday. Charlotte plays at UTEP again Sunday at 3 p.m.

College women’s basketball

UTEP 71, Charlotte 68: Senior Mariah Linney had a season-high 24 points to surpass 1,000 career points on “Senior Day” but the 49ers fell to 9-8, 8-4 in a Conference USA game at Halton Arena.


College softball

Mars Hill 1-10, Belmont Abbey 0-2: Hailey Gass had a pair of hits and scored twice for the Abbey in their home debut doubleheader loss on Saturday.

College men’s lacrosse

Belmont Abbey 12, Montevallo 8: Collin Grippo scored twice and caused two turnovers for the Abbey (1-2), which hosts Queens on Friday at 7 p.m. in its next contest.

College women’s lacrosse

Belmont Abbey 23, Lander 14: Mackenzie Kaderabek scored six goals for the Abbey (3-1), which visits North Greenville next Saturday at noon in its next action.