Titans top Super 7 girls hoops crown

by Chris Hunt and C. Jemal Horton

1. Hopewell Titans (25-4)

The Hopewell High School girls reached the 4A Western Regional tournament and, as a result, are the Lake Norman-Area Super 7 girls champions.

Earning the 2010-11 Lake Norman-Area Super 7 girls basketball championship is just one of the Titans’ many accomplishments. Hopewell not only tied the school record for victories, set in 2005 with a 25-5 mark, it also reached the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A regional tournament for the first time in school history.

The Titans also boast two-time I-MECK 4A conference Player of the Year Hannah Early – for the second time in two seasons – and all-conference selections Sharee’ Boyd (second time) and Hunter Meakin.

Still there’s more.

Last season, the Titans shared the league’s regular-season championship, but a veteran squad with a stingy defense returned this year to claim the title outright. As a team, Hopewell’s defense was good for 11.6 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. The result? The Titans held opponents to just 38.4 points per game.

2. Hough Huskies (18-10)

The first-year Huskies were the area’s biggest surprise, finishing third in the I-MECK 4A and winning a playoff game, 65-56 over West Meck.

3. West Mecklenburg Hawks (20-7)

First-year coach Antoine Avinger didn’t waste any time getting acclimated to the MEGA 7 3A/4A conference, as the Hawks opened the season by winning their first nine contests. They also earned the league’s No. 1 seed for the Class 4A state playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Hawks were eliminated in the first round by Hough, but that didn’t put a damper on their season.

Avinger has preached balance, and his squad epitomized that all season. Rajsha Blackmon led the team in scoring (19.9 points per game), Keanna Bowe was tops in rebounding (9.8) and blocks (2.5), Toni Thorne was the leader in steals (4.5) and Sharnesha Brently led the way in assists (three).

4. Lake Norman Charter Knights (19-5)

Lake Norman Charter won its second consecutive Piedmont Athletic Conference regular-season championship with a sterling 10-0 league mark and, once again, captured the PAC tournament title.

5. SouthLake Christian Eagles (22-8)

The Eagles won more games than any SouthLake team since it joined the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association. Thanks to 6-foot-3 center Brianne Mack and sweet-shooting guard Kourtney Hailey, the Eagles were second in the Metrolina Athletic Conference reached the second round of the NCISAA 2A tournament.

6. Lake Norman Wildcats (14-11)

It was a down year for the Wildcats, who earned a share of last year’s I-MECK regular-season title and advanced to the regional semifinals. While post players Landyn Manion and Marrissa Riley returned for another stellar season, with both averaging double figures, a depleted backcourt – due to injuries, graduation and transfers – was too much to overcome.

7. North Mecklenburg Vikings (15-12)

North Meck secured 15 victories and a state playoff berth for the second consecutive season under coach Jennifer Baker. The Vikings leaned heavily on senior leadership from captains Tatum McKee, Kayla Lemke, Sam Garst and Erin Lenhert.

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