Mountaineer swimmers
to compete
in state meet

Four individuals and a team from Kings Mountain High School will compete in the NCHSAA 3A state swim meet Friday.
The team competed in the West Regional meet Saturday at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in Charlotte.
The swimmers going on to the state are Alex Barr in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, Trinity Price in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke, Mason Demetro and Dalton Messenger in the 100 butterfly; and Barr, Turner Brown, Demetro and Messenger in the 400 yard freestyle relay.
KM results in the Western Regional included:
Girls 200 medley relay – Abbey Ogle, Callie Stimpson, Trinity Price and Tianna Kaiser, 23rd.
Boys 200 medley relay – Nash Bachman, Alex Hayes, Turner Brown and Hunter Ruppe, 23rd.
Girls 200 free – Trinity Price fifth with a time of 2:05.36 to qualify for the state meet.
Boys 200 free – Dalton Messenger, 15th in 2:03.60, and Mason Demetro 16th in 2:06.00.
Boys 100 butterfly – Messenger sixth in 57.95 and Demetro eighth in 59.86, both qualifying for the state meet.
Boys 100 free – Alex Barr fifth in 50.33, qualifying for the state meet.
Girls 500 free – Trinity Price fourth in 5:37.24, qualifying for the state.
Girls 200 free relay – Trinity Price, Callie Stimpson, Abbey Ogle and Tianna Kaiser, 21st.
Boys 100 backstroke – Alex Barr second in 54.76, new school record and qualifying for state meet.
Boys 400 free relay – Dalton Messenger, Turner Brown, Mason Demetro and Alex Barr, seventh in 3:41.38 and qualifying for the state meet.
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Priest Wilson fires a jumper for the Mountaineers in last week’s win over South Point’s Red Raiders. Photos by Gary Smart

Mountaineers sweep South Point

Kings Mountain High’s varsity basketball teams swept the South Point Red Raiders in Big South 3A Conference action last Tuesday at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium.
The Lady Mountaineers remained atop the conference standings with a sound effort from all players, 70-37, and the Mountaineers held on to their strong second place standing in the nightcap, 78-65.
The ladies led by just 11-8 after the first period but they quickly took charge in the second quarter and won easily. In the second quarter, the Lady Mountaineers got a big lift from Khalia King and Saniya Wilson on offense and all of their players on defense to allow the Lady Red Raiders just one point until the two minute mark. By that time the locals were up 30-9 and had the game in hand by halftime, 34-15.
Coach Nick Inman’s team placed four players in double figures and every player performed well on defense, most notably CoRey Simpson who pulled down a career high 18 rebounds to go with her three points.
King led the scoring attack with 16 points, with 12 of them coming on a 4-for-5 shooting performance from three-point land. She also had three rebounds.
Senior standout Saniya Wilson once again had a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists. She also pulled down five rebounds and had three steals.
Alayna Patrick had one of, if not the best game of her career with 11 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Her points and rebounds were both career highs on the varsity level.
Jacie Jarvis also had career highs of 11 points and eight rebounds.
Tyasya Bell scored eight points to go along with three rebounds and two steals, Austyn Dixon had six points and five boards and Myracle Davis had four points, five rebounds and three assists.
Lexi Birtwistle led the Lady Raiders with 11 points and Maddie Frank added 10. Toney Melton and Claire Huv scored six apiece and Leah Cha and Lily Gregory two each.
In JV action, Kings Mountain improved to 5-1 with a 12-8 win over the Lady Raiders. Mia Bridges had six points, Maggie Honeycutt four and Desirae Thombs two.
Although the final score may not indicate it, the men’s game was also a blowout as the Mountaineers led by 24 points (76-52) with three minutes left when Coach Grayson Pierce took all starters out of the game. Even before that, many starters were being taken out from time to time to work everyone into the game.
The game was tied in the opening minute after KM’s Zeke Cannedy and SP’s Jackson Blee traded buckets. But by the end of the first quarter KM was up 22-7 and the game was basically in hand.
Cannedy’s free throw put the Mountaineers up 39-19 at halftime. He scored 18 of his game-high 41 points in the first half.
The Raiders scored the first six points of the third quarter to get the margin down to 39-25, and rallied again later in the period to cut it to 55-38 but the Mountaineers rallied to take a 61-42 lead into the final eight minutes.
With KM up 78-54 after a lay-in by Keedon Linney with 2:25 left in the game, the Raiders scored the last 11 points of the game to make it more respectable.

Last second goal in OT
lifts Lions over KMHS

Kings Mountain native Drew Hollifield stole an inbounds pass and hit a lay-up with just a second remaining to give the Lions a 76-74 overtime victory over Kings Mountain in a non-conference game Wednesday night in Shelby.
It gave the Lions a sweep of the varsity doubleheader after the Lady Lions rolled to a 77-39 win in the opener.
Hollifield’s heroics overshadowed yet another outstanding performance by Kings Mountain senior Zeke Cannedy, who finished with a game-high 30 points. Hollifield and DeMario Allen led the Lions with 18 apiece.
Drew’s cousins, Kate and Ally Hollifield, played a huge part in the Lady Lions’ victory. Maraja Pass led all scorers with 21 points but Kate Hollifield was right behind with 18, followed by Ally Hollifield with 15.
Saniya Wilson led the Lady Mountaineers with 17 points and also had three assists, two rebounds, one steal and took two charges.
Khalia King had eight points, three assists and a steal; Alayna Patrick six points, six rebounds, three steals and an assist; Tyasya Bell four points, three rebounds and an assist, Austyn Dixon two points, three rebounds and an assist and CoRey Simpson two points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
It was just the third loss of the year for the Lady Mountaineers, the other two coming in pre-season tournaments.
In the JV game, Shelby handed the KM ladies a 15-10 defeat to drop their record to 5-2.
Mia Bridges led KM with four points. Brooklyn Long and Jailen Moore scored two points each and Maggie Honeycutt and Desirae Thombs one each.

KMHS Interact Club selling bands helping international student

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain High School Interact Club is tackling an international project by selling bracelets to help a student from Guatemala with her education expenses. Lucy’s father died last year of COVID, and the family is struggling financially.
Her story touched the hearts of the Interact members and they have worked hard selling YUDA bands to their friends and family. These bracelets were hand made in developing countries and their sale also benefits the artisans who produce them. Club members are proud to be able to send the proceeds to help Lucy with her education. The club’s top seller was Kalin Brooks.
Kings Mountain High School Interact Club is primarily a leadership and service -oriented club. It is an offshoot of the Kings Mountain Rotary Club. The KMHS faculty club sponsor is Margot Plonk.
The club volunteers at many City-sponsored events and is involved with several annual projects such as the Rotary Spaghetti Supper, Rotary Thanksgiving meal at the Patrick Senior Center, as well as many other community events like the Jingle Bell Run.

 Men’s tennis tryouts
begin Feb. 14 at KMHS

 Kings Mountain High men’s tennis tryouts will be held Mon., Feb. 14 through Fri., Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. at the KMHS tennis complex.
Each student athlete is required to have an updated physical form on file prior to participating in any practices.
All participants are required to take tennis gear such as a racquet, tennis apparel and individual bottled water.
The Mountaineers lost five seniors off last year’s team. Four players return including Adam Guy, Mark Petrilli, Tyler Smith and Manoah Allen.

Football awards
on February 10

 The annual Kings Mountain High School football awards ceremony, originally scheduled for last Thursday, had to be postponed.
The event has been rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at B.N. Barnes Auditorium.
Trophies and other awards will be presented to some of the many outstanding student-athletes on the 2021 fall team that finished second in the Big South Conference and went three rounds in the state playoffs. The team that eliminated them from the playoffs, Greensboro Dudley, went on to win the state championship.
Because of health concerns, food will not be served.

KM 
sweeps
Wildcats

Kings Mountain High’s varsity basketball teams swept North Gaston in Big South 3A Conference action last week in Dallas.
The girls came out strong in the second half en route to a 49-32 win to keep them undefeated in the conference. The boys dominated from the get-go and rolled over the Wildcats 77-36.
As has been the case in most games this year, the North Gaston defense couldn’t do a thing with KM senior Zeke Cannedy who stripped the nets for 31 points. Maddox James added 18.
The North Gaston girls held the edge early, leading the Lady Mountaineers 10-8 after the first period before KM outscored them 12-8 in the second quarter to go up 20-18 at intermission.
Led by senior standout Saniya Wilson, the Lady Mountaineers widened the gap to 35-23 going into the fourth period.
Wilson finished with 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals and Khalia King also hit double digits with 14 points.
All of the KM ladies had good all-around games. Austyn Dixon scored four points and hauled in 10 rebounds. CoRey Simpson had four points, four rebounds and two blocks. Tyasya Bell added three points, five boards, two assists and two steals, Alayna Patrick two points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals, and Myracle Davis two points and three rebounds.
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Kings Mountain’s Maggie Honeycutt (5) goes in for two in last week’s JV game with Crest at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium. Photos by Gary Smart

Girls win, boys lose
in big county game
with rival Chargers

Kings Mountain High’s women’s basketball team continued its roll through the Big South Conference but the Mountaineers dropped their first conference game to a very good Crest team Wednesday at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium.
Lady Mountaineer coach Nicholas Inman got a good all-around performance from all of his ladies as they held off a big second half comeback by the Lady Chargers, 62-57. The KM ladies led 42-22 at halftime but the visitors from Boiling Springs outscored them 17-9 in the third period and 18-11 in the final eight minutes to make it a close one.
Senior standout Saniya Wilson again led the KM attack with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Khalia King had 15 points and three assists, and  Tyasya Bell barely missed double figures with nine points. She also grabbed four rebounds.
CoRey Simpson also had a good all-around game with eight points and five boards. Myracle Davis added three points and five rebounds and Austyn Dixon two points and three rebounds.
Surratt led Crest with 22 points and Davis had 13. Blackwell and Hamrick added eight apiece to help spark the Lady Chargers’ comeback attempt.
The JV Lady Mountaineers suffered their first loss of the season, 22-15. They had gone into the match with a 4-0 record.
Maggie Honeycutt led the KM scoring with 10 points. Brooklyn Whitlock had three and Desirae Thombs two.
The Mountaineers led at the end of each of the first three quarters but Crest took command late for an 85-82 victory that kept the Chargers unbeaten in the BSC while dropping the Mountaineers to 6-1 in the league.
The game changed hands several times in the fourth quarter but the Chargers went to a zone defense late and it paid off.
A.J. Adams came off the bench to lead the Chargers with 19 points, including 5-of-6 free throws to seal the win. Kings Mountain led 62-50 in the third period before Adams and his teammates began their big comeback.
The Chargers’ season leading scorer, Mari Adams, got into early foul trouble and was riding the pine when his younger brother and fellow teammates were pulling their big comeback. Three other Chargers were also in double figures with Kevin Kollock also scoring 19, Tylik Briscoe 14 and Amareio Goodlett 10.
Kings Mountain’s Zeke Cannedy continued to put up big numbers, finishing with 48 points with 38 of them coming in the first three periods before the Chargers switched to their zone.
Maddox James continued his great play of late with 15 points, and Curtis Simpson added 11.
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Kaylee Lavin signs with CCC

Kings Mountain High senior Kaylee Lavin signs to continue her softball career and education at Cleveland Community College. Looking on are her parents, Gina Lavin and Tommy Lavin.

Photo by Gary Smart
 
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Saniya Wilson signs
with Catawba College

Kings Mountain High senior basketball standout Saniya Wilson signs to continue her education and playing career at Catawba College. She is pictured with her high school coaches, head coach Nicholas Inman, left, and assistant coach Darrel Wilson, her father.  

Photo by Gary Smart
 

KM Family YMCA  Basketball

Football awards
night Thursday

Kings Mountain High’s annual football awards night is Thursday at 7 p.m. at Barnes Auditorium.
Players from the fall 2021 team that went 10-3 and three rounds in the state 3A playoffs will be recognized and trophies will be presented to many players for their outstanding contributions.         

Adjusted schedule
for KM basketball

 Because the recent snows forced postponement to many basketball games, Kings Mountain High School has adjusted its schedule for the remainder of the regular season:
Wed., Jan. 26 – Crest at Kings Mountain, 4:30. (The home game against Shelby has been cancelled).
Fri., Jan. 28 – Kings Mountain at Forestview, 4:30.
Tue., Feb. 1 – South Point at Kings Mountain, 4 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 2 – Kings Mountain at Shelby, 4 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 4 – Kings Mountain at Stuart Cramer, 4:30.
Sat., Feb. 5 – Forestview at Kings Mountain (JV and varsity boys only), 1 p.m.
Tues., Feb. 8 – Kings Mountain at Ashbrook, 4 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 9 – Hunter Huss at Kings Mountain, 6:30 (varsity boys only).
Fri., Feb. 11 – at Crest, 4 p.m.
Week of Feb. 14 – Conference tournament (times and pairings TBD).
*Note: A 4 p.m. start means there is a girls JV game; a 4:30 start means there is no JV girls game.
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TYASYA BELL

KMHS ladies
edge Huss in OT,
Crest here today

Kings Mountain High’s girls basketball team was able to play their first game in a week Friday night, defeating a very good Hunter Huss team 59-54 in overtime at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium to maintain sole possession of first place in the Big South Conference.
However, with snow coming down outside the KMHS gym the KM-Huss boy’s game was postponed and will be played at a later date.
Heading into this week, both KM teams had a makeup game against county-rival Crest. That game, which would have concluded first round play, was snowed out last Tuesday. The KM men  also have a makeup game with Forestview that was postponed earlier in the season.
Girls coach Nicholas Inman got a super performance from all of his players in Friday’s win over a Huss team that was mentioned as one of the pre-season favorites in the Big South Conference.
Senior Saniya Wilson continued her super all-around play with 28 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals. She also took five charging calls.
Khalia King contributed 10 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Wilson and King have been the 1-2 scoring punch for the KM ladies all season – and several seasons before this one.
But every Lady Mountaineer contributed greatly to Friday’s win.
Tyasya Bell barely missed double figures with nine points, and she also pulled down seven rebounds.
CoRey Simpson had eight points and eight rebounds, and Austyn Dixon had seven rebounds.
Alayna Pastrick had five rebounds and three assists, Myracle Davis two points and three rebounds, and Jacie Jarvis two points.
In the afternoon JV game, the KM ladies also were taken to the wire before prevailing 18-13. They improved their record to 4-0.
Kamari Odems led the scoring with seven points. Jailen Moore and Mia Bridges had three each,
Brooklyn Long and Maggie Honeycutt two each, and D’Aundra Ford one.
All Kings Mountain teams will be at home this afternoon and tonight to face arch rival Crest in .conference action.
Kings Mountain returns to BSC action Friday night at Forestview and will host the South Point Red Raiders next Tuesday. JV girls action gets underway at 4 p.m., followed by the JV boys, varsity girls and varsity boys.

Long-time KM Hall of Fame coach
Jimmy Littlejohn will be remembered

Kings Mountain lost one of its all-time best coaches when Jimmy Littlejohn passed away last week at the age of 80.
For more than half of those years, he was a coach of local youth football teams and later was the Athletic Officer for two of KM’s best American Legion baseball teams.
When Littlejohn was inducted into the Kings Mountain Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 he had already amassed 34 years as a coach in midget football. He continued for many years after that while also serving as the Athletic Officer for Kings Mountain Post 155 American Legion baseball.
Although Littlejohn did not coach legion baseball, he was a key figure in what were probably KM’s two finest teams in 1990 and 1991. Featuring players like Paul Brannon, who would later be drafted by the Seattle Mariners, Chad and Chris Plonk, Keith Allen and others, the Post 155 Juniors went all the way to the Area IV finals before falling to two teams, Caldwell County which won the state and played in the Eastern Regionals, and Taylorsville that finished second in the state.
Just a year before that, Post 155 had folded its legion program and its players were split between Shelby and Bessemer City depending on how far they lived from those posts.
In a story in the Herald when he was inducted into the Kings Mountain Sports Hall of Fame, Littlejohn recalled that he and Gene Tignor had gone to a Shelby-Bessemer City Area IV playoff game and talked about how great it would be to revive the legion program. They were told by Shelby officials that they would not release any players back to KM, but Littlejohn learned from a state legion baseball officer that if the players signed an affidavit they could play for Post 155. KMHS coaches Bruce Clark and Ronny Funderburke coached the team.
When he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, Littlejohn said he learned his coaching skills from his high school coach, John Gamble. Although he was not one of the team captains, anytime Coach Gamble met with his two captains he would ask Littlejohn, who was not a starter, to join them.
“I guess he considered me to be the captain of the second team,” Littlejohn noted at the time. “Coach Gamble taught me all the football I know.”
The only coaching experience he had prior to the Optimist programs was helping his friend David Marlowe with the West School community team. Although the original four midget teams were named after schools, schools were not allowed to sponsor youth teams. The original midget teams were West, East, North and Central. A few years later Grover and South (Park Grace) joined the league.
When the school system went to a middle/junior high/senior high school concept midget football ceased to exist and the Optimist Club and city began co-sponsoring junior pee wees, pee wees and junior midget teams that still exist today.

KM teams win Polar Bear track meet at Gamble Stadium
 

Seven area schools participated in the first Polar Bear Indoor Track Meet Thursday at Kings Mountain High’s Gamble Stadium, and both KM teams came out on top.
The Mountaineers compiled 156 points. Shelby was second at 56 followed by R-S Central 33, East Lincoln 24, Cherryville, 14, Paddyforte Learning Center 10 and Burns 1.
The Lady Mountaineers racked up 233 points, followed by Shelby 43, East Lincoln 26, S Central 25 and Burns four.
Fully automatic timing (FAT) was used. Even though the temperate was cool, KM coach Rayvis Key was very impressed with the Mountaineers’ and Lady Mountaineers’ performances.
For the Mountaineers, DJ Black finished first in the 55 meter dash, 300 meter dash and led the 4x200 relay.
Other first place finishers were Andre Willis in the 55 meter high hurdles, Parker Key in the 3200 meter run, Nicholas Harrison in the pole vault and Marty Lovingood in the long jump. Other members of the winning 4x200 team were Andre Willis, Hunter Cruise and JJ Thurman.
Alexis Jackson was a triple winner for the Lady Mountaineers, taking the high jump, long jump and triple jump.
Other first place winners were Rayna Brown in the pole vault, Taylor Smith in the shot, Divinity Ervin in the 3200 meters, Taniya Brown in the 55 meter high hurdles, Brooke Waseman in the 300 meter dash, Navaeh Brown in the 55 meter dash; and the 4x200 meter relay team consisting of Navaeh Brown, Nyadria Phillips, Lawren Thomas and Brooke Waseman.
The KMHS indoor track teams will be traveling to the only true indoor meet at the JDL Fast Track in Winston Salem on January 20.

Lady Mountaineers
beat Cramer 67-48

Kings Mountain’s women’s basketball team rolled to its fifth straight Big South Conference victory Tuesday night at home, defeating the Stuart Cramer Purple Storm 67-48.
The Lady Mountaineers got another strong performance from all players, with four of them scoring in double figures.
Senior standout Saniya Wilson led the way with 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Khalia King contributed 16 points and seven boards.
CoRey Simpson had perhaps her best game ever as a Lady Mountaineer, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. It was her first career double-double as a varsity player.
Tyasya Bell was also in double figures with 12 points. She grabbed five rebounds.
Jacie Jarvis had four points and three rebounds.
Alayna Patrick contributed one point, two rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Stuart Cramer’s Dasia Harris was the game’s top scorer with 28 points. Hadley Womack added 17, Madison Lee two and Zoey Morris one.

Mountaineers sweep 
Ashbrook to stay top BSC

Kings Mountain High’s varsity basketball teams went into last night’s game against the Crest Chargers atop the Big South 3A Conference standings.
The KM teams swept Gastonia Ashbrook Friday night on the road with the girls handing the Lady Green Wave their first conference loss in more than two years, 45-41, and the boys rolling 81-50.
The Mountaineers had a good 1-2 scoring punch with Zeke Cannedy stripping the nets for 32 points and Maddox James 18. Zavion Smith added nine points and Curtis Simpson and Eli Osborne seven apiece.
The Lady Mountaineers carried a 6-0 conference record into last night’s game while Crest came to town with a 2-2 conference mark. The Lady Green Wave fell into second place with a 5-1 BSC record.
The KM men came in with a 5-0 mark and Crest 3-0. The Mountaineers still have a first round makeup game with Forestview.

Lady Mountaineer Coach Nicholas Inman got a great overall performance from all of his players.
Khalia King had a super night with a game-high 20 points which included 4-of-7 from three-point land.
Senior standout Saniya Wilson continued her fine all-around play with 16 points, four rebounds and five assists.
Myracle Davis had three  points and two boards, Austyn Dixon two points and  three rebounds, CoRey Simpson two points and five rebounds, and Tyasya Bell two points and a team high nine rebounds.
The Lady Mountaineers held the lead most of the game, but it was close throughout. KM was on top 11-6 after the first quarter, 19-14 at the half and 28-25 going into the fourth quarter.
The KM JVs also came out a big winner, 32-20.
Kamari Odems led the way with 11 points. Jailen Moore scored seven, Riley Powers five, Brooklyn Whitlock five, and Maggie Honeycutt four.
Goforth led Ashbrook with nine points, followed by Rojhaya with six, Hayes three and Mooring two.
The Kings Mountain teams will remain at home Friday to begin second round action against the Hunter Huss Huskies. Kings Mountain will then travel to North Gaston next Tuesday before returning home for a non-conference game with county rival Shelby on Wednesday.
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KM’s Maddox James (4) drives the lane for two points in Kings Mountain’s thrilling 88-82 win over Stuart Cramer last week at Parker Gym. Photo by Gary Smart

Mountaineers weather their
first BSC ‘Storm,’ 88-82

Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers survived a tough battle from the Stuart Cramer Purple Storm in Big South 3A Conference basketball action Tuesday night at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium but remained undefeated in the conference with an 88-82 victory.
After leading most of the game, the Mountaineers ran into foul trouble in the second half and saw Cramer come from behind to earn their first lead since early in the game, 70-69, on a Will Kelly basket with six minutes remaining.
But Maddox James, who played one of his best games of the season with 19 points and numerous rebounds, put the Mountaineers back out front 74-72 and they were able to hold on for the victory.
Cramer stayed within striking distance but, even with KM’s leading scorer Zeke Cannedy on the bench with five fouls, the Mountaineers were able to survive behind clutch play by James, sophomore guard Zavion Smith and others.
Cramer got to within 84-80 with 26 seconds remaining, but had to foul and Smith went to the line to go 4-for-4 and wrap things up.
The Storm scored the game’s first points to go up 2-0 and led 15-14 with 1:25 left in the first period. Cannedy scored the last six points of the period to put KM on top 21-17. The Mountaineers built a 45-35 lead following a Cannedy basket with a minute left in the half, but the visitors rallied to cut the margin to 48-42 at the break.
Will Kelly (24 points) and Francisco Vardezas  (11) accounted for 35 of the Storm’s first half points.
The Mountaineers were able to get their lead to double-digits (63-53) on a bucket by James with just over a minute left in the third quarter, but the Storm began brewing again and cut it to 67-60 heading into the final eight minutes. The visitors scored the first seven points of the third quarter to knot things up at 67-all with 6:50 left in the game.
Cannedy’s three put the Mountaineers up 72-70 and they were able to build a 78-72 lead before Smith was hurt and had to go to the bench with 4:05 left.
Things got a little shaky in the final two minutes as a pair of technical free throws by Kelly brought the visitors to within four at 82-78. But, upon getting the ball out of bounds the Storm committed a charge. KM got a big bucket by James for an 84-78 lead. Cramer’s Talen Whitley followed a miss shot with a put-back to make it 84-80 with 26 seconds left.
With the Mountaineers now on offense, The Storm had to foul for a chance to win, but Smith hit 4-of-4 from the charity stripe to seal the deal.
Despite his time on the bench due to fouls, Cannedy still led the Mountaineers with 32 points. He and James were joined in double figures by Linney with 12 and Smith and Simpson with 10 each.
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Kohen Johnson signs with CCC 

Kings Mountain High School swimmer Kohen Johnson recently signed to continue his education and swimming career at Cleveland Community College.

Patriots open 
season with 
win over Crest

Kings Mountain Middle School’s boys basketball team opened its season last week with a thrilling 54-48 overtime victory over county rival Crest.
Crest led most of the game and was up 46-45 with 30 seconds to play before KM’s Bradley Floyd hit a free throw to send the game into overtime.
The Patriots hit 4-for-5 from the field in OT to win going away. Charlie Foster hit back-to-back baskets to get the run going.
Brayden Mull led the Patriots with a double-double (12 points and 13 rebounds). Floyd had 11 points and six assists.
Caleb Nixon scored 19 points including 4-for-8 from three point land. Tucker Robinette had five points and five assists, Silas Tate five points, and Charlie Foster four points and five rebounds.
Crest jumped out to a 13-10 lead after the first quarter. KM was led by Mull with six points on 3-of-3 shooting.
The second period saw KM strike back with a pair of threes by Caleb Nixon and one by Floyd for a 25-23 halftime lead.
Kings Mountain turned cold in the third period and Crest hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to take a 37-32 into the fourth period.
For the game, the Patriots went 9-for-18 from three point land.
The Patriots had 15 assists, 30 rebounds and five blocked shots.  

Elite Trailblazers
basketball begins

Kings Mountain Elite Trailblazers got their basketball season underway last week with action in four divisions.
Players of the Week were:
K-2nd grade /8U Beginners Division, Xzavier Davis of the Elite Dawg Breeding 9 points;
Third-fourth grade/10U Elementary Division, Harper Hollifield of Clutch Elite, 22 points;
Fifth-sixth grade/12U Intermediate Division, Silas Tate of Big Elite, 18 points; and
Seventh-eighth grade Middle School Division, Tucker Robinette of WACG, 34 points.
Total results for week one included:
Elite Aces 23, Elite Royalty 9 – Leading scorers for Elite Aces, K.J. Moore 10, Sadie Bert 5, O’Brian Smith 4, Mason Pruitt 3, Cameron Twitty 1. Elite Royalty – Justin Bennett 6, Carson Hovis 2, Marku Hutchens 1.
Elite Dawg Breeding 20, #Elite Knicks 18, in OT.
Elite Dawg Breeding: Xzavier Davis 9, Sienna Black 4, Joseph Bell III 4, Kendrick Ford 2, Antonio Elder 1. #Elite Knicks: Zander Smith 9, Jasir Garner 6, Khamoni Marable 2, Legaci Hamrick 1.
3rd-4th grade elementary Division:
Clutch Elite 27, Elite Kings 15.
Clutch Elite – Harper Hollifield 22, G’hailyn Smith 3, Kylen Owens 2. Elite Kings – Antonia Surratt 10, Jeremiah Plummer 3, Michael Rice 2.
Elite Fire 8, Elite Swaggers 7.
Elite Fire – Zoey Burke 5, Ayden Harris 3. Elite Swaggers – Cyrus Smith 4, Seth Tate 3.
5th-6th Intermediate Division:
BIG ELITE 33, Elite Pressure 18.
BIG ELITE – Silas Tate 18, Uriah Lipscomb 13, Trevor Dalton 2. Elite Pressure – K.J. Bell 12, Kingston Moore 6.
Elite Outlaws 31, Elite Warriors 27
Elite Outlaws – Carlos Boyce 12, Mason Powers 7, Ira Thomas 6, Jasmine Twitty 2. Ashtun Hall 2, Cheyanne Cannedy 2. Elite Warriors – Xavier Hutchens 21, Jamarius Hill 4, Timazjhe Phillips 2.
7th-8th Middle School division:
WeAllCanGo 45, Elite Hawkins 36
WACG – Tucker Robinette 34, Ethan Dibruno 6, Silas Tate 3, Brayden Carroll 2. Elite Hawks – Malachi Powell 18, Johnathan Charles 9, K.J. Bell 4, Farri Martin 4, Trevor Dalton 1.
Hoop Dreams 40, Elite Hawks 36
Hoop Dreams – Mack Jordan 18, Braylon Brown 8, Christian Adams 6, Carlos Boyce 5, N. Sol Ohana 3.
Elite Hawks – Malachi Powell 12, K.J. Bell 9, Johnathan Charles 8, A. Hall 4, Farri Martin 3.

Mountaineers sweep South Point,
big tests coming against Wave, Crest

Kings Mountain High’s basketball teams resumed their season Friday night at Belmont with a sweep of the South Point Red Raiders. The girls won 53-38 and the boys 85-73.
The result left the Mountaineers in a tie for first place in the Big South 3A Conference with the Crest Chargers going into a key BSC match-up with a very good Stuart Cramer five at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium last night.
The KM ladies also went into the game in a tie for first place with the Ashbrook Lady Green Wave. The top spots in the conference will begin to play out when the Kings Mountain teams travel to Ashbrook Friday night and return home the following Tuesday against Crest to complete first round action.
Senior standout Zeke Cannedy continued his torrid scoring pace Friday with 48 points, those coming just a few days after his school record 53 against Gaston Day in the Mountaineers’ Holiday Tournament at Parker Gym.
Several other players had great outings for Coach Grayson Pierce’s team, which improved to 3-0 in the conference and 6-5 overall. Curtis Simpson had 14 points and eight rebounds, Maddox James 12 points and seven boards, and sophomore Zavion Smith dished out 10 assists.
The Lady Mountaineers went to 4-0 in the conference and 7-2 overall with a 53-38 victory.
They got off to a slow start, trailing the Lady Red Raiders 10-9 after the first quarter. But they started the second quarter red hot and outscored South Point 19-8 to go into the break with a 28-18 lead. They continued to pour it on in the third period and led 41-26 going into the final eight minutes.
Khalia King led all scorers with 25 points and she also had two steals and a block. Saniya Wilson joined her in double figures with 13 and also had a good all-around game with five boards, seven assists and three steals.
Austyn Dixon contributed six points, four boards, two assists and a steal; CoRey Simpson five points and eight boards; Myracle Davis two points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block; Alayna Patrick two points, three rebounds and a steal, and Tyasya Bell four rebounds and a steal.
Kings Mountain’s JV girls defeated the JV Lady Raiders 26-17 in the afternoon opener. Mia Bridges scored 10 points, Desiree Thomas six, Kamari Odems five, Maggie Honeycutt two, DAundra Ford two and Broklyn Long one.

Mountaineers’ annual Christmas tourney
 

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Zeke Cannedy, left photo, shoots a free throw and, right photo, cans a shot from the outside on his way to a school record 53-point scoring total in last week’s Mountaineer Christmas Tournament at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium. Photos by Gary Smart

Zeke Cannedy cans school record 53 points
in Mountaineers’ annual Christmas tourney

Gaston Day defeated Kings Mountain 83-74 in the championship game of last week’s Mountaineer Christmas Tournament at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium, but all eyes were on KM’s Zeke Cannedy who stripped the nets for 53 points and a new KMHS men’s scoring record.
The KMHS women’s scoring mark of 58 points was set by Judy Medlin against Belmont in 1958.
Cannedy’s effort, as well as his teammates’, kept the Mountaineers close to one of North Carolina’s private school powerhouses but the visitors outscored the home team 21-16 in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory.
The Spartans managed to barely lead after each of the first three periods – 21-20 after the first, 46-41 at the half and 62-58 going into the final eight minutes.
Included in Cannedy’s 51 point total were 10 three pointers, also the most any Mountaineer has ever canned in a single game.
The Mountaineers advanced to the title game by rolling past Davidson Day 88-36 in the opening round and squeezing past a very good 4A Charlotte Independence team 61-60 in the semi-finals.
Maddox James’ put back of a missed free throw attempt at the buzzer gave the Mountaineers the semi-finals victory.
James led the scoring with 21 points, Curtis Simpson had 12 and Cannedy 10.
Kings Mountain returns to Big South Conference action Friday at South Point with girls action beginning at 6 p.m.
The KM teams return to Parker Gymnasium on Tuesday, January 11 when the Stuart Cramer Purple Storm comes to town.

REMAINING 
SCHEDULE
JANUARY
7 – at South Point
11- Stuart Cramer
14 – at Ashbrook
18 – Crest
21 – Hunter Huss
25 – at North Gaston
26 – Shelby*
28 – at Forestview

FEBRUARY
1 – South Point
2 – at Shelby
4 – at Cramer
8 – Ashbrook
11 – at Crest
14, 16, 18- BSC tournament (place and times to be determined).
22 – State playoffs begin
Rkendrick
KM’s Robert Kendrick tries to get to the outside in Friday’s game with Franklin at Gamble Stadium. Photos by Gary Smart

Late 97-yard drive lifts Mountaineers over
Franklin 21-17 in playoff opener

 Coming into their first round NCHSAA playoff opener against the Kings Mountain Mountaineers Friday, the Franklin Panthers’ game plan was obviously to run the clock and keep the ball away from the KM offense.
It almost worked as the visitors took a 17-14 lead into the final two minutes of the game. But with Franklin facing a fourth and two from the KM four-yard line with 2:08 remaining, the Mountaineer defense stopped Panther quarterback Chris McGuire a yard short of the first down marker and then the offense drove 97 yards in 11 plays to score on a 21-yard pass from quarterback Lamont Littlejohn Jr. to sophomore wide receiver Bryson Brown with 17.4 seconds remaining to defeat the Panthers 21-17 and send the Mountaineers to a second round bout with the  West Charlotte Lions Friday at 7:30 at the Waddell High School Stadium in Charlotte.
And, if the Panthers had any hope of scoring in those final seconds it was squashed on the ensuing kickoff when they fumbled and KM’s Quay Sanders recovered the ball at the KM 31 to seal the deal.
“That was an exciting finish for sure,” said Mountaineer head coach Greg Lloyd. “We made a great stand on defense, and that winning drive has to be one of the most impressive drives we’ve had since I’ve been here. We were backed up and had to convert play after play to have a chance to win. It was just awesome.”
Littlejohn, who finished with 16 of 26 passing for 223 yards and no interceptions, got the winning drive started with completions of 19 yards to Brown and 30 to D’Andre Hoyle for a first down at the Franklin 48. Facing third and 10 after two incompletions, he hit Jake Lloyd for a 14-yarder to the Franklin 34 with 1:01 showing on the clock.
 A four-yard reception by Brown and a first down run for 11 yards out of bounds around right end by Robert Kendrick gave the Mountaineers a first down at the Panther 21 with 36.1 seconds remaining. After two incompletions – one of which was in the end zone - Littlejohn sent Brown down the right sideline and hit him with the game-winning TD. After Jaden Ellis’ PAT, the Mountaineers kicked short toward the KM sideline but the Panthers couldn’t come up with the ball and KM’s Quay Sanders recovered it. With 12.4 seconds on the clock and Franklin out of time outs, Littlejohn took a knee to cap the comeback.
“I thought Littlejohn did a great job of finding his receivers,” Lloyd said. “The offensive line held up very well and the receivers made good catches.”
Throughout the game, the two teams matched yardage about evenly with KM having 209 in the air and 76 on the ground and the Panthers 142 on the ground and 128 in the air, but Franklin had 64 plays to KM’s 45. KM ran the ball just 18 times with Robert Kendrick getting 55 yards on 12 carries and Micah Ward 21 on six totes.
Franklin won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half. Both teams were stopped on their initial drives, but after taking over following a punt at its own 45 the Mountaineers took eight plays to score on a one-yard run by Ward. Ellis’ PAT made it 7-0 at the 5:37 mark of the first quarter.
Along the way, Lloyd caught two passes for 16 yards, Brown one for 20 and Kendrick had three straight carries for 19 yards to set up Ward’s TD run.
With Franklin facing fourth and four at their own 19 with just 2:14 remaining in the half and facing a punting situation, KM called time-out but upon returning to the field the Mountaineers were penalized for having 12 men on the field. That gave the Panthers a first down at the 24. They got highlight reel plays of 19 yards on a run by Kellen Stiles for a first down at the 48, followed three plays later by a backward pass from McGuire to Pollack back to McGuire for a first down at the KM 19. A 15-yard completion to the two was followed by an incompletion and a late flag for interference, giving the visitors the ball at the one yard line. McGuire’s sneak sent the two teams into the halftime break tied at 7.
The teams traded 3-and-outs to open the third quarter. Following KM’s punt the Mountaineers were penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct and Franklin took possession at the KM 47. Seven plays later, the Panthers were on the KM 31 facing fourth and seven. Pollock then  caught a tipped pass for a 14-7 lead with 3:35 on the clock.
After the ensuing kickoff, KM was immediately penalized 10 yards for holding and started from its own 29. Littlejohn hit Brown for a 52-yard catch and run to the Panther 19. Kendrick and Ward worked the ball down to the five and with 0:05 left on the third quarter clock Littlejohn hit Lloyd with a five-yard TD and Ellis booted the PAT to tie the score at 14.
Franklin answered quickly. Helped by a 31-yard reception by Pollock and a holding call on KM, the Panthers worked their way to the 12 before Javier Currie’s nine-yard sack put them at the 21 with a second and 18. After two incomplete passes, Erik Munoz came on to kick a field goal to put the Panthers up 17-14 with just 7:01 remaining.
The Panthers pooch kicked and recovered a fumble at the KM 34. Aided by two penalties – the last of which put them at the KM four with 2:12 left – they called time to decide a play. Instead of going for a field goal – which would have only put them up by six points – they went for what would have been a clinching TD but the Mountaineers stopped McGuire at the three, setting the stage for their big comeback victory.
“Stopping them down there was a great team effort,” Coach Lloyd noted. “The quarterback sort of bobbled the snap and that helped us.”
Lloyd was happy with the play of all of his players, and he pointed out that in the second half the Mountaineers had only two seniors and one junior on defense.  The rest were sophomores.
“CJ Houser, a sophomore, did a good job,” Lloyd said. “He made several tackles and that was his first varsity experience. We had a lot of young guys out there that we threw into the fire and we’re really proud of them. Alex Jackson, on the offensive line, blocked really well and Seth Neal came in and played very well at tight end. A lot of people did very good.”

Scenes from Mountaineers Vs. Franklin

Photos by Gary Smart
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Kushman 65th in State meet – Kings Mountain High’s Thalia Kushman finished 65th with a time of 22:01.57 in Saturday’s NCHSAA 3A cross country meet.

Kushman 65th in State meet

Kings Mountain High’s Thalia Kushman finished 65th with a time of 22:01.57 in Saturday’s NCHSAA 3A cross country meet.
 

FANS, BANDS & STANDS

Photos by Gary Smart
 

Lady Patriot spikers open 
with impressive victories

Kings Mountain Middle School’s volleyball ladies got their season off to a great start last week with 3-0 victories over North Lincoln and Burns.
In their opener on Tuesday, the Lady Patriots defeated a good North Lincoln team at home, 25-19, 25-22, 25-15. Thursday’s game at Burns was a good one, too, with the Lady Patriots sweeping again 25-12, 25-8, 25-4.
In the opener, Camden Pasour led the Lady Patriots with 16 serve receptions, 13 digs, 11 service points, five assists and 20 kills.
Ava Tipton added four serve receptions, 16 digs one assist and 13 service points.
Abigail Hedgepath had two digs, eight service points, three kills and 23 assists.
At Burns, Pasour had another complete game with 13 kills, eight assists, nine serve receptions, eight digs, four aces and 18 serve points.
Megan Harris added four kills, 12 aces and 21 service points.
Hedgepath contributed nine service points, three aces and 16 assists.
“Ava Tipton, Sarah Bouchard and Madi Brooke did their job well controlling the defense and giving our setters controlled passes while Kenzlie Morris and Ruby Osborne were a definite presence on the net both offensively and defensively,” noted Coach Lindsay Ellis. “This win was a great team effort.”
The Lady Patriots were scheduled to play at home Tuesday.
REMAINING 
SCHEDULE
Nov. 16 – East Lincoln; Nov. 18 at Lincolnton; Nov. 22 Burns; Nov. 23 at West Lincoln; Nov. 30 at East Lincoln; Dec. 2 Lincolnton; Dec. 7 at North Lincoln; Dec. 9 Playoffs (TBD); Nov. 14 – Conference championship (TBD).

KM Mountaineers
face West Charlotte
Friday at Waddell  

Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers will travel to Waddell High School in Charlotte Friday to face a very good West Charlotte team in the second round of the NCHSAA 3A state football championship playoffs.
The Lions are a perennial power in Charlotte Mecklenburg and have numerous championships to their credit. They are 7-3 on the season but those losses came to 4A powers Mallard Creek, Hough and Chambers.
The Lions and Mountaineers have one common opponent. West Charlotte reached the second round of the state playoffs by defeating a good Stuart Cramer team 34-10 last week while the Mountaineers were defeating a good Franklin Panther team 21-17. In a Big South game earlier in the year, Kings Mountain defeated Stuart Cramer 41-28.
“West Charlotte is a very dangerous team,” says Kings Mountain head coach Greg Lloyd. “They have a lot of great athletes and they play in a very tough conference. They have tons of speed, good size and will be the most athletic team we’ve faced.
“They operate out of a spread and they pass and run the ball very effectively,” Lloyd noted. “Their quarterback is a dual threat. He has a great arm and legs. They run out of a 3-4 defense, and it is very good.
“They are a well-rounded, good team,” he said. “They’ve played a very tough schedule. Two of their losses were to Hough and Chambers, two of the best teams in the state.”
Without a doubt, the Lions are more experienced than the Mountaineers as most of their starters are seniors. Kings Mountain doesn’t have many seniors but their sophomores and juniors have gained valuable experience this year.
“This is going to be a very tough test,” Lloyd said. “We’re happy to be going  another round. We look forward to a good week of practice to get ready and hopefully keep advancing in the playoffs.”
Lloyd expects his versatile senior Peyton Fisher, who was injured in the first half of last week’s game, to be back along with Zay Smith, who sat out last week with an injury.
“Zay will help us a lot,” Lloyd said. “Having him out last week really hurt us, especially in the second half.
“Robert Kendrick played with a turf toe last week. Hopefully he will be back at full strength.” 
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Paige Bagwell & teammates celebrate

Paige Bagwell’s teammates celebrate with her after she reached 1,500 career assists in last week’s state playoff win over Crest at Parker Gym.
 
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Another Myrical Davis spike for the Lady Mountaineers in last week’s playoff win over Crest at KMHS.

KM spikers lose
to North Iredell

Kings Mountain High’s women’s volleyball team fell to a strong North Iredell team 29-27, 25-11, 25-10 in the quarter-final round of the NCHSAA 3A state playoffs Saturday at North Iredell.
The winners advance to the state 3A semi-finals with a 25-1 overall record while the Lady Mountaineers, who won the Big South Conference with a perfect 14-0 record, ended with a 21-3 overall mark.
Aaliyah Byers completed a great high school career with 16 kills and Paige Bagwell ended her career with eight digs and 24 assists.
Meile Songaila had five kills and 11 digs, Myracle Davis four kills and Caroline Barber 19 digs.
Before losing on Saturday, the Lady Mountaineers eliminated East Lincoln 26-24, 25-16, 25-13 in a second round playoff match Tuesday, and county rival Crest 25-17, 25-12, 25-14 in a third round match Thursday.
Against East Lincoln, Songaila had 13 serve receptions, six digs, three blocks, 16 kills and 13 service points.
Byers had two serve receptions, 10 digs, three blocks, two assists, 20 kills and five service points.
Barber had 14 serve receptions, 15 digs, three assists and three service points.
Bagwell had seven digs, five blocks, 38 assists, two kills and five service points.
Davis added four digs,
six blocks and six kills.
Against the Lady Chargers, Bagwell dished out 31 assists to give her over 1,500 for her four-year career. She also added three blocks, two digs and eight service points.
Byers had 21 kills, two blocks, five serve receptions, two digs and four service points.
Songaila added nine kills, one block, eight serve receptions, 12 digs and four service points.
Barber had 13 digs, six serve receptions and 27 service points.

Tough Franklin team here Friday for first
round game in NCHSAA football playoffs

Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers will host a traditionally strong Franklin team Friday night at 7:30 in the opening round of the NCHSAA 3A state playoffs.
While the Mountaineers’ record on paper is a couple games better, Coach Greg Lloyd warns that Franklin is very dangerous and capable of beating anyone.
“They’re traditionally a very strong program,” he noted. “They run and pass very well. Their quarterback is a very good passer. They have a big running back and linebacker that runs hard. They are well coached and a traditionally strong program.”
Franklin, whose long line of good head coaches included former Duke University head coach Fred Goldsmith, faces tough teams on a weekly basis. Those teams include the likes of Tuscola, Canton Pisgah, Smokey Mountain, West Henderson and TC Roberson, all of whom are traditionally strong and have many championships to their credit.
The Mountaineers will be operating at less than a hundred percent as they have a lot of players injured, including their leading tackler AJ Richardson who is probably out for the rest of the season.
Several other players were injured in last week’s Big South Conference championship game with Crest and will also be out this week. They include Zavion Smith. “He was out for the whole second half and it really hurt us when he went out,” Coach Lloyd noted.
Sel Randolph, who had one of his best games of the season last week, hurt his knee and will probably be out as well. He is on crutches with a swollen knee.
Running back Caleb Holland, who had just returned to the lineup for the Ashbrook game, was hurt again against Crest and will also be out.
“It will be running back by committee this week with (Robert) Kendrick, Micah (Ward) and Jake (Lloyd),” Coach Lloyd noted. “Jake also plays slot so he’ll probably stay out there on offense if Sel can’t play.”
Lloyd will look for Andre Willis to get more playing time, and some younger players should see some action too.
“We’re pretty depleted right now,” Lloyd said. “We have a lot of people going both ways. It’s supposed to be cold Friday so that might be a good thing.
“The key for us will be to stop their #15 (junior tailback/tight end Ty Handley (who comes in with 953 yards rushing and nine
TDs),” Lloyd said. “He is a big kid.”
The KM defense will also have to defend well against a good passing quarterback, Chris McGuire, who has passed for 1,420 yards and 14 touchdowns. His favorite target is wide receiver Keagan Pollock (#1) who has 45 catches for 821 yards and nine TDs.
 “They move the ball in the air and on the ground and finish drives,” Lloyd says.  “We have to get a lot of people to the ball, play hard and have fun. If we do that we have a good shot at advancing.”
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Jake Lloyd (4) runs behind the blocking of Alex Jackson (57) and Robert Kendrick (5) in last week’s game with Crest at

Mountaineers fall to Crest 42-20

Two big defensive plays late in the third quarter and early in the fourth and the running of Mari Adams were the big differences as the Crest Chargers broke open a close game for a 42-20 victory over the Mountaineers in the Big South Conference championship game Friday night at Kings Mountain’s John Gamble Stadium.
Adams was an offensive highlight reel, gaining 264 yards rushing which was by far the top offensive output against the Mountaineer D this season; but during crunch time the big plays came when the Chargers intercepted a KM pass in the end zone and recovered a fumble on a potential KM TD drive early in the fourth quarter.
The Mountaineers, down 21-14, were on the Crest five with a first and goal late in the third period but couldn’t get in. Three plays  later with the Chargers on the 11, Adams got off a 63-yard run before being chased down by D’Andre Hoyle. But, three plays later Adams went four yards into the end zone and all of a sudden Crest had doubled the score to 28-14.
Kings Mountain was able to answer with a 60-yard drive which featured a 27-yard reception by Peyton Fisher and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Littlejohn to Hoyle to get back to within a TD at 28-20.
KM later made it to the Crest 41 but lost the ball on a fumble with 6:50 left in the game. Two plays later, the Chargers’ Carter Green broke a 29-yard touchdown for a 35-20 lead. After the kickoff, the Chargers’ D held the Mountaineers to three and out and they ran the clock from the 4:29 mark to 52.8 seconds to score on six straight carries by Green to account for the final margin.
Kings Mountain had one of its lowest offensive outputs of the season, gaining just 107 yards rushing and 186 passing for a total of 293 yards but opened with a 74-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead on a 16-yard touchdown reception by Bryson Brown and an extra point kick by Jaden Ellis.
Fisher made three key tackles, and Zaylen Ramos and Curtis Simpson had tackles for loss to hold that lead through the end of the first quarter.
An 18-yard run by Robert Kendrick and 12-yard reception by Hoyle got the Mountaineers to the Crest 43 but they lost the ball on downs. Keyed by a 22-yard sneak by Green, the Chargers drove 56 yards in seven plays with Adams covering the final three to tie the score.
A pass interception by Brandon McCall and return to the KM 42 set up a seven-play drive capped by Adams’ 17-yard run to put Crest up 14-7 with 3:44 left in the half.
Despite an eight-yard quarterback sack, the Mountaineers got big pass receptions by Bryson Brown for 14 yards, Zay Smith for 22 and Sel Randloph for 11 to set up a 26-yard TD pass from Littlejohn to Brown for a 14-14 halftime tie.
Crest took the lead for good on the first drive of the second half, moving 80 yards in 13 plays to score on a six yard run by Adams. KM answered with its drive to the Crest five but couldn’t get it in as a run for no gain followed by two incomplete passes led to the Crest INT in the end zone.

KM freshman golfer Watson
plays in Western 3A Regional

Kings Mountain High freshman golfer Kaliyah Watson shot a 106 to tie for 32nd place in last week’s Western Regional tournament at Glen Oaks Golf Club in Maiden.
“Unfortunately, she didn’t qualify for the 3A state championship but she gained some good experience in this tournament,” said KM Coach Kevin Moss. “She was able to see what she needs to do in preparation for the 2022 golf season and make it to the state championship.
“She had a very successful freshman year,” Moss added. “She was a match medalist for one conference match and co-medalist for another. She finished fifth overall individually in the conference, made the All-Conference team and qualified for the 3A Western Regional tournament.
“She loves to practice,” he added, “and has made great strides in her golf game since she started playing in the seventh grade. Most importantly, she is a good student and has a great attitude about everything. She always has a positive outlook.”
Moss and Watson are appreciative to Kings Mountain Country Club for allowing them to practice and have matches there.
“Ken Nantz and his staff always accommodate both our golf programs to make sure we can practice and host matches,” Moss said. “They always find a way for us to host a match even if there is a scheduling conflict. They are really good to the junior players in Kings Mountain.

KMMS golf third in county,
sixth in conference tourney

Kings Mountain Middle’s golf team ended its season last week with a third place finish in the Cleveland County tournament and sixth place finish in the nine-team Tri-County Conference tournament.
The Patriots shot a 195 in the county match. Burns finished first with a 181.
KMMS was led by Jordan Buckner and Cameron Laye with 45s. Joseph Johnson shot 48, Brantley Deaton 57, and Mylin Eckard and Eli Caldwell 58 each.
Medalist was Minyan Ou of Burns with a 39.
Buckner led the Patriots with a 45 in the conference championship tournament at Lincoln Country Club. The team score was 195.
Laye and Johnson both shot 48s. Caldwell had a 54, and Eckard and Lance Miller each shot 61.
Rutherford County Middle School was the team champion with a 173. Individual champion was Brandon Bolinger of East Lincoln Middle with a 34.
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KM’s Zavion Wilson looks for running room against a good Crest defense in last week’s JV season finale at Crest. KM won 20-16. 

JV Mountaineers beat Crest
20-16 in season finale,

sweep Big South and finish with overall 8-1 record

Kings Mountain scored on its first three possessions to take a quick 20-0 lead, but it took a pass interception by Curtis Simpson at the five yard line to clinch a 20-16 victory over Crest in the JV season finale Thursday night at the Chargers’ stadium.
The victory gave Coach Diron Bell’s Mountaineers a final record of 6-0 against Big South Conference teams and 8-1 overall. They were originally scheduled to face the Ashbrook Green Wave Thursday but that game, as well as the Chargers’ scheduled game with Hunter Huss, was cancelled.
The win also gave the JVs a record of 12-1 during the 2021 calendar year. In an abbreviated four-game schedule in the spring the Mountaineers went undefeated with victories over all three Cleveland County schools and South Point. The fall 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID.
On the game’s opening possession, CJ Houser broke a 61-yard run to the Crest 10 yard line to set up a three-yard touchdown run by Thomas Fair. After Max Thompson’s point-after from placement the Mountaineers appeared to be taking command.
After the defense held the Chargers to three and out, it took just four more plays for the Mountaineers to complete a 77-yard drive with Houser scoring on a 37-yard pass from quarterback Kylei Anderson. Again, Thompson split the uprights for a 14-0 lead.
After the ensuing kickoff, Crest fumbled on its first play and KM took possession at the Chargers’ 12 yard line. Zayvion Wilson’s one-yard run gave the Mountaineers their 20-0 lead.
Crest got on the scoreboard for the first time with 2:02 left in the half when a high snap on a KM punt attempt sailed out the back of the end zone for a safety.
Then, things began happening fast for the Crest offense.
Tate Ruff returned the Mountaineers’ kickoff for a touchdown, and then ran a two-point conversion to cut the score to 20-10.
That score stood until halftime, but on the first series of the second half the Chargers romped 63 yards in eight plays to score on a two-yard run. Their two-point conversion pass attempt was intercepted by Zayvion Wilson, and with 6:43 left on the third quarter clock the scoring was over.
But, not the excitement – and the jitters!
Crest was able to march to the KM 30 before Curtis Simpson intercepted a pass. But, again, the Crest D held. The Mountaineers threw Ruff for a two-yard loss to end the third quarter and the Chargers had to punt the ball away with nine minutes left in the game.
The Mountaineers appeared to have the game in hand after a 12-yard run by Anderson gave them a first down at the 48 with just over two minutes left on the clock. But Crest recovered a fumble at the KM 48. Three plays later, KM got a big sack at midfield, but was penalized for a late hit and Crest was on the KM 37 with a first and ten. The Chargers went for the bomb but Simpson made the big interception at the five with 1:24 remaining. With the Chargers out of time outs, the Mountaineers took a knee twice to run out the clock. 
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Kings Mountain’s Thalia Kushman leads the pack in last week’s Big South championship cross country meet at Ashbrook High School in Gastonia.

KM volleyball sweeps BSC title, 
opens playoffs with big victory

Kings Mountain’s Thalia Kushman ran a 22:05 to win the women’s race and also the Big South Conference Cross Country Player of the Year Award in the annual conference meet last week at Gastonia Ashbrook.
Even though the two Kings Mountain teams didn’t win a team title - those went to the South Point women and Stuart Cramer men - they did place eight runners on the All-Conference teams. Joining Kushman on the ladies’ team were Divinity Ervin in fourth place, Brooke Waseman ninth, Nicole Poston 12th and Sindy Ulloa 14th.
Kings Mountain runners on the men’s All-Big South team were Parker Key who finished fourth, Isaiah Watts, ninth, and Kohen Johnson, 15th.
In the women’s race, South Point was followed by Kings Mountain, Stuart Cramer, and Forestview. The Lady Mountaineers had beaten the Lady Red Raiders twice in the regular season, “but they brought out their full team for this run,” KM Coach Rayvis Key noted.
Two South Point runners – Maddie Franks and Rachel Tolbert, ran second and third
and another, Emme Lewandowski, finished fifth behind Kings Mountain’s Divnity Ervin, who ran the course in 23:42.19.
Nicholas Willer of Cramer was the men’s individual winner in 16:20.43. Austin Brotemarkle of Forestview and Zachary Willer of Cramer finished just ahead of Key for the second and third place ribbons.
Isaiah Watts finished eighth to give the Mountaineers two runners in the top 10.
 
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Myracle Davis (7) is strong along the nets for the Lady Mountaineers. Photos by Gary Smart

KM volleyball sweeps BSC title, 
opens playoffs with big victory

Kings Mountain High’s women’s volleyball team polished off an undefeated conference season last week by winning the Big South with a 14-0 record, and then opened play in the NCHSAA 3A tournament on Saturday with an impressive 3-0 victory over North Davidson at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium.
The Lady Mountaineers, 19-2 overall, were scheduled to host East Lincoln last night. A victory would have them hosting the winner of the Central Davidson-Crest game Thursday night. East Lincoln advanced with a 3-0 win over South Point Saturday.
The East and West Regional championships will be played November 2, and the State championship November 6 in Raleigh.
As usual, Kings Mountain got outstanding play from all of their ladies in the opening round 25-5, 25-5, 25-8 win over North Davidson.
Paige Bagwell provided 30 assists, four kills and three service points.
Aaliyah Byers, who recently registered her 1,000th kill over her four- year varsity career, added 17 more to her total while also providing six digs, two blocks and seven service points.
Meile Songaila had her usual strong performance with 10 kills, three serve receptions and two blocks; as did Caroline Barber with 21 service points, three serve receptions and five digs.
In their final regular season game at Crest, the Lady Mountaineers won their 14th straight BSC game over a talented Crest squad, 25-17, 25-23, 25-15. One of the amazing accomplishments of this BSC season was that the Lady Mountaineers did not drop a single set.
Songaila led the way with 14 kills, two assists, three serve receptions, 16 digs, 15 service points and two blocks.
Byers provided 14 kills, four digs, one block and six service points.
Bagwell had five kills, 31 assists, nine digs, three blocks and four service points.
Myracle Davis had five kills, five digs and six blocks.
Barber had five assists, 15 serve receptions, nine digs and six service points.
In JV action, the Lady Mountaineers finished off a 9-2 Big South and 14-3 season with a 25-11, 25-12 victory over Crest.
Sara Kate Bridges had nine service points, 20 assists, three digs and two kills.
Alexa Jones had three service points, nine kills and four digs.
London Brown provided 10 service points, four kills, five serve receptions and three digs.
Addi Peeler had eight service points, eight serve receptions and four digs. 
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Caleb Holland saw his first action since the second game of the season at Asheville and helped lead the Mountaineers to a 51-0 win over Ashbrook Friday in Gastonia.  Photos by Gary Smart 

KM dominates
Ashbrook 51-0 

It took Kings Mountain just four plays – and the first of those was an incomplete pass – to go 55 yards for a touchdown on their first possession and they continued to “roll the Wave” just about all night in a 51-0 Big South victory over Ashbrook Friday night in Gastonia.
The win was the eighth straight for the Mountaineers and puts them in the Big South Conference championship game against the Crest Chargers Friday at 7:30 at KM’s John Gamble Stadium.
After that incompletion, Micah Ward ripped through the Wave twice for 46 yards to set up a nine-yard touchdown run by Zay Smith with only 2:51 gone off the game clock.
On the third play following the KM kickoff, the Mountaineers’ Quay Sanders picked off a pass and returned it 25 yards for a 13-0 lead.
“Our defense played well,” Coach Greg Lloyd said. “They did what they had to do. Ashbrook’s quarterback was out and that hurt them some, but it gave us some momentum coming into the Crest game.”
Although they didn’t seriously threaten to score, the Green Wave rallied somewhat after that and had a couple drives that kept the ball away from the Mountaineers. KM did drive to the Green Wave 17 early in the second quarter but missed a field goal.
After the KM defense  held the Wave to three and out again, Mountaineer fans got a welcomed surprise when running back Caleb Holland, who had not played since suffering an injury in the second game of the year at Asheville, came onto the field. With the Mountaineers starting at their own seven after an Ashbrook punt, Holland ripped through the line for 11 yards and on the very next play quarterback Lamont Littlejohn hit D’Andre Hoyle behind the Ashbrook secondary with an 83-yard catch and run TD. Bryson Brown passed to Curtis Simpson for a two-point conversion and a 21-0 lead.
“It was nice to have Caleb back out there playing,” said Lloyd. “He looked good and quick. All of our backs ran hard and the offensive line continues to improve.”
Taking over with 1:32 remaining in the half, Holland carried three straight times for 28 yards and a first down at the Ashbrook 22 with 48.8 seconds left on the clock. A screen pass to Hoyle got the Mountaineers to the nine, but penalties set them back to the 38. Facing third and goal, Hoyle went deep but was surrounded by two Ashbrook defenders inside the five yard line. The ball actually tipped off both Ashbrook players’ fingers and Hoyle grabbed it for the TD and a 28-0 halftime lead.
A 23-yard reception by Jake Lloyd and several big gains by Holland and Ward had the Mountaineers deep in Ashbrook territory again but they lost a fumble at the 12. Facing third and 17 from their own 10, Ashbrook’s quarterback was scrambling to try to pass and threw the ball out of bounds from his own end zone, resulting in a safety and a 30-0 KM lead.
The Wave had to kick off from the 20, and a Smith return set the Mountaineers up at their own 48. Holland carried twice for 30 yards and Ward twice for 11 for a first and goal at the Ashbrook 12. Three carries by Holland resulted in a touchdown and Jaden Ellis’s PAT ran the score the 37-0.
On the first play following the ensuing kickoff, Peyton Fisher scooped up an Ashbrook fumble and hauled it 65 yards for a touchdown and a 44-0 KM lead at the 5:07 mark of the third quarter, resulting in a running clock.
After another three and out for the Wave, KM took over on its own 38. Jonah Patrick hit Bryson Brown with a 17-yard pass on the final play of the third quarter, and on the third play of the fourth period Patrick hit Fisher with a 19-yarder and a first down at the Wave 24. With 6:20 left in the game, Smith scored on a two-yard run and Ellis booted the PAT for the final 51-0 margin.
Holland finished with 140 yards rushing to lead the KM attack and Ward, who spent most of his time on defense, added 60 yards in just six carries. Overall, the Mountaineers finished with 233 yards rushing and 232 passing.
Hoyle finished with three catches for 133 yards.
 

Mountaineers go after second championship
of 2021
 when Crest charges into
Gamble Stadium Friday night

Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers can do something Friday night that hasn’t been done in 99 years of football at Central and KMHS – winning two conference championships in the same calendar year.
Because of COVID, last fall’s football season was cancelled and moved to late winter and early spring. The Mountaineers went undefeated through the Big South Conference before losing in the second round of the state 3A playoffs.
This game, by far, will be the toughest Kings Mountain has had in the BSC this fall. Like the Mountaineers, the Crest Chargers come to town with a perfect conference record and they haven’t had a close game attaining it.
“They’ve been really impressive this year,” says KM Coach Greg Lloyd. “They’re as good as anybody you’ll see. They have a big running back (Mari Adams). He’s fast and hard to tackle.”
But, he’s just one of many good athletes on the Crest team.
“They use two quarterbacks – one for the ground game and one for passing – and both of them are very dangerous,” Lloyd said.
“And,” he added, “their defense is big, strong and aggressive. I can see why they’re good. Their only losses came early in the season to Shelby and Burns but they have improved tremendously since then.”
Kings Mountain still has some key players on the injured list, including big defensive standout AJ Richardson who sat out last week’s game at Ashbrook and will miss this week’s too after having surgery on his hand.  Lloyd hopes he will be returning soon.
“The key for us this week will be to tackle and get a lot of people to the ball,” Lloyd noted. “We will have to play disciplined football. It would be nice if our offense can stay on the field most of the night.
“And, we need to improve our special teams play,” he added. “This will be our toughest game to date, along with Shelby. We have to play really well on both sides of the ball.”
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KMHS JV Cheerleaders

Kings Mountain’s JV cheerleaders braved the wet weather to cheer the Mountaineers on to victory over South Point during Thursday night at Gamble Stadium.

Photo by Gary Smart
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Kameron Adams carries the mail for Kings Mountain JVs in Thursday’s 7-6 victory over South Point at Gamble Stadium. Photos by Gary Smart

JVs stop Raiders’ two-point try
to remain unbeaten in Big South

Their last two games have been nail-biters, but Kings Mountain High’s JV Mountaineers are still unbeaten in the Big South Conference following Thursday’s 7-6 win over a good South Point team at John Gamble Stadium.
The Mountaineers got by Forestview 6-0 a week earlier on a one-yard sneak by quarterback Kylei Anderson in Gastonia. And they took an early 7-0 lead over South Point Thursday night at John Gamble Stadium but had to stop a two-point conversion try by the Red Raiders for a 7-6 victory.
It was their fifth straight win following an opening-season loss to the Shelby Lions. They travel to Stuart Cramer Thursday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The Mountaineers and Red Raiders stopped each other on their first two possessions before the Mountaineers drove 63 yards in 10 plays to score on a 26-yard run around left end by Kameron Adams. Max Thompson’s extra point for a 7-0 lead would eventually be the winner.
Along the way, Adams carried the ball four times for 46 yards. Thomas Fair and Zayvion Wilson also had big gains along the way.
Each team got off some good drives during the night but couldn’t produce any points because of good defensive stops by the other side.
Curtis Simpson’s pass interception gave KM a good scoring opportunity at the South Point 43. The Mountaineers were able to get the ball to the Raider 26 but an incompletion in the end zone gave possession back to the Raiders.
The Raiders were moving late in the second quarter but big defensive plays by CJ Houser and Eli Lipscomb forced them to punt with 29.5 seconds on the clock.
Lipscomb’s tackle for loss ended the Raiders’ first possession of the third period. A drive kept alive by an 18-yard reception by Ethan Guy and strong running by  Fair, Anderson, Adams and Wilson kept the ball in KM’s possession until just 23 seconds remained in the third quarter.
Backed up to their own six yard line, South Point’s Chance Ford rambled 42 yards to get the Raiders out of the hole, and six plays later he went 23 yards right through the middle of the KM defense for a touchdown with 6:08 left in the game. The Raiders handed to him again for a two-point conversion attempt but he was smothered by a host of Mountaineer defenders and the score remained 7-6.
Even though that eventually meant a KM win, the Mountaineers still had some shaky moments. Four plays later South Point recovered a fumble at the 50 but the KM defense stiffened and held them on downs at the KM 34. Anderson carried twice for 11 yards and a first down, allowing the Mountaineers to take a knee three times to run out the clock.

Volleyball 
closing in
on BS title

Kings Mountain High’s women’s volleyball team won two more games last week and go into the final week of the regular season with an undefeated record in the Big South Conference.
The Lady Mountaineers will host Ashbrook Thursday in their final regular season home match, and then close out BSC action Tuesday at second place Crest.
Kings Mountain is 11-0 in the conference and 14-2 overall heading into the final week of action.
The Lady Mountaineers polished off Forestview and South Point in straight sets last week.
Against the Lady Jaguars, KM won 25-13, 25-7 and 25-18 after the JVs swept their match 25-21, 25-12.
Against South Point, the varsity won 25-11, 25-8, 25-13 after the JVs captured wins of 25-13, 25-7.
Against Forestview, Meile Songaila had four serve receptions, 11 digs, 16 kills and 11 service points. Paige Bagwell added five kills, 25 assists, five digs and three service points, Mary Grace Hogue three kills, six digs and 15 service points, and Caroline Barber 14 service points, 13 serve receptions and eight digs.
In the JV match, Sara Kate Bridges had 11 service points, 21 assists and seven digs; Alexa Jones 13 kills, three service points, five serve receptions and three digs; London Brown five service points, six kills, eight serve receptions and two digs; and Addi Peeler nine service points, nine digs, and two assists.
Against the South Point varsity, Bagwell had two kills, 42 assists, three digs and four service points; Aaliyah Byers 22 kills, 11 digs, four serve receptions and 12 service points; Songaila 10 kills, nine digs, 11 serve receptions and seven service points, and Myracle Davis five kills and two blocks.
For the JVs, Bridges had 13 service points, 24 assists and eight digs; Peeler nine service points, 13 serve receptions and nine digs; Brooke Hamrick seven kills, eight service points and three digs; and Jones 12 kills, five serve receptions and four digs.
The JVs carried a 6-2 conference and 11-3 overall record into this week’s matches.

Good Cramer
team here
Friday for
homecoming

Kings Mountain will be having homecoming Friday night at Gamble Stadium, but the Mountaineers can’t afford to let the festivities take their focus off a very dangerous Stuart Cramer team.
Cramer comes to town with two losses, but they were to very good teams and the Storm will come in with the goal of defeating the Mountaineers to strengthen their seeding for the upcoming state playoffs.
Kings Mountain has to have the same mindset, because wins the next three Fridays could give them the Big South Conference championship and guarantee home games for the playoffs.
“Cramer’s going to be just the opposite of what we’ve been seeing this year,” says Mountaineer Coach Greg Lloyd. “They are a passing team with one of the top quarterbacks (Justin Rocquemore) in the state. He is extremely mobile with a very quick release.
“Their overall offense is very good,” Lloyd added, “and their defense has really improved. South Point just beat them by one touchdown and they were down just one going into the fourth quarter against Crest. No doubt, they will be ready. This will be a dog fight.
“With the addition of another round, I expect both of us to be in the playoffs,” he added. “But we don’t want to go in with losses. Their losses were to two very good teams, and they will come in here with a lot of motivation.”
Rocquemore, a junior, has been starting since his freshman year.
Defensively, Lloyd said the Storm is in a 4-2-5 and do a lot of blitzing.
“We definitely have to be ready for that,” he said. “I remember in 2018 they played us a 21-14 ball game. They are very competitive, they’re big and this is going to be a good ballgame.
“Our guys have to be ready. We have a great opportunity in these final three games. Each game is huge. We want to win these next two games and set up a big conference championship game with Crest.”
 
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Mountaineers’ AJ Richardson (15) is about the lower the boom on South Point quarterback Cam Medlock in Friday’s game in Belmont. Photos by Gary Smart

17-point fourth quarter breaks tie, gives Mountaineers 24-7
win over Red Raiders

For most of three quarters Friday night in Belmont’s Lineberger Stadium, it felt as though old rivals South Point and Kings Mountain may be going to overtime.
A first half touchdown by each team had them tied at 7-all at the break but the Mountaineers used a good ground game, hard-hitting defense and a strong kicking attack to score 17 fourth quarter points and put the Raiders away 24-7.
It was KM’s sixth straight win following an opening season loss to Shelby and kept them tied for first place in the Big South Conference with Crest.
The Mountaineers showed their toughness on the game’s opening drive, moving 80 yards in 16 plays to eat almost eight minutes off the clock and score on a two-yard run of tackle by Robert Kendrick. Jaden Ellis’s extra point made it 7-0. Before the night was over, Kendrick would have 16 carries for 141 yards.
The Raiders answered, going 78 yards on just
three carries by Tyson Riley whose final 56 knotted things up.
The Mountaineers threatened to take the lead midway of the third quarter, driving from their own 38 to the South Point seven behind the running of Kendrick. But, South Point’s Micah Stowe intercepted a pass and returned it to the KM 42 yard line.
“That was our only turnover and it was my fault,” KM Coach Greg Lloyd said. “That was not a good call.”
South Point was able to make it to the KM 23, but a Jake Lloyd interception at the 1:28 mark turned the game in KM’s favor.
With Kendrick and Thomas Feemster taking turns carrying the mail, the Mountaineers stayed on the ground except for the final play of the drive, a 10-yard pass to D’Andre Hoyle. The Mountaineers were flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct after the TD, but Jaden Ellis boomed a 42-yard extra point to put KM up 14-7 with 11:34 left on the clock.
“That was a big extra point,” Lloyd said. “Ellis, our snapper Gabe Short and our holder Bryson Brown all did a great job.”
The Mountaineer defense continued to make big plays. A 15-yard penalty on the Raiders and the first of two interceptions by Peyton Fisher basically put the win in the bag with 6:12 remaining.
Three plays after the pick, Ellis split the uprights with a 43-yard field goal to run the score to 17-7 at the 4:46 mark.
South Point was able to work the ball to the KM 35 and the Mountaineers put the win in the bag on just two plays – Alex Jackson’s sack and Fisher’s 63-yard pick six down the South Point sidelines.
“We came up big in the second half,” Lloyd said. “I thought it was a gusty effort. It was a big win at a tough place to play.
“I thought our defense improved as the game went on, and the offensive line did a great job. We did a good job of taking care of the ball.
“Fisher’s two interceptions were huge. We played really hard.” 
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Kings Mountain Middle School Cheerleaders

Kings Mountain Middle School cheerleaders perform for the home crowd at halftime of last week’s game at John Gamble Stadium.

Photo by Lizzie Ingram
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Aiden Smith

Kings Mountain Middle School quarterback Aiden Smith looks for a receiver in last week’s 12-0 loss to East Lincoln at John Gamble Stadium.

Photo by Gary Smart

 
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Paige Bagwell dished out 49 assists in last week’s game with Ardrey Kell at the KMHS gym. Photo by Gary Smart

KMHS spikers split with Kell

Kings Mountain High’s volleyball teams split with 4A power Ardrey Kell in non-conference action last week at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium.
The JVs won 25-18, 25-17 and the varsity Lady Mountaineers gave Kell a tough battle before falling 3-2.
Kings Mountain got off to a good start, taking the first set 25-18. The visitors tied it with a 25-20 win before KM came back to take a 2-1 edge with a 26-24 win. Kell rallied with a 25-23 win to tie the series and captured the deciding fifth set 15-9.
Meile Songaila gave a strong overall effort with 12 service points, 12 kills, 42 serve receptions, two blocks and 21 digs.
Aaliyah Byers provided four service points, 29 kills, 17 serve receptions, one block and 26 digs.  
Paige Bagwell had 49 assists, nine service points, four kills, a block and 14 digs and Caroline Barber added 26 serve receptions and 26 digs.