Davis hurls three no-hit innings in 24-0 victory

The Hunter Huss Huskies did manage to get three hits in their second meeting with Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers Friday at Huss but they still couldn’t dent the scoreboard as the Mountaineers rolled to a 24-0 Big South 3A Conference victory.
Senior right hander Wyatt Davis pitched three no-hit innings and struck out nine to get the win. Jackson Toney hurled two innings, giving up the three hits and striking out five.
Kings Mountain jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and broke the game wide open with 13 runs in the second frame to go up 18-0. The Mountaineers finished the Huskies off with two in the third and four in the fourth and finished with 19 hits.
Several Mountaineers had a field day at the plate, including:
-Jacob Hamrick, 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double, five runs scored and seven RBI.
-Aidan Taylor, 3-for-3 with five runs scored.
-Brayden Patrick, 2-for-4 with a double and four RBI.
-Zane Brockman, 3-for-3 with three RBI.
-Hunter Ellis, 2-for-4 with three RBI.
-Tucker Cash, 2-for-4 with two RBI.
-Lucas Saldo, 2-for-4 with two RBI.
The Mountaineers also had a field day on the base paths with nine stolen bases. Taylor had four, Mayes two and Cash, Hamrick and Ellis one each.
Kings Mountain will host North Gaston Friday at 7 p.m. It will be Retro Night and will feature 80’s music and 80’s prices at the concession stand. The Mountaineers go to Forestview on April 4 and Shelby April 5 before returning home April 6 to host Forestview in Little League Night. All Little League teams are invited and kids will run the bases after the game.

KMMS tennis defeats Burns

Kings Mountain Middle School’s tennis team defeated Burns 8-2 last week to run its record to 4-1 heading into its final home game yesterday against Crest. The Patriots close out their season with matches at Shelby Wednesday and Thursday.
Seanna Simon defeated Lynnie Britton 8-4.
Dominic Allan defeated Sarah Britton 8-2.
Cindy Tipton lost to Lillian Colson 8-6.
Marquise Thomas lost to Troy Cornwell 8-4.
Camden Morris defeated Lainey Yarbro 8-3.
Landon Webster defeated Payton Beaver 8-5.
Simon/Allen defeated Britton/Britton 8-0.
Tipton/Thomas defeated Colson/Cornwell 8-4.
Morris/Webster defeated Yarbro/Beaver 8-2.
In addition, Amelia Pruitt, Christian Smith, Elijah Propst, Xander Parker and Eli McComas won practice matches.
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CCC Yetis softball team
have winning weekends

​​​​​The Cleveland Community College softball team won both ends of their home doubleheader versus Southeastern Community College. The Yetis won game one 3-0 and game two by a run rule score of 14-6 in the sixth inning.
Brooke Dover would pitch all seven in the game one win. Kaylen Cales was the winning pitcher in game two with Trinity Hatchel hitting a homer for the offense.
“Getting sweeps against conference opponents mean a lot over the course of a season,” said Head Coach Ronald Beaver. “It was cold, rainy and windy all day and the team came through to pick up two big wins.”
The CCC softball team faced another opponent on Saturday, keeping the winning streak going. The Yetis won both games of the home doubleheader versus Brunswick Community College, 11-3 and 7-6. The two wins capped a 4-0 weekend for the Yetis following their doubleheader sweep of Southeastern Community College on Friday.
In game one on Saturday, Brooke Dover pitched a complete game, striking out 10 in a game decided by the run rule in the sixth inning. Andrea Melton and Carmen Pruett had three hits each and Hayle Eubanks drove in three runs. In game two, Kaylen Cales would pitch 6.1 innings as the winning pitcher with Dover collecting the final two outs for the save. Melton, Pruett and Alexis Shope hit doubles and Mallory Haynes had two hits and two RBI’s.
“We had great weather for softball on Saturday and we had a lot of fans on campus to watch the games,” said Coach Beaver. “The team played well and kept their focus to get four Region wins in two days.”
The softball team is back at home on Wednesday as Cleveland has switched home dates with Southwest Virginia due to the rain forecast. The Yetis will host a home doubleheader at Yeti Athletics Park beginning at 1 p.m.
In baseball news, CCC’s baseball team won their weekend series on the road versus Region 10 conference opponent Wake Tech. The Yetis would sweep the doubleheader on Saturday 3-2 and 7-3, with the Eagles bouncing back for a 9-8 win on Sunday.
In game one, Jamisen Eichacker pitched six innings while striking out six for the win. Jeb Shuler and Boone Cartee would both pitch scoreless innings in relief. Ben Hemphill and Luke Banister would double with Banister and Tyler Casciato hitting triples. In game two, Kyle Murphy would pitch four innings and strike out three for the win. Aiden Schenck doubled, and Hemphill would triple for the offense. In game three, Dalton Chapman doubled and Alex Khan tripled and drove in three runs on the day.
The Yetis play at home on Wednesday as they face USC Salkehatchie with a noon start. The team travels to Catawba Valley next weekend for their next Region 10 series.

KMHS track sweeps three
to run season mark to 17-0

Kings Mountain High’s track and field teams ran their 2023 record to 17-0 last week with a victory over Forestview, North Gaston and Stuart Cramer at John Gamble Stadium.
The contest was one of the most competitive of the season with most of the teams performing very well.
In women’s action, the Lady Mountaineers won with 139 points followed by North Gaston 71, Forestview 68, Hunter Huss 55 and Stuart Cramer 13.
The Kings Mountain men piled up 134 points to win by 40 points over second place Hunter Huss with 94. Forestview ran third with 88 followed by Stuart Cramer with 33 and North Gaston with 18.
The Lady Mountaineers had their best time of the year in the 4x800 relay, crossing the finish line in 12:13.41. Team members were Kinley Putnam, Carley Evans, Sindhi Ulloa and Divinity Ervin.
Lexi Jackson was first in the triple jump at 30’1” and first in the pole vault at 6’6”.
Divinity Ervin was first in the 100 meters in 5:57.40 and the 3200 meters in 13:02.40.
Brooke Waseman was first in the 400 meter dash with a personal best time of 1:09.11.
Kallie Hope was first in the 800 meter run with a personal best 3:14.32.
Parker Wilson, McKenzie Taylor, Kenzlie Morris and Kamari Odems finished second in the 4x400 relay.
Kamari Odems was second in the high jump at 4’4” and third in the 100 meter hurdles at 19.25.
Janiya Hunt was second in the long jump at 14’7”, second in the 100 meter dash in 13:30 and second in the 200 meter dash in 27.88.
Kinley Putnam was second in the pole vault at six feet even.
The 4x200 meter relay team finished second in 2:00.14. Team members were Brooke Waseman, Princess Strain, London Brown and NyAdria Beam-Phillips.
The 4x100 relay team tied for second in 53.68. Team members were Brooke Waseman, Alyssa Deal, London Brown and Janiya Hunt.
Kings Mountain’s men got a first place in the 4x800 meter relay. Members were Mar Lovington, Elliot Habel, Nat Inthavong and Isaiah Watts.
Max Thompson took the 1600 meter run in 4:37 and also won the 800 meter run.
Hunter Cruise also was a double winner, taking the pole vault in with a leap of 11 feet even and the 400 meter dash in 53 seconds.
Ja’Qualyn Sanders won the long jump with a jump of 19’7”.
Jake Lloyd won the triple jump with a jump of 38’6”.
Kings Mountain was scheduled to host Shelby, Burns, Crest, Bessemer City and East Rutherford yesterday and is scheduled to go to Stuart Cramer April 6 at 4 p.m. The Mountaineers will host the Cleveland County championship April 20 at 4 p.m.

KM Defeats Ashbrook

Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers rolled to a 22-0, five-inning victory over the Ashbrook Green Wave in a Big South 3A Conference battle last week in Gastonia.
The Mountaineers collected 19 hits with 10 different players getting at least one.  Jacob Hamrick led the way with a perfect 4-for-4 including a home run and five runs batted in. Zane Brockman was 3-for-5 with five RBIs and Cole Irby 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Aidan Taylor was 2-for-3 with an RBI, Colton Mayes 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Tucker Cash, Nic Cole, Jack Toney, Turner Brown, and Lucas Saldo had a hit apiece.
The Mountaineers got the only two runs they needed in the top of the first. They began breaking the game open with four runs in the second and followed with six in the third, seven in the fourth and three in the top of the fifth.
Wyatt Davis worked the first four innings, giving up the only hit. He sent 10 Ashbrook batters back to the dugout via the strikeout route and Colton Mayes came on to pitch the fifth and final inning and struck out the side. The two KM hurlers threw just 77 pitches and did not walk a batter. Thirty seven of Davis’s 61 pitches and nine of Mayes’ 16 were strikes.
Ashbrook used four pitchers with starter Nathan Crawford taking the loss. 
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Kali Weaver hurled a no-hitter in last week’s KMHS softball game with Hunter Huss.

Weaver no-hits
Huss in opener

Kings Mountain High’s women’s softball team opened its Big South Conference season last week with big victories over Gaston County foes Hunter Huss 21-1 and Ashbrook 21-0.
Senior Kali Weaver pitched a no-hitter in the win over Hunter Huss, striking out 12 of the 17 batters she faced. She walked two.
The Lady Mountaineers struck for 13 runs in the first inning and carried a 21-0 lead into the top of the fourth when the Lady Huskies managed to score their only run. The game ended on the 10-run rule after the Lady Huskies batted in the top of the fifth.
Reynolds led the Lady Mountaineers at the plate with 2-for-2 and four runs batted in. Weaver, Desiree Green, Anna Wooten and Paige Fleming also had two hits.
Greene went 3-for-4 with three runs batted in against Ashbrook. Weaver and Reynolds had two hits apiece and Patrick one.
Anna Wooten went 2 2/3 innings on the mound. She gave up two hits and struck out seven.
Kings Mountain is scheduled to go to Forestview Friday for a 6 p.m. game and will return home Tuesday at 6 to host the South Point Lady Red Raiders.

Big start keys
over Ashbrook

Kings Mountain batted around in the first inning to take a 5-0 lead and rolled to a 10-0, five-inning victory over the Ashbrook Green Wave in their Big South 3A Conference opener on a bitterly cold Tuesday night at KM’s Lancaster Field.
Jason Melton walked to lead off the bottom of the first, and after a passed ball moved him to second Caleb Broome doubled to right center to plate Melton and the rout was on. The Mountaineers went on to score four more runs as Zane Brockman walked and Cole Irby followed with a hit.  Brayden Patrick, who hit by a pitch, tallied the fifth run on a wild pitch.
Kings Mountain added three more runs in the second on a hit by Broome and several wild pitches, hit batsmen and walks.
The Mountaineers scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to end the game on the 10-run mercy rule. Wyatt Davis and Melton drew back-to-back walks and Broome was hit by a pitch before Brockman and Irby singled to get both teams out of the cold.
Broome and Irby had two hits and two RBIs apiece to lead the five-hit KM attack. Ashbrook pitchers issued nine bases on balls.
Brockman worked the first three innings to get the win. He gave up just one hit and struck out eight. Brayden Patrick came on to pitch the final two innings. He didn’t give up a hit and struck out five.
Three Ashbrook hurlers combined for nine bases on balls while fanning just two.
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Barry Moore won two medals in last week’s KMHS track meet. Photos by Gary Smart

Mountaineer track teams open season
with sweep of Cleveland, Gaston teams

Despite cold weather, nine area track and field teams had a very competitive meet at Kings Mountain’s John Gamble Stadium last Tuesday.
The host Mountaineers took both the girls and boys events.
The Mountaineers piled up 144 points to beat arch rival Shelby with 120. Crest ran third with 64 points followed by Burns 61, Ashbrook 56, Cherryville 41, Stuart Cramer 29, North Gaston 25 and Bessemer City 14.
The Lady Mountaineers dominated with 140 points to second place Shelby’s 65. Ashbrook and Stuart Cramer came in a close third and fourth with 63 and 62 points, respectively. Cherryville was fifth with 51 followed by Burns 50, North Gaston 47, Crest 35 and Bessemer City 10.
Kings Mountain’s women took first in the distance medley relay with a time of 16:34.10. Team members were Sarah Eagle, Emily Phelps, Kallie Hope and Divinity Ervin.
Individual winners for the Lady Mountaineers were Kamari Odems who cleared 4’8” to win the high jump, Divinity Ervin with a time of 12:56 to win the 3200 meter run, and Kinley Putnam who cleared seven feet to win the pole vault.
For the Mountaineers, Barry Moore, Zavion Smith, Curtis Simpson and Robert Kendrick dominated the 4x200 in 1:35.81.
Hunter Cruise, Max Thompson, Marty Lovingood and Isaiah Watts won the distance medley relay in 12:42.81.
Zavion Smith, Robert Kendrick, Barry Moore and Hunter Cruise took the sprint medley relay in 1:43.85.2.
Max Thompson won the 3200 meter run in 10:28.
Hunter Cruise won the pole vault with a leap of 11 feet even.
Kings Mountain was scheduled to host North Gaston, Stuart Cramer, Freedom, Forestview and Hunter Huss yesterday. The Mountaineers will host Shelby, Burns, Crest, Bessemer City and East Rutherford at 4 p.m. March 28. They will host the Cleveland County championship against Burns, Crest and Shelby on April 20 at 4 p.m.

KM softball beats Chase,
Hunter Huss here Friday

Kings Mountain High’s women’s softball team fought back from an early one-run deficit to defeat Chase 5-2 in a non-conference game Thursday at KMHS.
The Lady Trojans took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Osment.
The Lady Mountaineers got on a hitting streak in the bottom of the third and took a 2-1 lead on a home run by Alayna Patrick and never looked back.
Madeline Huffman got the win on the mound, going seven innings and striking out 10 while scattering eight hits.
Patrick and Austyn Dixon both had multiple hits for the Lady Mountaineers. Desiree Green and Paige Fleming each had RBIs.
The Lady Mountaineers were scheduled to begin Big South 3A Conference play last night at Gastonia Ashbrook. They will host the Hunter Huss Lady Huskies in a conference game Friday at 6 p.m. They go to North Gaston on March 21 and Forestview March 24 before returning home against South Point on March 28. All games begin at 6 p.m.

KMMS track opens season with big win

Kings Mountain Middle School’s track team got its season off to a great start last week with a victory over North Lincoln, East Lincoln and Lincolnton. The Patriots travel to Shelby Wednesday for a 4 p.m. start.
“These kids have worked hard every day to get better,” said Coach Shane Cole. “I’ve challenged them to keep up the winning tradition that KM has. They were ready this week, and even when I had to make a couple of changes in the lineup before we even got off the bus they said ‘let’s go coach.’”
KM took the top three spots in the 3200 meter run with Landon Hogston finishing first in 11:59.22, followed by John Steele second at 11:59.72 and Luke Howell third at 12:01.
David Johnson won the 1600 meter run in 5:33 and Riyad Alkhaimi was fourth in 5:48.
Johnson ran second in the 800-meter in 2:26 and Alkhaimi was fifth in 2:34.
Cameron Zuniga won the shot with a throw of 35’10”. Isaiah Rote was third at 30’11” and Camren Houser fourth at 30’4 1/3 inches.
Zuniga also won the disc with a throw of 102’9”. Elijah Perry was third at 85’.75” and Daeshaw Camp fourth at 80’4”.
Isaiah Branch was second in the long jump at 17 feet even. Silas Tate was fourth at 15’10” and Devin Hopper fifth at 15’8”.
KM took the top two spots in the triple jump with Khareem Coleman finishing first at 31’2” and Camren Houser second at 30’11”.
Christian Jarrett was second in the high jump at 5’3” and Xavier Hutchens finished fourth.
Dakota Smith won the hurdles at 16:01, followed closely by Ezra Ellis at 16.52. Aiden Kendrick was fifth at 17.77.
Qua Ingram won the 100 meter run in 11:64. Xavier Hutchens was fourth at 12:21 and Isaiah Branch fifth at 12:21.
Ingram also won the 200 meter run in 23.68. Nasir Epps was fourth at 25.90 and Xavier Hutchens fifth at 26:14.
Ingram finished second in the 400 meter run in 1:02.12, followed closely by teammate Malachi Powell at 1:02.51.
Kings Mountain swept all three relays. Ezra Ellis, Christian Jarrett, Nasir Epps and Isaiah Branch won the 4x1 in 51:47; Ellis, Jameron Thurman, Dakota Smith and Nasir Epps won the 4x2 in 1:47; and Landon Hogston, Devin Hopper, Silas Tate and Malachi Powell won the 4x4 in 4:25.
Kings Mountain finished with 11 first places out of the 15 events. The Patriots were second in seven events and third in eight.
The Patriots more than doubled the score of second place East Lincoln, 125 to 51. North Lincoln ran third with 39 points and Lincolnton was fourth with 13.
KM’s 4x4 relay team - Hogston, Hopper, Tate and Powell – was selected as the Relay Team of the Week. Qua Ingram with two first place and one second place finish, was named Runner of the Week and Cameron Zuniga, with two first place finishes, was selected Field Athlete of the Week.
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Brayden Patrick’s grand slam was one of the many highlights in Kings Mountain’s 13-0 win over Blacksburg in a non-conference baseball game last week at Lancaster Field.

Patrick’s first inning grand slam
sparks 13-0 win over Blacksburg

Brayden Patrick’s grand slam home run highlighted a nine-run first inning that led to a 13-0, four and one-half inning rout of Blacksburg High’s Wildcats in Kings Mountain High’s Lickety Lew’s Night baseball home opener Wednesday at Lancaster Field.
The Mountaineers had only three hits during the inning with winning pitcher Zane Brockman getting the other two – a single and a double. But the Mountaineers took advantage of seven walks, three wild pitches, a hit batsman and an error while sending 14 batters to the plate.
Brockman gave up just two harmless hits and struck out 11 batters in his four innings on the mound. Aidan Taylor pitched the top of the fifth, fanning one batter and issuing two walks. The Wildcats had runners on first and second with two outs and Levi Barrett at the plate when his ground ball to shortstop hit teammate Davon Garrison on his way to third to end the game.
After Blacksburg’s Kolby Capps beat out an infield grounder to deep short to open the game and was immediately sacrificed to second by Wesley Bright, Brockman got out of the inning by striking out three and four hitters Levi Barrett and Justin Wylie.
The bottom of the first saw KM leadoff hitter Jacob Hamrick fly out to medium centerfield, but Capps walked Caleb Broome and the Mountaineer assault began. Brockman’s single to center and two wild pitches brought Irby in from third for what would be the winning run. Two more walks loaded the sacks and Patrick’s grand slam over the left-centerfield fence moved the score to 5-0. Broome was hit by a pitched ball with the bases loaded to make it 6-0. With the bases still loaded, Brockman doubled to run the margin to 9-0.
The Mountaineers scored the game’s final four runs in the bottom of the third when they sent nine men to the plate. An error, infield hit by Hamrick and a walk to Broome loaded the bases. Brockman was hit by a pitch to bring Ellis home with the 10th run. Irby’s single to left ran the score to 12-0 and consecutive walks to Mayes and Patrick accounted for the final run.
Kings Mountain was scheduled to host Gastonia Ashbrook in their first Big South 3A Conference game for last night’s Hotdog Night. The Mountaineers will go to Ashbrook March 17 and will return home March 21 against the Hunter Huss Huskies for a T-shirt Night. Several T-shirts will be given away.

KMHS track opens
 with sweep

Kings Mountain High’s track teams opened their season last week at Gastonia Ashbrook against some of the top teams in the area, and both the Mountaineers and Lady Mountaineers came away as the winners.
The Lady Mountaineers took a 10-point win over the host Ashbrook ladies, 109-99. Independence finished third with 84 points followed by Shelby 56, North Rowan 54 and Stuart Cramer 47.
The Kings Mountain men finished first with 134 points, 18 better than second place Shelby with 116. Ashbrook ran third with 98 followed by Independence 60, Stuart Cramer 52 and North Rowan 29.
Leading the Lady Mountaineers were Janiya Hunt with a first place finish in the 200 and third place in the 100 and long jump, and Divinity Ervin who was first in the 3200, second in the 1600 and ran a leg on the winning 4x800 relay team.
Alexis Jackson was second in the high jump and triple jump, and Kamari Odems was third in the 300 meter hurdles.
Leading the Mountaineers were Max Thompson with first place finishes in the 800 and 1600, as well as running a leg on the winning 4x800 team
Isaiah Watts finished first in the 3200, second in the 1600 and also ran a leg on the winning 4x800 team.
Malik Littlejohn was second in the 300 hurdles.
Nathan Inthavong was second in the 3200 run.
Barry Moore represented the sprinters with a third place in the 200 meter dash.
“Overall, it was a great team effort getting points from all areas,” noted Coach Rayvis Key.
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Senior right hander Wyatt Davis struck out 13 batters in five innings to get the win in last week’s 2-1 victory over the Cherryville Ironmen in Cherryville.

KM beats Ironmen, Enka

Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers edged a strong Cherryville nine 2-1 in a non-conference baseball game last week in Cherryville.
Wyatt Davis pitched five strong innings, sending 13 Ironmen back to the dugout via the strikeout route.
Colton Mayes and Brayden Patrick hurled an inning each.
The game was tied at 1-all after two innings. KM tallied the winning run in the top of the fifth. Cherryville loaded the bases in the fourth and seventh innings but couldn’t score. The Ironmen collected only two hits but KM pitchers issued nine walks.
In another non-conference game Friday, the Mountaineers traveled to the mountains and defeated Enka 10-2. Jack Toney was the winning pitcher.
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5-time SC state champion coach Strait Herron
named new coach of the KM Mountaineers

Kings Mountain High School last week chose one of the winningest football coaches in South Carolina to keep a championship program led for the past 14 years under Coach Greg Lloyd moving forward. Coach Lloyd announced his resignation several weeks ago after rolling up 134 wins, more than double that of any previous Mountaineer mentor.
Strait Herron, who won five state championships at South Pointe High School in Rock Hill and had successful stints at other schools in the Palmetto State, has agreed to be Lloyd’s successor and spent Thursday and Friday at KMHS meeting with players, coaches and others in the community. He said he looks forward to joining the staff and continuing the success built by Lloyd and his staff.
“Coach Lloyd has a great program, so I’m coming into what is already a good coaching situation,” he said. “It’s in great shape. The challenge for me is to keep continuing what he started in the right direction.”
Herron was named head coach last Thursday and met coaches and players.
“I am really excited to be here,” he said. “I will be commuting for the time being but I hope on April 3 to be here teaching full-time.”
He said he will continue to live in Rock Hill, SC, because he has an autistic son. “I’m only about 30 minutes away, and it’s difficult to change his patterns right now. As things improve maybe we can see what we need to do but for right now I want to continue to make things stable for him.”
He may have at least one coaching hire before the ’23 season as defensive coordinator Darrel Wilson has announced his resignation. Wilson will continue to teach at KMHS.
“I plan to come in and talk to every coach and hope they will be staying,” Herron said. “I want to have a highly-qualified offensive and defensive coordinator. I hope to fall right into Coach Lloyd’s position. I took in two classes today (last Thursday). I’m glad to have Coach Lloyd showing me the ropes.”
Herron grew up in Rock Hill where he attended Northwestern High School. He has coached at several schools, most notably Rock Hill’s South Pointe High where his teams won state championships in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The ‘17 team was ranked #7 in the nation. Prior to becoming a head coach he served as South Pointe’s defensive coordinator during its state championship in 2008 and also had assistant coaching stops at Northwestern, Clover, Strom Thurmond and A.C. Flora.
As a head coach, he was the fastest football coach in South Carolina history to reach 100 wins (100-12). He served as head coach in numerous all-star games, including the 2019 U.S. Army All-American Bowl where his East team beat the West 48-14. In 2018 he was the All-American Bowl National Coach of the Year and was the East team’s defensive coordinator. In 2017 he was invited to the Nike Elite High School Football Coaches Seminar and was the South Carolina High School League Regional Coach of the Year in 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2017. In 2015 he was the Carolina Panthers High School Coach of the Week.
He has spoken at the USA Football Conference, Nike COY Clinic. Glazier Football Clinic, Clemson Coaches Clinic, USC Football Coaches Clinic, Virginia Tech Coaches Clinic and the National Defensive Football Clinic.
“We’ll make no promises as far as wins and championships,” he said of his time here, “but we’re going to have guys coaching hard every day to be the best we can be. What you do has to be sound but you have to win championships off the field.
“One of the things we’ll be looking for will be leadership and to hold each other accountable,” he said. “I had a meeting with the team (Thursday) and I felt like I had a great response. That night I had 10 texts from seniors saying they will give me their all. That’s what I want. I look forward to leading them.
“I am already excited about the future. Friday morning several of them sent me their Huddle account. As soon as I get home I’m going to start watching every game from last year. Great players make great coaches.
“The Kings Mountain facilities are great,” he noted. “I loved it the first time I walked through the door of the field house. I didn’t know what to expect. I had to take my phone out and send pictures to my wife. We have a perfect weight room. It’s the real deal. I love the stadium and the turf is fabulous.”
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Darrel Wilson resigns football
duties at Kings Mountain High

Kings Mountain native Darrell Wilson has resigned his position as defensive coordinator of the Kings Mountain High football team but will continue his teaching and basketball duties at the school.
Wilson joined head coach Greg Lloyd’s staff eight years ago after coaching stints at Hunter Huss, Bessemer City and Forestview. During that time he mentored several defensive standouts that went on to play at the collegiate level including such stars as Jake Merchant, Day Day Wilson, Javari Wilson, Jerdon Pressley, Nathan Lease, Derek Wilson, James Ussery, Chance Cannon, Jeremiah Brown, Xavier Brown, Kobe Paysour, Ty Ledbetter, Marquiz Fewell and others. Many of his defensive standouts from the recently completed 2022 season such as All-State defensive lineman AJ Richardson will begin their college football experience in the fall.
Wilson lived on Hilltop and Cansler Street as a youngster. As an eighth grader he lived with KMHS assistant Coach Rick Fortner. Prior to his freshman year of high school he moved to Gastonia to live with his mother and became a football star for the Hunter Huss Huskies under head coach and former KMHS athlete David Bolin. He started four years at Appalachian State under the legendary head coach Jerry Moore and George Edwards, his linebacker coach, who is now coaching with Tampa Bay in the NFL.
“I really liked coaching,” Wilson said. “I loved working with the kids, getting to know them and forming relationships. We set a lot of defensive records during my time here, such as shutouts and having several players named Conference Player of the Year. Several times we got on a roll. It seems like we’d have four to five shutouts a year and had a lot of streaks where we gave up zero points.”
Wilson gave credit to players like the ones listed above, but also to other defensive coaches like Jeff Williams, James Brown, Matt Bridges, Tom Lease, Demise Williams and others.
“Tom Lease played at Ohio State and Demise Williams at Oklahoma State,” he noted. “We always had good defensive staffs.
“We had some good defensive teams,” he added. “We beat some #1 seeds in state playoff games. I remember beating an undefeated number one team at Freedom that had the number one ranked running back (BJ Emmons) in the nation that went on to play at Alabama. We held him to 15 yards. And, another time we beat an undefeated Northwest Cabarrus team.
“We always had good game plans and beat some very good teams over the years. But, the thing I will miss most will be the players.”
Wilson said he also enjoyed serving as an assistant coach in girls basketball, and he will probably continue that. Some of his most enjoyable seasons were when his daughter, Saniya, was playing for the Lady Mountaineers. She is now at Catawba College but missed her entire freshman season because of knee surgery.
“She was red-shirted and still has four years of eligibility, but she will be a junior after this semester so I don’t know if she will get in four years of basketball,” he noted
Wilson said he is probably not finished as a football coach.
“While I was on the staff we always had a good offense and defense,” he said. “I hope the new coach will be successful. I will take a year off but hope to be back in coaching someday. It’s nice to win championships but what’s more important is developing young men and helping them get to the next level and be productive citizens.”
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Madeline Huffman

KM basketball players all BSC

Kings Mountain High placed four players on All-Big South Conference basketball teams.
Freshmen Bradley Floyd was selected to the first team and freshman Tucker Robinette and junior Zavion Smith were on the second team. Senior CoRey Simpson was a first team selection on the women’s team.
Joining Floyd on the first team were Player of the Year Justin Ross of Hunter Huss, Amareion Goodlett of Crest, Stepfon Simmons of North Gaston, Isaac Byers of North Gaston and Greyson Kiner of South Point. Coach of the Year was Kody Kubbs of South Point.
Joining Robinette and Smith on the second team were Nate Aguilar and Brandon Alfonse of Forestview, Dylan Bradley of South Point, Tylik Briscoe of Crest, Jashawn Clark of Ashbrook, Z-Man Gladden of Hunter Huss, Sean Gore of South Point, Kenneth Greene of Ashbrook, Jacob Joyner of Cramer, Justin Rocquemore of Cramer and Jaquis Rumph of South Point.
Player of the Year for the women’s team was Madison Cole of Ashbrook. Coach of the Year as Bobby Lipscomb of Huss.
Joining Simpson on the women’s second team were Nykira Arrington of Ashbrook, Maddie Frank of South Point, Savanni Harris of Huss, Kari Lee of Crest, Anyssiah Love of Huss, Amani Neely of Forestview, Sydnee Walls of North Gaston and Hadley Womack of Cramer.

Baseball drops opener,
hosts Blacksburg today

Kings Mountain High’s baseball team dropped its season opener last week to the East Rutherford Cavaliers, 11-3.
East Rutherford hit three home runs and got off to an early lead. Mountaineer coach Brad Melton used young pitchers to get them varsity experience.
Zane Brockman had a big day at the plate for the Mountaineers, going 3-for-3 including a home run, double, single and walk.
The Mountaineers’ game that was set for last Friday at Enka was postponed and rescheduled for Friday of this week at 5 p.m. It will be varsity only.
The Mountaineers were scheduled to go to Cherryville last night and will play their first home game today at 6 p.m. against the Blacksburg Wildcats.  It will be Lickety Lew’s Night and will feature free giveaways.
The Mountaineers open Big South 3A Conference play Tuesday, March 14 at home against Ashbrook and will travel to Ashbrook on March 17.
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Veteran KMHS softball coach Kevin Cruise expects to make a good run in the Big South 3A Conference this season. The Lady Mountaineers will host their annual scrimmage at the YMCA Saturday.

Lady Mountaineers’ softball
looking forward to good year

Kings Mountain High’s women’s softball team will warm up for its 2023 season Saturday with its annual scrimmage at the YMCA.
Eight teams will be involved in the event, beginning at 9 a.m.
Coach Kevin Cruise said the Lady Mountaineers will open their regular season on Wednesday, March 1 against the Burns Lady Bulldogs.
Cruise said the team has already won scrimmage games against Draughn, North Buncombe and Hibriten and did not give up a single run.
With several veterans returning, the Lady Mountaineers could make a strong run in the Big South 3A Conference.
Two of their leading players, Austyn Dixon and Alayna Patrick, have already made commitments to attend and play college ball at USC-Aiken and Gaston College, respectively. Dixon was last year’s Big South Player of the Year. Their ace pitcher Kali Weaver also returns.
The Big South Conference is always one of the toughest around and Coach Cruise feels like the Lady Mountaineers will be right in the thick of the battle for first place. Most of his players have varsity starting experience and he also has some promising freshmen in Madeline Huffman and Ava Tipton.
“We’re very young,” he noted. “There’s a good chance we could start four to five freshmen. All of them are very talented. This freshman class may be one of the most talented since the Morgan Childers group (that won championships). We look for this group to be very good.
“Practice has been going very well,” he added. “We’ve been able to dodge the rain. We were outside every day last week. Every player is working hard. The season is coming on us pretty quickly and we have so much to get in. They’ve all done good and competing every day. We’ve got a really good group. The defense looks solid and our pitching will lead us. We have three quality pitchers and any one of them can be dominant. The defense is leaps and bounds better than last year and we have good depth.”
Coach Cruise has three good assistants in Jeff Cloninger, Cassie King and Shon Macopson.
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Coach Brad Melton is hoping his Mountaineers can repeat as Big South 3A Conference champions.

KMHS baseball hopes to make
another BSC championship run

Kings Mountain High’s baseball team has several returning starters from last year’s Big South Conference championship team and they hope to add another trophy to their collection.
Veteran Coach Brad Melton put the Mountaineers through a couple of scrimmage games Saturday at Lancaster Field and they will begin their regular season February 27 at East Rutherford. Their first three games will be on the road as they go to Enka on March 3 and Cherryville on March 7.
The Mountaineers will host Blacksburg in their first home game on March 8 and will entertain the Ashbrook Green Wave in their first Big South game on March 14.   Melton played all of his players in the two scrimmage games against Chase Saturday at Lancaster Field and saw a lot of promise. All of the returning starters and newcomers played well.
The Mountaineers return seven seniors, including last year’s Big South Conference Player of the Year Zane Brockman who was undefeated (8-0) on the mound and had his usual hot bat hitting well over the .300 clip.
Centerfielder Jacob Hamrick, a two-time All-Conference standout, also returns. Wyatt Davis, who also had a great year on the mound and led the team in innings pitched and strikeouts, also has looked good in early drills.
Catcher Cole Irby, left fielder Lucas Saldo and first baseman-DH Hunter Ellis also were heavy hitters and plan to continue their success this spring. Colton Mayse, Brayden Patrick and Ty Toney also return.
“Pitching should be our strength,” Melton says. “We hope to be better overall. I feel really positive about the offense. We only lost three seniors. We’ll miss them but we have a good senior class.”
The Mountaineers finished 12-2 in the conference and 18-6 overall last year. Their BSC championship was Kings Mountain’s first since 2009.
“We should be competitive in the Big South,” Melton said. “We should have as good a shot as anybody.”
Melton predicted North Gaston, which has two good pitchers, and Crest to be solid contenders. Stuart Cramer will also be dangerous as the Storm has a pitcher that throws the ball 96 mph.
“South Point’s always good but they lost a lot of players,” he said.” I think we’ll see the same teams at the top of the conference. We’re just glad that we’re going to be one of them.”
Melton begins his fifth year as head coach of the Mountaineers and they’ve been first, second or third every year. They went 4-1 in the shortened COVID year when they would have been one of the favorites to win the conference.
Melton will again be assisted by John Gamble and Wil Sellers.
“We need to get a lot of work in,” he said. “This week’s supposed to be nice and we can get outside and get a lot done. We hope the good weather continues.”
Melton said the Mountaineers will have some promotional nights this season that the fans will enjoy. They will honor the 1989 and 1993 state championship teams and have some other promotions for the fans to enjoy.
The first game’s promotional night will be Lickety Lew’s Night which will feature free giveaways. Other special nights include Hotdog Night ($1 hot dogs) on March 14, T-shirt Night (free T-shirt giveaways) on March 21, Retro Night (80’s music) on March 31, Little League Night (teams invited and kids run bases after the game) on April 6, Earth Day Night (free giveaways from the city) on April 18, Senior Night (honoring all senior players)  on April 28, Champion Night featuring a shortened game pitting the 1989 and 1983 state championship teams against each other) on April 28 and Thirsty Night (half price drinks at the concession stand) on May 5.
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Coach Darrel Wilson presents defensive MVP award to Curtis Simpson. Photos by Gary Smart

The stars come out for
KMHS football banquet

See more photos in the February 22, 2023 issue of KM Herald

Kings Mountain High School honored one of its best football teams ever Thursday night with a meal and awards night at First Baptist Church.
The 2022 Mountaineers won the Big South 3A Conference and 13 games overall before falling to the state 3A champion East Lincoln Mustangs in the fourth round of the NCHSAA playoffs.
At the close of the meeting, Greg Lloyd’s family announced a new Kenny Lloyd Team Before Self award that will be given annually in memory of Greg’s father Kenny Lloyd. It was presented to Catherine Hicks, wife of former head coach Denny Hicks and one of the Mountaineers’ biggest fans since she moved to Kings Mountain in the early 1980s.
Trophy presentations started with the defense and defensive coordinator Darrel Wilson praised his group which allowed just 14 points per game to claim their fourth conference championship in 16 years.
Wilson said it was considered a rebuilding year but “we just kept pushing each other and the team played for each other.”
Wilson pointed out that the KM defense allowed just 14.6 points per game. “The team made me a better coach,” he said.
Athletic director Matt Bridges presented the best defensive back awards to Jake Lloyd and Bryson Brown.
“We had a special group, top to bottom,” Bridges said.
Brown led the team with six pass interceptions and also had 29 solo tackles. Just a junior, he was a second year starter and All-Conference.
Lloyd was a three-year starter and was All-Conference as well. He registered 69 solo tackles while playing multiple positions and did that shortly after undergoing some medical problems that had him hospitalized in serious condition during the summer.
Head coach Greg Lloyd presented the Jeff Putnam Linebacker Award to Jason Melton. Putnam was an assistant coach for the Mountaineers for several years before his death.
“I never met a more proud Mountaineer than Jeff,” noted Coach Lloyd. “We miss him.”
Melton “was an outstanding linebacker who worked very hard,” Coach Lloyd noted. He had 80 solo tackles and a season average of 6.3 tackles per game. He also recorded five quarterback sacks.
Coach Wilson presented the most improved defensive player award to Antonio Armstrong who registered 64 tackles (4.6 per game) and a very impressive 25 tackles for loss.
“We had a lot of great players on defense,” Coach Wilson noted. “Defense for us starts up front. He transferred in and had to learn the KM way. He’s one of the fastest players coming off the line.”
Wilson presented the Defensive Lineman Award to Jamel Kennedy. “He hustles 100 percent on every play,” Wilson noted. “He plays faster than he runs the forty.”
Wilson presented the Defensive Coach’s Award to versatile junior Zay Smith, who plays many positions on offense, defense and special teams.
“He plays with a lot of passion,” Wilson noted. “He is a flexible player.”
The Defensive MVP Award went to Curtis Simpson, a junior who is being courted by numerous major college teams.
“He will make a name for himself in college,” Wilson said. “He works hard. He got hurt late in the season but led the state in sacks. We’re glad he will be coming back next season.”
Assistant coach Michael Harris presented the special teams award to kicker Jaden Ellis, a third year starter who in ‘22 hit 58 of 62 PAT attempts, three of six field goals and had 23 touchbacks. Over his career he scored 156 points and hit 90 percent of his PATs. He also recorded 50 touchbacks.
Harris also noted that AJ Richardson recorded five blocked kicks and team had 12 overall.
The offensive back awards went to leading rusher Teddy Jeffries, who finished with 1144 yards rushing and 19 TDs and Caleb Holland, a versatile player that also gained close to 1,000 yards.
“We had a very talented group,” noted Coach Bell. “Jeffries can score from anywhere on the field. Holland is small but he’s tough. He ran hard and was a great leader. Give him that ball and he’s going to score.”
Coach Mark Latham presented the wide receiver award to Ja’Qualyn Sanders who caught 45 passes for 762 yards and five TDs.
“We had a great group,” he said. “Sanders plays wide receiver like a linebacker. He breaks tackles. He has an unlimited amount of potential.”
Coach Cruise presented the Fred Plonk Blocking Trophy – the oldest trophy given at KMHS dating back to the early 1950s – to Michael Lubas line comes off the field, we talk and all they wanted to do was run the ball,” noted Coach Cruise. “He’s one of the smartest guys out there and one of the finest young men.”
The most improved player on offense was lineman Alex Jackson, who also drew high compliments from Coach Cruise.
“He is a lot of fun to coach,” Cruise said. “Tenacious is a good word for all of my guys. All of them want to be in the forefront of winning football games.”
Cruise presented the offensive most valuable player award to Isaiah Eskridge, who must love pancakes because Cruise said he had “pancake after pancake” on the football field.
“Our offense wins as the offensive line goes,” Cruise said. “He always plays hard and had more pancakes than anyone I’ve ever seen.”
Coach Lloyd presented the Brent Bagwell Offensive Coaches Award to quarterback Lamont Littlejohn. Bagwell was an all-conference lineman at KMHS and NC State and served the Mountaineers for several years before his death as an assistant coach.
“He was gone too soon,” Coach Lloyd said. “He was very instrumental in the progress of our program. He is missed daily and will never be forgotten.”
Lloyd noted that Littlejohn was an All-Conference quarterback and during his time as a starter led the team to a 23-4 overall record.
“He stays calm all the time,” Lloyd said, “and he was calming influence on our team.”
As a junior and senior, Lloyd pointed out that Littlejohn led the Mountaineers on some late-game winning drives in the state playoffs, moving the team 99 yards in the final minute to defeat Franklin his junior year and completing some big passes in the final minute to set up the winning TD against West Charlotte last season.
Littlejohn finished his senior year hitting 155 of 240 passes for 2,488 yards and 21 touchdowns.
The Donnie Mace Tough Man of the Year trophy went to senior Jake Lloyd, who was in very critical condition with COVID and pneumonia during the summer of 2022. He spent 11 days in the hospital.
“Football was the furthest thing on our minds,” Coach Lloyd noted. “Through good doctors and the prayers of a lot of people he pulled through. Then he fractured his finger on the first day of seven on sevens but was able to come back and play his senior year.”
The awards presentation ended with Coach Lloyd presenting the most valuable player trophy to the very versatile senior AJ Richardson, who was not just a nightmare for opponents on defense but was an unstoppable running back on short yardage plays in the shadow of the end zone.
“We had a lot of special players,” Lloyd said, “but AJ was really special and is going to do great things in college.”
Richardson was the team’s only four-year starter. His senior year he registered 92 tackles and 32 tackles for loss. He also blocked multiple kicks. During Richardson’s time on the field, the Mountaineers went 43-3 in the Big South Conference and 43-8 overall.
Other awards:
Seniors that came up through the KM Optimist program – Caleb Holland, Jake Lloyd and Dalton Smith – received awards from Lavon Clark.
All Big South 3A awards – Bryson Brown, Michael Lubas, Lamont Littlejohn, Zay Smith, Jake Lloyd, Antonio Armstrong, Teddy Jeffries, Curtis Simpson, Isaiah Eskridge, AJ Richardson.
BSC Defensive Player of the Year, All-Conference and All-State – Curtis Simpson.
All-State and BSC Lineman of the Year – Isaiah Eskridge.
All-State and BSC Defensive Player of the Year – AJ Richardson.
Seniors – Caleb Holland, Jake Lloyd, Lamont Littlejohn, AJ Richardson, Jaden Ellis, Dariyon Black, Michael Lubas, Dalton Smith, Isaiah Eskridge.

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KM’s Bryson Brown splits the Crest defense for a basket in Friday’s final regular season game at Parker Gym. See more photos on page 2B

Mountaineers fall to Crest 58-50,
await 3A playoff seeding Saturday

Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers were in first place in the Big South Conference heading into their final three regular season games but losses to South Point’s Red Raiders and the Crest Charger pushed them down into a three-way tie for second heading into the post-season.
The final blow to their conference championship hopes came Friday night at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium when the Chargers beat them 58-50 to move into the second place tie with the Mountaineers and Hunter Huss with 10-4 league records. South Point, which won its final eight conference games, claimed the championship with an 11-3 mark.
The Chargers looked very much like a team that’s ready to make a big run in the state playoffs. After a close game for a half in which KM led 13-10 after one quarter and 24-23 at the break, the visitors took command in the second half.
Crest went on top 25-24 in the first minute; of the third period and was up 29-24 after two minutes of play. KM was able to get within 31-27 after a free throw by Tucker Robinette with 4:48 left and within two, 33-31, following an old-fashioned three-point play by Curtis Simpson with 2:37 left. A pair of free throws by Bradley Floyd with 45.8 seconds and a Floyd bucket with 26 seconds left got the Mountaineers to within 38-37.
A pair of free throws at the 5:34 mark of the final period tied the game at 44-all but Crest went on a 10-2 run to go up 54-46 with three minutes remaining. Two Robinette free throws cut the difference to 55-50 with 1:55 remaining but Crest was playing the clock and forced the Mountaineers to begin fouling with 45 seconds remaining. They went 3-for-3 at the line and got a steal and lay-in just before the final buzzer to account for the final margin.
Simpson led the Mountaineers with 16 points, most of them coming with excellent moves inside. Bradley Floyd added 12 and Robinette 11. Bryson Brown scored four, Ja’Qualyn Sanders four and Zay Smith three.
Kings Mountain’s women kept their game close in the first half before Crest turned it on in the second half for a 49-32 win. For Crest, the win meant a tie for third place with Ashbrook in the BSC while KM finished sixth out of eight teams with a 4-10 conference and 10-14 overall record.
The Lady Mountaineers went into halftime down by just 21-17 and were within a half dozen points, 32-26. The  KM ladies cut the margin to 31-26 after a couple of buckets by Tyasa Bell with 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Crest led 32-26 going into the fourth and went on a 7-0 run over the first 3 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter to go up 39-26 and put the win in the bag.
Senior CoRey Simpson turned in one of her best performances of the season, battling tough inside on offense and defense. She led the KM scoring with 15 points but everyone else finished in single digits. Bell scored seven points and also did a good job rebounding. Alayna Patrick scored seven points and Khalia King and Austyn Dixon two apiece.
The Lady Chargers finished the regular season with a 10-4 Big South record and a share of third with Ashbrook. Kings Mountain finished 4-10 in the conference and sixth place.
The Mountaineers are competing in the annual BSC post-season tournament and will learn their state playoff opponent Saturday.
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Hunter Cruise competes in the 4x800 relay in last week’s NCHSAA indoor track and field meet. 

Five Mountaineers compete
in NCHSAA Indoor Track Meet

Five members of the Kings Mountain track team participated in the 3A State Indoor Track and Field Meet last week.
Sophomore Max Thompson was the Mountaineers’ highest finisher. He finished ninth in the 1000 meters in 2:42.22.
Hunter Cruise finished 15th in the pole vault with a vault of 11 feet even.
Senior Nicolas Horn was 21st in the pole vault at 9’6”.
The 4x800 relay team finished 12th. Team members were Hunter Cruise, Marty Lovingood, Elliot Habel and Max Thompson.
The outdoor track and field team will begin practice on February 20.
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Mountaineers take over first place
with 67-60 victory over Forestview

Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers took over sole possession of first place in the Big South 3A Conference last Tuesday night with a 67-60 victory over Forestview at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium.
The win improved KM’s record to 9-2 in the conference and 12-8 overall. The previous co-leader, Crest, fell to South Point 79-64, which improved its BSC record to 8-3 to gain a tie for second with the Chargers.
The KM men led most of the game and had double-digit leads on several occasions before the Jaguars made a run the fourth quarter. The visitors cut the margin to 63-60 with 45 seconds remaining but had to foul in an effort to win. Curtis Simpson and Zay Smith each hit a pair of free throws to account for the final score.
Bradley Floyd finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks to lead the KM attack. Tucker Robinette added 17 points and Curtis Simpson eight points and seven rebounds. Smith scored all seven of his points (going 7 for 7) at the foul line and also dished out five assists.
The lead changed hands several times in the first period but Robinette’s bucket at the buzzer put the Mountaineers on top 19-16 at the end of the quarter. Tied 20-all at the 5:55 mark of the second period  the Mountaineers went on an 8-0 run to go up 28-20 on a running layup by Ja’Qualyn Sanders. Sanders’ bucket with just over two minutes left in the half stretched the lead to 32-22. The Jaguars rallied again and trimmed the difference to 32-26 but KM got a big bucket by Floyd and two free throws by Smith to go up 36-26 before Forestview trimmed the halftime margin to 36-28.
Robinette scored two buckets in the first minute of the third period to give KM its biggest lead of the night, 41-27. KM was still up by 12, 47-35, following a pair free throws by Sanders with just over three minutes remaining in the period but Forestview rallied again to cut the margin to 48-41 going into the final chapter.
Forestview was able to get to within 60-54 with just over two minutes remaining and the Jaguars were down by just three points (63-60) with 44 seconds left but were forced into a fouling situation and Simpson and Smith made sure the Jags wouldn’t get any closer.
The Lady Mountaineers made it a clean sweep in the opener with a 65-36 victory. They got off to a quick 19-6 start and led by 37-10 at halftime and 51-19 heading into the fourth quarter. Reserves played much of the second half.
Four KM ladies scored in double figures. Corey Simpson led the way with 19 points. Khalia King scored 16 and Alayna Patrick and Tyasya Bell 10 each. Allysia Pettis added five, Mia Bridges two and Austyn Dixon, Farri Martin and Aaliya Miller one each.
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GWU Hoopscoming and Legacy and Legends Basketball Events Featured on Feb. 11 and 18

Programs Include
Recognition of 1963
Men’s Conference Winners
and Title IX Celebration

The Gardner-Webb University Office of Alumni Relations has planned a full week for HOOPSCOMING in February. Alumni, former athletes, and friends are invited to return to campus for two special events on Feb. 11 and 18.
“We are eager to have our alumni and friends back in Paul Porter Arena for Hoopscoming 2023,” asserted Director of Alumni Relations Leah Clevenger. “For our athletes, there is nothing better than having a packed house! The school spirit and energy that our alumni and friends bring, particularly our basketball and cheer alumni, make for an exciting atmosphere for our Runnin’ Bulldogs. We want to see everyone in their red, black, and bulldog for Hoopscoming on Feb. 11 as well as Legacy & Legends on Feb. 18.”
The program on Feb. 11 begins with lunch at noon in Bost Gym. A special feature is the recognition of the men’s team of 1963 on the 60th anniversary of their conference win. During lunch, team member and GWU Trustee, Tom Watson, will speak about the excitement of that big win for Gardner-Webb. Guests will also hear from coaches, Women’s Basketball Alumna, Linda Cody Shelton ’78, as well as Cheer Alumna, Molly McKinney Huss ’12. Then, everyone will attend the men’s game vs. Campbell at 2 p.m. that includes recognition of groups at various timeouts. All men’s basketball alumni will be recognized during one timeout, and the team of ’63 will have a distinct recognition at another. The cost for lunch and the game is $20. Register here.
On Feb. 18, the program is “Legacy & Legends: Women’s Basketball Celebrates Title IX.” The event starts at 2 p.m. in Stewart Hall. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served, and Women’s Head Coach Alex Simmons will speak along with Lauren Bevis, recently named Big South Conference women’s basketball Co-Player of the Week and the program’s all-time leader in career three-pointers made in the Division I era.
Alumni and friends will also have an opportunity to meet all the women’s basketball team members and coaching staff. A behind the scenes tour of the team and facilities will be offered. The game against UNC-Asheville starts at 4 p.m. in Paul Porter Arena. Women’s basketball alumni will have the honor of “building a human tunnel” for the starting five and special seating behind the bench as guests of Simmons. They will be recognized at halftime and receive a Title IX celebration T-shirt. The cost for the program and the game is $20. Register here.
Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email disabilityservices@gardner-webb.edu with your request.
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Isaiah Eskridge signs with Norfolk State University

Kings Mountain High School football player Isaiah Eskridge signs to attend and play football at Norfolk State University. He is pictured in the front row with his father Sam Eskridge and mother Laquantis Eskridge. Back row, left to right, are KMHS principal Dustin Morehead, coaches Greg Lloyd and Kevin Cruise, and athletic director Matt Bridges.

Photo by Gary Smart
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Dalton Smith signs with
Brevard College

Kings Mountain High senior Dalton Smith signed last week to continue his football career at Brevard College. He is pictured in the front row with his mother Ashley Smith and father Gerald Smith. Back row, left to right, are KMHS Principal Dustin Morehead, coach Greg Lloyd, coach Kevin Cruise and athletic director Matt Bridges.

 Photos by Gary Smart
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AJ Richardson signs with
Norfolk State University

Kings Mountain High senior football player AJ Richardson has signed to continue his education and football career at Norfolk State University. He is pictured, front row center, with his sister Akireona Richardson, left, and his mother Takenya Young. Back row, left to right, are KMHS principal Dustin Morehead, head coach Greg Lloyd, defensive coaches Darrel Wilson and Michael Kennedy, and athletic director Matt Bridges.

 Photos by Gary Smart

Raiders defeat KM 
to grab tie for first

Kings Mountain High’s varsity basketball teams dropped a doubleheader to South Point in Big South Conference action Friday night in Belmont.
The South Point boys led most of the way in defeating the Mountaineers 61-47 to move into a tie for first place with the Mountaineers heading into the final two games of the regular season. It was the eighth straight conference win for the Red Raiders who earlier upset Crest and Hunter Huss to become a conference championship contender.
The Mountaineers and Raiders went into the final two regular season games Tuesday tied for first place with 9-3 marks with Huss and Crest right behind with 8-4 records. The Mountaineers will host the Chargers Friday night in the regular season finale at Parker Gym.
South Point led by just 10-9 after the first quarter Friday but increased the margin to 33-17 at the half and 54-32 going into the final chapter.
KM’s Zay Smith was the game’s top scorer with 20 points but the Red Raiders, led by Dylan Bradley and Jaquis Rumph with 10 points each, had a more balanced attack on offense while controlling the backboards on defense.
The Lady Mountaineers fell hard in the opening game, 49-37. Khalia King was KM’s only double-digit scorer with 11 points. Tyasya Bell added eight, Alayna Patrick and Aaliyah Miller five each, CoRey Simpson four and Allysia Pettis one. 

KMMS falls to Burns, 
defeats West Lincoln

Kings Mountain Middle School’s boys basketball team split a pair of division games last week and fell into second place in the East Division.
A 36-29 loss to Burns gave Burns sole possession of first place, but the Patriots rebounded to defeat West Lincoln to remain in the hunt for the division championship.
Against Burns, KM’s KJ Bell hit back to back threes to get the Patriots off to a quick 6-0 lead. Xavier Hutchens and Christian Jarrett chipped in a bucket each as the first quarter ended in a 10-all tie.
During the second quarter, both teams turned up the defensive intensity as KM took a slim 18-15 lead. Both teams went cold in the third quarter that ended at 24 all.
The fourth period saw the host Eagles close out the game late.
Christian Jarrett led the Patriots with eight points. Xavier Hutchens scored six, Christian Hill four and Nazire Davis and Silas Tate two each.
In the second game of the week, the Patriots roared to a 26-4 lead over West Lincoln. Coryon Gaines scored nine of his game-high 11 points and Silas Tate, Nazire Davis and Christian Hill pitched in four each.
The second quarter saw the Patriots extend their lead to 41-6. Christian Jarrett scored seven points and KJ Bell five.
The third quarter saw KM keep up its offensive intensity by outscoring the Chiefs 22-0. Joe Johnson led the way with five points. Xavier Hutchens and Yates Toney added four each to build a 63-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Malachi Powell, Qua Ingram and Braylon Brown rounded out the scoring.
Gaines finished with 11 points, Jarrett nine and Bell eight. Hutchens scored seven and Johnson five. Silas Tate, Nazire Davis, Christian Hill, Yates Toney and Qua Ingram added four points each. Camren Houser scored three and Malachi Powell, Tristian McCorkle and Braylon Brown two each.
All 14 Patriots scored and KM’s rotational players scored 41 points.
Offensive players of the week were Christian Jarrett with 17 points and Coryon Gaines with 11. Defensive players of the week were Camren Houser and Michael Powell. “Both played great D and rebounded the ball well,” said Coach Shane Cole.
“Joe Johnson (KM’s leading scorer off the bench) and Qua Ingram with great energy and a spark off the bench” were sixth men of the week.
“Our guys played really well,” Cole added. “They cheered for each other and got after it from the start.”
KM was 6-2 in the division and 7-3 overall heading into its last home game of the regular season Monday against East Lincoln. KM is scheduled to go to Lincolnton Thursday for its last regular season game. Both games have playoff implications.

Patriots win two more games, 
to host West Lincoln Thursday

Kings Mountain Middle School’s boys basketball team got back on the winning side with two victories during the past week over Lincolnton and North Lincoln.
In the first game, the Patriots defeated the Wildcats of Lincolnton 49-29. Xavier Hutchens, Christian Hill and Silas Tate led the scoring with 10 points each. KJ Bell scored six, Christian Jarrett and Nazire Davis four each, Camren Houser and Yates Toney two each and Qua Ingram one.
The Patriots took an 8-7 lead after the first period and extended the lead to 25-20 at the half. Three pointers by KJ Bell and Christian Hill gave the Patriots a 25-20 lead at the half.  Silas Tate and Xavier Hutchens combined for 14 points during the first quarter and Hill and Bell both hit their second three of the game to give the KM team its biggest lead at 40-17.
During the fourth quarter, Camren Houser and Yates Toney finished off the scoring as KM finished with three double-digit scorers.
In the second game of the week, the Patriots took on the Panthers of North Lincoln. Tate and Davis paced the Pats with four points each to take a slim four-point lead heading into the second quarter. During the period Hill continued his hot shooting as he made two threes to extend the KM lead to 25-17.
KM picked up its man to man defense, led by Christian Jarrett’s spectacular shot blocking and rebounding.
In the fourth quarter the Patriots were able to hold off a North Lincoln charge which resulted in a 35-all tie with less than four minutes to go. KM’s Tate scored seven of his game-high 20 points, and Hutchens’ free throws and Davis’s defense helped seal the victory.
Tate finished with 20 points to lead the Patriots to their sixth win in eight starts, including 5-1 in the division. Nazire Davis added eight points, Xavier Hutchens six, Christian Hill six, Christian Jarrett two and KJ Bell one.
Offensive players of the week were Silas Tate (30) points and Xavier Hutchens (18 points). Defensive player of the week was Christian Jarrett with several blocks and key rebounds. Sixth man of the week was Christian Hill who canned four threes.
Kings Mountain carried a 5-1 division and 6-2 overall record into a game Monday at Burns which was a battle for first place. KM is home on Thursday against West Lincoln.
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Greg Lloyd ends his Kings Mountain coaching career as the winningest football coach in Mountaineer history.

Greg Lloyd resigns as winningest coach
in 100-year history of Mountaineer football

Greg Lloyd, the winningest football coach in the 100-year history of Kings Mountain High football, has resigned after 16 years with the Mountaineers.
Lloyd’s accomplishments were many during that time. He compiled a record of 133-71 which included conference championships in 2008, 2017, spring 2021 and 2022. His Mountaineers played for the Western Regional championship in 2008, 2015, 2018 and 2019. Prior to coming here he coached two years at East Gaston and led the Warriors to their conference championship.
His teams here posted a 21-13 record in playoff games and his 2019 team set the all-time school record of 653 points in a season. He was Southwestern Foothills Conference Coach of the Year in 2008 and Big South Conference Coach of the Year in 2017, 2021 and 2022. He served as head coach of the West team in the 2017 NCHSAA East-West game. His 2021-22 team had the second highest GPA in the state. Over 60 of his players went on to play college football. Many of the seniors on his last team (fall of 2022) will be playing college football in the fall.
Lloyd was inducted into the Kings Mountain Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
“I’ll never forget how excited I was to be in Kings Mountain,” he said. “It was such a great opportunity and the support was great. The talent was always very good.”
One of the first things Lloyd did was to bring Kevin Cruise, Dustin Morehead and Craig Short to join his coaching staff.
“We got off to a good start,” Lloyd said. “That second year everything started coming together. We had Michael Roberts (at quarterback) and a lot of other good players and we shutout Shelby 21-0. We went to the playoffs and in the third round we beat Mooresville, who had a 200-yard per game rusher and we held him to just a few yards. That was a phenomenal season.
“We lost out to Kannapolis and Coach (Ron) Massey. Michael Roberts had hurt his ankle the week before but we still made it a close game.”
Lloyd and the Mountaineers had some good teams in the seasons that followed, but beginning in 2015 the team got on a roll that continues to this day.
“We really started to win in 2014,” he noted. “And then 2015 was a really good year. Adding Daryl Wilson and Michael Kennedy to the staff really helped us. We went to Freedom (in the playoffs) and they had B.J. Emmons who was one of the most highly recruited running backs in the nation. They were coming into the game with a 13-0 record and we beat them.
“In the 2018 playoffs undefeated Northwest Cabarrus came in and we had people like Kaylon Wade, Kobe Paysour and Ricaylen Mack and we beat them.
“Another big game I remember was in 2019 at Charlotte Catholic and it was 7-7 after regulation. We went seven overtimes and lost 56-49. We beat Shelby 42-17 that year and that was a really big win for us.
“In 2020 we probably had our most talented players,” he noted. “Kobe Paysour left early to go to Chapel Hill but we swept the county. We broke a long losing streak against Shelby. We hadn’t beaten them since ’86.
“In the ’21 playoffs we drove 98 yards at the end of the game to beat a good Franklin team. Last season we swept the county and beat South Point but we lost in the playoffs to East Lincoln.
“During my time here we had good players and good fans,” he noted. “We always had big crowds. I appreciate the band and cheerleaders and the support of the parents and fans. Everybody did their part.
“I appreciate our principals. Ronny Funderburke gave me the opportunity to come to Kings Mountain. I appreciated Julie Rikard and Dr. (Dustin) Morehead.
“Our athletic directors during my time were really good – Suzanne Grayson, Mark Latham, Dustin Morehead and Matt Bridges. All of them supported me. It’s just been exciting coaching in Kings Mountain. I know I’m going to miss it a lot. I may coach again someday but right now I just need to take the fall off so I can watch Maggie play (at Western) and then Jake wherever he goes.
“I’m very thankful for my time as the football coach at Kings Mountain. It was really special. I think I will get back into coaching someday. I’ve been coaching for 28 falls. You’ll definitely see me coaching again. I hope I’ve got some good years left.
“Football shaped me,” he added. “I hope the players have learned some life lessons from us. I’m grateful for the support of the fans and for all the friends we’ve made in Kings Mountain. Kings Mountain is a great community.
“I can still see (the late) Major Loftin at every practice, and I’ll never forget (the late KMHS equipment manager) Donnie Mace. They were special Mountaineers.
“I had two coaches that are no longer with us – Brent Bagwell and Jeff Putnam. They were excellent men and excellent coaches. And, I want to thank superintendents Bruce Boyles and Stephen Fisher who were great supporters of our program and really good to me. It was an honor to know them and all the other good people in Kings Mountain. I have memories that will last me forever.”
Although he won’t be on the sidelines, Coach Lloyd said he won’t be a stranger.
“I will still be around and will be supporting the program from now on,” he said. “We have a lot of talented players coming back and I expect them to do very well this year. It will be a fun year for the Mountaineers.
“I want to thank Beth. She’s the perfect coach’s wife. She let me live out my dream. And, I want to thank Maggie and Jake. I watched them in sports from the time they were little until they grew up. I’m just thankful for everybody that supported me. I had tons of help. It’s been a great 16 years.”
Mountaineer athletic director Matt Bridges, who was also one of Lloyd’s assistant coaches, said the school planned to begin accepting applications for the head football job this week.
“I would like to thank and congratulate Coach Greg Lloyd for his 16 years of service to our football program, school and community,” Bridges said. “Coach Lloyd and the Lloyd family have dedicated their lives to building a successful program on and off the field, and they will be greatly missed. Coach Lloyd is a great coach and an even better person. The life lessons he taught his student-athletes and coaches will continue to leave a lasting impact for years to come. I wish the best for Coach Lloyd as he steps into the next chapter of his life.”

See more photos on Page 1B of the February 1, 2023 issue of KM Herald
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Congratulations to KMHS Cheerleaders!

Congratulations to the Kings Mountain High School Cheerleaders Lady Mountaineers for winning the NCCCA 2023 Game Day State Championship. 
                                                                                                                Photo provided by KMHS

Mountaineers sweep Wildcats, 
Stuart Cramer here on Tuesday

Kings Mountain High’s basketball teams swept North Gaston in a Big South 3A Conference doubleheader Friday night at KM’s Parker Gym.
The KM girls won easily, 59-23, but the Mountaineers had to come from behind in the final two minutes to defeat the Wildcats 55-49 and hold onto a share of first place in the BSC with the Crest Chargers. Both teams were 8-2 in the BSC heading into Tuesday night’s action at home against the Forestview Jaguars.
The North Gaston boys scored the first four points of the game and led most of the way until the Mountaineers made a charge in the final three minutes to pull out the win and maintain their share of the BSC lead with the Crest Chargers. Hunter Huss, which had been tied for first, dropped to third with a loss to the South Point Red Raiders.
KM was down 45-39 with 4:41 left on the clock but rallied to come within 47-45 with just over three minutes left. The Mountaineers went to a pressing defense and Zay Smith canned a pair of free throws to tie the score at 47-all with 2:51 remaining.
It was still tied at 49-all when North Gaston lost the ball out of bounds with 1:26 remaining. Bradley Floyd, who was limited to three points on the night, canned a pair of free throws to put the Mountaineers up 51-49 with 39.1 seconds remaining.
After a North timeout, the Wildcats missed a field goal attempt and KM rebounded. Bryson Brown sank two free throws in a five-second span to put KM up 54-49. Smith’s steal that led to a Floyd free throw with 3.3 seconds left rounded out the scoring.
Smith finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists to lead the KM attack. Simpson added 10 points.
In the opening contest the KM ladies broke on top early and led the entire game to run their record to 3-7 in the BSC and 9-10 overall.
CoRey Simpson had one of her best games of the season with 18 points and Khalia King was right behind her with 16. Tyasya Bell added six, Aaliya Miller five, Alayna Patrick four, Allysia Pettis three and Mia Bridges one.
The Lady Mountaineers rolled to a 28-6 halftime lead and were up 40-11 after three quarters of play. The lead stretched to 30 points (43-13) with 5:40 remaining and went to a high of 51-15 with 2:52 left on the clock.
The Kings Mountain teams will travel to South Point Friday which is a key game in determining post-season playoff seedings. The KM teams will be at home for their final two regular season games. Stuart Cramer comes to Parker Gym on February 7 and the regular season ends with a doubleheader against county rival Crest on Friday, Feb. 10
KM (55) – Smith 14, Simpson 10, Robinette 9, Brown 7, Foster 4, Floyd 3, Osborne 3, Lenair 3, Sanders 2.
NG (51) – Byers 15, Simmons 15, Lomick 8, Murrell 4, Huggins 4, Payne 3.
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Rusty Bumgardner is inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame.

Kings Mountain slugger Rusty Bumgardner inducted into National Softball Hall of Fame

Kings Mountain native Rusty Bumgardner’s sports career came full circle recently when he was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame at its 41st annual ceremony in Shreveport, LA.
His list of Hall of Fame inductions include the Kings Mountain Sports Hall of Fame and the USSSA, ISA, WSL, ASA, USA and North Carolina USSSA Halls of Fame. Bumgardner says this latest honor and his hometown hall of fame inductions are the most special.
“Any Hall of Fame is truly awesome,” Bumgardner said, “but my hometown and this means more to me. This is the original. I’m privileged to be in it. It dates back to the sixties when they had teams like Howard’s Furniture and other big time teams that paved the way. That makes this award even more meaningful.”
Longtime Kings Mountain High School fans can remember Bumgardner’s exploits on the football and baseball fields. He went on to play four years of football at Wake Forest University under Coach Bill Dooley and he and his high school teammate Aubrey Hollifield helped the Deacons post some of their best records back then.
“We were both red-shirted our freshman year and then started every year,” he recalled. “We graduated Kings Mountain High School in ’87 and we had really good teams there in 1985 and 1986. In the fall of ’86 we won the conference championship for the first time since 1964. Both of us played four years and were winners our last season.
“Some of my best memories were at Kings Mountain Junior High and High School,” he said. “David Heffner was our coach at the junior high and Denny Hicks at the high school. Then I helped Coach (Bruce) Clark in high school baseball. My father (the late Bud Bumgardner) helped him from ’89 to ’93 when we won state championships. I had just started at Wake Forest when dad got sick. I took a semester off in the spring of 1989 and helped Coach Clark that year. I also helped Coach Clark in ’93. In ’89 we had people like Paul Brannon and Dale Greene and in ’93 people like Stephen Fisher, Todd Ware, Rick Marr, Damon Putnam and others. The ’89 team wasn’t expected to win. We didn’t even win the conference. South Point did. Once the playoffs started we got on a roll. Paul Brannon hit 20 home runs and Chad and Chris Plonk had double digit home runs. Our pitching staff fell in place with Todd McDaniel, Robert Wingo and Sharee Hopper. Wingo was a sophomore and pitched the state championship game. The hitting and pitching just all came together at the right time.”
Always a heavy hitter in baseball, Bumgardner was a natural for softball. He got his start with Coach Mike Grayson, whose wife Suzanne would later join the coaching staff at KMHS and lead the girls volleyball and softball teams to state championships.
Looking back on his Wake Forest career, Bumgardner said it was “just overwhelming. You started having fun and the football team just took off under Coach Dooley.
“As far as baseball, I just played my senior year because football was over. But I wish I’d played all four years. It was a memorable time. My freshman year of football our left tackle got hurt and they put me in there and I became a starter.”
His first start is one he will always remember.
“It was against Michael Dean Perry at Clemson,” he noted. “On film I saw him just picking up people and throwing them out of the way. I was determined he wasn’t going to do that to me. It ended up he made just one tackle that day.”
As for softball, he said the highlight was playing on teams that won 24 world titles and had 34 all-star selections. Bumgardner was All-World four times and was a two-time World Series MVP.
All-World, he said, was like an All-American team. He was All-American
18 straight  years  beginning in 1994. He is 11th on the list of the top 50 home run hitters of all time with 2,344 home runs. Nine of those top 11 were people that played on barn storming teams like Howard’s Furniture of Denver that traveled all over the country several days a week playing softball. Bumgardner always played for teams that just played on weekends, thus he had fewer at-bats than sluggers on barn storming teams. For example, a slugger on a barn storming team would average about 2,400 at-bats a year while Bumgardner and others on weekend teams would average about 250 to 300 at-bats per year.
“The dimensions of the fields back then were a lot smaller than when we played,” Bumgardner noted. “And, they were swinging wooden bats. I remember seeing a Shriners tournament at the Kings Mountain Community Center and saw people like Stan Harvey and Don Arndt of Howard’s Furniture. It was crazy watching those guys hit the ball so far. I said ‘one day I’m going to be like that.’”
Bumgardner quit playing travel ball in 2015. He said his life was “built around softball but my body was telling me I’d had enough. My kids had started playing ball and I wanted to watch them. I don’t miss softball at all.
“Plus, the game had started changing,” he said.  “There was a lot of drama in the game. The best time of my career was in the ‘90s and early 2000s when softball was still softball. We were always battling to be number one. That was a goal for the team. The home runs weren’t the main thing. Yes, I could hit them but I wanted the team to win championships.
“Yes, I led the team in home runs, batting average and being named Player of the Year many times. But it’s not a one man deal. I was always about the team, not myself.
“I’m glad I went in the Hall of Fame with the people I did. They were three of the best of all time – Steve (Pup) Shortland, Brett Helmer and Christian Dowling. Christian Dowling passed away about a year ago. She was the one that pretty much changed women’s softball.”

See more photos in the E-Edition of KM Herald Page 1B (January 25, 2023)

KMHS relay team qualifies for state

Last Thursday night the Kings Mountain High indoor track and field teams participated in the Titan II indoor track meet in Winston Salem.  This is a true indoor facility and the location of the 3A state championship on February 10. 
The men’s 4x800m relay finished second and qualified for the state meet by running a new school record of 8:43.  The team consisted of Max Thompson, Marty Lovingood, Isaiah Watts, and Hunter Cruise.  Also qualifying in the pole vault was Nicolas Horne with a vault of 10’0”.  Andre Willis added two second place finishes in the 55m high hurdles and the 55m dash. He had already qualified in the 55m hurdles earlier this season.
The highest-finishing Lady Mountaineer was Divinity Ervin finishing second in the 1600m run with a 6:01.  She also was in the fourth place 4x800m women’s relay with teammates Brooke Waseman, Sarah Eagle, and Sindy Ulloa.

Mountaineers regain share of lead
with 61-55 victory over Ashbrook

 Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers regained a share of first place in the Big South Conference Friday night. While the Mountaineers were defeating Ashbrook 61-55 the previously undefeated Crest Chargers were losing to the Hunter Huss Huskies in Boiling Springs.
Those results left the Mountaineers and Chargers tied for first, but they were facing another big obstacle last night when they were in Gastonia again, this time playing the Hunter Huss Huskies who were looking to avenge an earlier close loss to the Mountaineers at Parker Gym.
Kings Mountain got the upper hand early and led the Green Wave 17-7 after the first period and 38-18 at the half. But the Green Wave got on a roll in the third period and outscored the Mountaineers 24-11 to trail by just 49-42 heading into the final eight minutes.
The Mountaineers were able to hold them off with good defense and an offense featuring three players in double figures. Freshmen Bradley Floyd and Tucker Robinette led the way with 17 points each and junior Zay Smith scored 13 including five of nine from the free throw line. The Mountaineers were also strong on the boards with Floyd grabbing 12 rebounds, Bryson Brown nine and Curtis Simpson seven.
The Ashbrook girls stayed in a tie for first place with Stuart Cramer by turning back the Lady Mountaineers 41-27 in the opening game. Khalia King led the KM ladies with 13 points and also grabbed four rebounds. CoRey Simpson had five points and seven rebounds, Farri Martin four points, Tyasa Bell two points and six rebounds and Austyn Dixon one point and five rebounds.
KM (61) – Floyd 17, Robinette 17, Smith 13, Simpson 7, Osborne 3, Brown 2, Sanders 2.
A (55) – Greene 19, Leslie 11, Patton 8, Clark 7, Miller 3, Bess 2, June 2.

Chargers sweep KM

Kings Mountain High’s varsity basketball teams were defeated by county rival Crest in the final game of the first half of the Big South Conference schedule Tuesday night at Ed Peeler Gymnasium in Boiling Springs.
The Crest women came out on top 64-27. In the men’s game, the Chargers and Mountaineers were deciding who would take sole possession of first place and the hosts prevailed 69-51.
The Crest men were obviously on fire fueled with the goal of winning in memory of the school’s all-time winningest coach Ed Peeler, who passed away several days prior to the game. The Mountaineers stayed with them – and actually led on several occasions – early but the Chargers gradually pulled away in the second half.
Crest led by just 13-11 after the first period and 30-21 at the half. The biggest damage was done by A.J. Adams who scored all of his 19 points before intermission. Tylik Briscoe and D’various Surratt also hit double digits with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Kings Mountain, which fell to 6-1 in the BSC, got a game-high 20 points from freshman Bradley Floyd but he was the only Mountaineer to hit double digits.
The Crest ladies were also dominant. Monica Surratt and Neveah Blackwell led the winners with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Their defense limited KM’s top scorer Khalia King to just two points. CoRey Simpson led the Lady Mountaineers with 12 points and eight rebounds. Tyasia Bell had eight points and five rebounds. Myracle Davis had four points and four boards and Aaliya Miller rounded out the scoring with one point.
KM (51) – Floyd 20, Simpson 8, Linney 7, Robinette 6, Smith 4, Sanders 4, Brown 2.
C (69) – Adams 19, Briscoe 15, Surratt 11, Goodlett 8, Pass 5, Hemphill 3, Whisnant 3, Mitchell 2, Thurmond 2, Huskey 1.

NG Wildcats
here Friday

 After the last of five straight road games tonight in Shelby, Kings Mountain High’s basketball teams will get back into Parker Gym Friday night for a Big South Conference doubleheader with the North Gaston Wildcats and will remain at home next Tuesday against the Forestview Jaguars.
While the Lady Mountaineers have had a bumpy road lately, the KM men have stayed in the thick of the Big South Conference race as the regular season hits the home stretch.
After Forestview, the BSC schedule will be down to three games as the Mountaineers have games at South Point on Feb. 3 and end up at home against Stuart Cramer on February 7 and Crest on February 10. Between those last two games, on Feb. 8, they will go to Cox Mill for a non-conference contest.
The BSC tournament will be held Feb. 13, Feb. 15 and Feb. 17 at a site to be determined. The state tournament begins on Tuesday, Feb. 21

KM YMCA winter
basketball scores

Scores for Kings Mountain Family YMCA Winter Basketball for January 13 – 14 are:

January 13
11-12 Boys
Mavericks 9 vs Storm Breakers 30
Mavericks – Lecrae Toney 6 points
Storm Breakers – AJ Ross 14 points

January 14
5-6 Co-Ed
Hornets 24 vs Steelers 26
Hornets – Moses Anderson 8 points
Steelers – Elijah Douglas 10 points

7-8 Boys
Tigers 17 vs Hornets 16
Tigers – Mason Nicholson 11 points
Hornets – Weston Biggers 6 points

Campbell 12 vs Burgess 18
Campbell – Quantavious Sharpe 12 points
Burgess – Bennett Burgess 8 points

Panthers 15 vs Fireball 4
Panthers – Jailah Clinton 9 points
Fireball – Braxton Corbett 2 points

7-9 Girls
Wildcats 26 vs Ruby C Hunt YMCA 20
Wildcats - Sadie Bert 10 points

9-10 Boys
Ballers 15 vs Roberts 17
Ballers – Brody Ciaschini 7 points
Roberst – Aiden Adams 8 points

Aces 32 vs Bulls 20
Aces – Carson Epps 11 points
Bulls – Knox Toney 9 points

10-12 Girls
Underdogs (KM) 22 vs Cherokee County YMCA 9
Underdogs – Jasmine Wilson 14 points

16-18 Boys
Kings (KM) 46 vs Ruby C Hunt YMCA 43
Kings (KM) – Jayden Byers 18 points

Patriots defeat
Panthers, Burns

The Kings Mountain Middle boys basketball team won two hard-fought basketball games this past week.
In the first game, KM took on the Panthers of North Lincoln, in the division opener for both teams.  KM’s Silas Tate scored four of his 11 points in the first quarter to give the Patriots a slim 11-8 lead.  During the second  period, KJ Bell hit two deep threes to give Kings Mountain a one-point lead heading into halftime.
 Christan Jarrett scored five of his 11 points during the third quarter to extend their lead to seven at 30 to 23.  KM was able to fend off a late North rally as Christian Hill made back-to-back threes to give KM a four-point lead with less than two minutes to go.  Tate finished off the scoring with four late free throws to give KM a 42 to 32 win.
In the second game of the week, KM took on county rival Burns in its home opener, securing a two-point win.  KM got off to a very slow start only scoring two points over the first 10 minutes of the game as the Eagles took a 15-2 lead.  Nazire Davis hit a three-point shot late in the second quarter to pull KM to within 12 heading into the half.  After some halftime adjustments, KM finally was able to put some good offensive possessions together as Silas Tate led the way with five points.  The Patriots also picked up the tempo on defense as they out-scored their opponents 18-2 during the period to take a 23-19 lead heading into the final stanza.  Burns was able to pull to within one point at 27-26 before KM sealed the deal on a KJ Bell free throw for a final score of 28-26. 
Offensive player of the week:  Sias Tate (20 points).
Defensive player of the week:  Nazire Davis (outstanding “D” and leadership. He took on the other team’s best player).
Sixth man of the week:  KJ Bell (provided a spark off the bench and hit some big shots).
KM is 3-1 overall and 2-0 in East Division.
KM is at West Lincoln on Wednesday and at East Lincoln on Thursday.
“The team took a big stride this week, they kept believing and fighting and at the end, it all fell into place,” said Coach Shane Cole.

Willis, Cruise to compete
at state Indoor Track Meet

Kings Mountain Highs indoor track teams hosted a Polar Bear meet Wednesday at John Gamble Stadium. A polar bear meet means that indoor events are contested on an outdoor facility.
The highlight for the Mountaineers was that Andre Willis ran a time of 7.94 seconds over the 55 meter high hurdles to qualify for the 3A State Indoor Championships on February 10. He will be joining fellow qualifier Hunter Cruise who bettered his pole vault height to 10’6”.
Barely missing qualifying was Max Thompson in the 1000 meter run with a 2:43. He needed a 2:42.
Marty Lovingood was the top point winner, finishing first in the high jump, long jump and 500 meter run.
For the Lady Mountaineers, Divinity Ervin brought home three first places by winning the 1600 meter, 1000 meter and 3200 meter runs. Brooke Waseman finished first in the 500 meter and 300 meter dashes.
Kings Mountain’s men finished with a 203 team score. Shelby had 50, Forestview 28 and Ashbrook 10.
The Lady Mountaineers finished with 145 points, Shelby 56 and Ashbrook 10. Ashbrook’s Camryn Massey qualified for the state meet in the shot put.

KMHS ladies defeat Burns 55-36, 
Mountaineers come up shy 59-54

Kings Mountain High’s basketball teams split a non-conference doubleheader with Burns Thursday night at Parker Gym with the Lady Mountaineers winning 55-36 and the Mountaineers falling 59-54.
Senior Khalia King led the scoring for the KM ladies with 20 points, coming up just five points shy of 1,000 points for her four-year varsity career. Tyasya Bell added nine points, CoRey Simpson and Austyn Dixon six each and Farri Martin and Allysia Pettis five apiece.
Burns held a slim 21-20 lead at the half but the Lady Mountaineers dominated the final two quarters. By the end of the third period the Lady Mountaineers were on top 35-28 and they opened the fourth period on an 8-0 run to break the game open.
While they were in high gear on offense, the defense was holding the Lady Bulldogs to one shot at the basket on most of their second half possessions. KM stretched the lead to 15 points (43-28) on a Tyasya Bell basket with 4:40 left in the third quarter and King’s coast to coast lay-up with 1:30 left increased the margin to 16 (50-34) with a minute and a half left in the quarter. A pair of King free throws followed an Austyn Dixon bucket in the final minute to account for a 53-36 margin and two King free throws with just 20 seconds left resulted in the final score.
Bell followed King in the scoring department with nine points. CoRey Simpson and Dixon added six apiece and Farri Martin and Allysia Pettis chipped in five each.
The Mountaineers had one of their coldest shooting nights of the season (18 of 55 field goals for 33 percent and 14 of 28 free throws for 50 percent) and were also hampered by numerous players riding the pine in foul trouble. Freshman Bradley Floyd led the scoring with 16 points but he sat out most of the first half in foul trouble. Point guard Zay Smith also spent a lot of time on the pine in foul trouble but also hit double figures with 11. Curtis Simpson led the rebounding effort with nine.
Burns began taking advantage of the situation early in the third quarter and finally got the lead 31-29 at the 3:30 mark of the quarter. By the end of the quarter they were up 37-32. KM couldn’t get any closer despite some late steals that created a run that led to baskets but not enough to get over the hump.
KM (54) – Floyd 16, Smith 11, Robinette 8, Sanders 8, Simpson 7, Linney 3, Brown 2.
B (59) – Norris 15, White 14, Thompson 13, Wilson 9, Surratt 6, Johnson 2.

Mountaineers hold off Raiders
to stay unbeaten in Big South

Kings Mountain and South Point had an old-fashioned slobber-knocker Tuesday night at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium with the Mountaineers overcoming a strong Red Raider comeback bid late in the fourth quarter to win 66-62 and remain unbeaten in the Big South 3A Conference.
The Mountaineers led most of the game but the Red Raiders made a strong run in the final five minutes before the home team took command in the final minute with outstanding defensive play and some key baskets.
The Red Raiders overcame the Mountaineers on a three-pointer by Garrett Hunt for a 53-51 lead with 3:15 remaining. KM regained the lead at 54-53 on a free throw by Zay Smith at the 2:35 mark but South Point answered seconds later to go up 55-54.
Bradley Floyd hit a pair of free throws with 2:12 remaining to put KM back up top 56-55 but Sean Gore’s three got the Raiders back on top 59-58 with 1:24 left. That would be their last lead but the Mountaineers had to make some big plays late to send their fans home happy.
Smith’s running layup gave the Mountaineers their final lead at the 1:03 mark. With the clock under 40 seconds, KM’s Curtis Simpson stole the ball and got it to Bradley Floyd who was fouled with 34.6 on the clock. Floyd calmly sank both free throws for a 62-59 lead and another steal set up Sanders for a layup and a 64-59 margin.
A South Point three cut the margin to 64-62 with 4.1 seconds left. The Raiders had to foul again but Smith calmly sank two free throws to wrap things up.
Floyd led the Mountaineers with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Smith played a tremendous all-around game with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists. Eli Osborne, who was called upon late in the first half to sub for Priest Wilson who was injured while fouled going in for a fast-break layup, contributed 12 points.
South Point came on strong in the final three periods to knock off the Lady Mountaineers 59-48 in the first game. The Lady Raiders improved to 4-2 in the BSC and 10-6 overall while dropping the KM ladies to 2-4 and 7-6.
Kings Mountain led 16-12 after the first period and 26-17 at the half. The visitors outscored them 16-11 in the third quarter to cut the difference to 37-33 and 26-11 over the final eight minutes to win going away.
Khalia King led the KM ladies with 26 points. Tyasya Bell added 13 points and five rebounds, Myracle Davis six points and 10 rebounds and Austyn Dixon one point.
The Kings Mountain teams were scheduled to close out first round BSC play last night at Crest. They go to Ashbrook Friday and Hunter Huss next Tuesday.
KM (66) – Floyd 20, Smith 12, Osborne 12, Wilson 9, Sanders 5, Brown 4, Simpson 4.
SP (62) – Cole 23, Bradley 9, Hunt 8, Rumph 7, Blee 6, Absher 5, Harris 2, Williams 2.
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Khalia King topped the 1,000 career point mark in last week’s Big South loss at Stuart Cramer.

King tops 1,000 career points
in KM’s loss to Stuart Cramer

Despite losing to a strong Stuart Cramer team Friday night in Belmont, Kings Mountain High’s senior standout Khalia King passed a personal milestone by topping the 1,000 point mark for her four-year varsity career.
King needed five points to reach thousand but she finished with a game-high 27 in a 70-41 loss. That increased her career point mark to 1,022 points.
King was the only double digit scorer for the Lady Mountaineers. Tyasha Bell, Farri Martin and Mia Bridges added four each and CoRey Simpson added two. Hadley Womack led the Storm with 20.
Kings Mountain’s men kept their conference winning streak going in the nightcap with a 65-53 win over the Purple Storm. That set up a Cleveland County head-to-head battle with the Crest Chargers last night at Crest for sole possession of first place in what was the final first round game of the season.
The Mountaineers stay on the road Friday for a Big South battle with the Ashbrook Green Wave and go to Hunter Huss on Tuesday. They don’t have another home game until they open second round BSC play with North Gaston on January 27 at Parker Gym.
The KM men led most of the way, leading the Storm 17-11 after one period, 30-19 at the half and 44-34 going into the fourth quarter.
The Mountaineers placed four players in double figures, led by Tucker Robinette with 16. Bradley Floyd scored 12 and Curtis Simpson and Bryson Brown 10 each.
The win left the Mountaineers with a 6-0 conference and 9-5 overall mark while Cramer fell to 2-4, 6-10.
KM (41) – King 27, Bell 4, Bridges 4, Simpson 2, Martin 4.
SC (70) – Womack 20, Holland 12, Duncan 14.
KM (65) – Robinette 16, Floyd 12, Simpson 10, Brown 10, Smith 6, Lenair 4, Osborne 3, Sanders 2, Linney 2.
SC (53) – Rocaqumore 16, Hill 10, Sloan 10, Joyner 9, Rybczyk 4, Whitley 4. 

KM sweeps Forestview,
Burns here on Thursday

Kings Mountain High’s varsity basketball teams opened Big South 3A Conference play Friday night with a sweep of the Forestview Jaguars in Gastonia.
The Mountaineers were scheduled to host a pair of good South Point teams last night and will remain home Thursday for a non-conference battle with the Burns Bulldogs. KM will resume BSC action Friday at Stuart Cramer and will go to Crest Tuesday for a big test against the team that went into this week tied with the Mountaineers for the Big South Conference lead.
The Mountaineers grabbed the lead early at Forestview and were up 25-10 after one quarter and 39-24 at the break. They took a 55-39 lead into the final eight minutes.
Freshmen Tucker Robinette and Bradley Floyd led the Mountaineers with 22 and 16 points, respectively. Twelve of Robinette’s points came from three-point land. Ja’Qualyn Sanders had nine points, Curtis Simpson five points and 10 rebounds, Eli Osborne five points, Bryson Brown four, Priest Wilson three and Charlie Foster two.
Daris Byers scored 16, Alex Helton 14 and Deviyus Byrd 10 for the Jaguars, who fell to 2-2 in the BSC and 7-5 overall. KM improved to 4-0 in the BSC and 7-4 overall.
The KM ladies evened their BSC record at 2-2 and improved to 7-4 overall with a 48-37 win in the opener. Forestview fell to 1-3 in the conference and 7-6 overall.
CoRey Simpson had a big game for the Lady Mountaineers with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Khalia King had 12 points and nine boards, Alayna Patrick nine points and four rebounds, Myracle Davis seven points and a game-high 16 rebounds, Farri Martin four points and four rebounds and Austyn Dixon two points and three rebounds.

Patriots beat Crest 45-23,
Burns here Thursday at 5:15

 Kings Mountain Middle School’s boys basketball team got its season started last week by splitting a pair of games with county rivals Shelby and Crest.
In the first game, Shelby was able to outlast the Patriots 36-30. This was a defensive battle in the first half as Shelby held a 12-8 lead. The second half saw both teams starting to hit some shots.
Kings Mountain took its first lead of the second half 15-14 after Silas Tate made three free throws midway of the quarter. The game was tied at 22 all with four minutes left in the game before Shelby hit back to back shots to take a 27-22 lead. KM got as close as three points but was not able to sustain a late rally.
Leading the Patriots were Tate with 10 points, Xavier Hutchens nine, Christian Hill seven and Christian Jarrett and Nazire Davis two points each.
The second game of the week saw KM get off to another slow start as the Patriots only made one basket off a layup by Nazire Davis.
During the second period the Patriots were able to get on track offensively and took a slim five-point lead into halftime as Silas Tate hit a buzzer beating three as time expired to put KM up 15-10.
 During the second half KM turned up its man-to-man defense and limited the Dragons to five points over a 10-minue period to take a commanding 38-15 lead. Seven Patriots got in on the scoring action, led by Nazire Davis with six points and Qua Ingram with seven for a final score of 45-23.
Huchens led the scoring with nine points. Davis and Tate added eight points each, Qua Ingram seven, Braylon Brown five, Christian Jarrett four, KJ Bell three and Christin Hill one.
The offensive player of the week was Xavier Hutchins with 18 points in the two games. Defensive player of the week was Silas Tate with 10 steals. The sixth man of the week was Braylon Brown who provided a spark off the bench and ignited the defense in both games.
KM was scheduled to open division play on Monday at home against North Lincoln and will host county rival Burns Thursday at 5:15 p.m.

First week KM Elite Trailblazers
basketball results

By Loretta Cozart

PAWS, the mascot for North Elementary School Tigers, got a major update that was unveiled to students on Friday, January 6 during its first semester awards day program.
It appears PAWS has been working out over the Christmas break and came back to school sporting a more muscular physique, thanks to Flooring America.
The old PAWS, circa 1980, needed an upgrade and a former North School student answered the call.
The school thanked Ty Toney from Flooring America for his donation for the new Tiger Mascot costume! Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger! 
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Priest Wilson puts up a short jumper in last week’s game with Rock Hill in the Mountaineers’ holiday tournament. Photos by Gary Smart

Mountaineers go 1-2 in tournament, resume
Big South Conference play Friday at Forestview

Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers finished 1-2 in their annual Christmas tournament last week at Parker Gym, getting a 61-53 win over East Rutherford sandwiched around losses of 54-50 to Harding and 66-58 to Rock Hill.
Harding jumped out front 16-12 after the first period and 26-25 at the half in Wednesday’s opening round. The teams were tied at 36-all after three periods but an 18-14 scoring advantage over the final eight minutes gave Harding the win.
KM freshman Bradley Floyd was the game’s top scorer with 20 points. Freshman Tucker Robinette added 11 and junior Curtis Simpson 10. Kendarian Thomas led Harding with 17, Elton Davis scored 16 and Chase Bryson 14.
The Mountaineers bounced back Thursday to edge the East Rutherford Cavaliers 61-53 behind the 1-2 scoring punch of Floyd with 19 points and Charlie Foster with 14.
Dacen Petty led the Cavaliers with 20 points and Tyler Barksdale and Grayson Burleson added 11 apiece.
Friday’s battle with Rock Hill was close before the visitors pulled away in the second half. The Mountaineers were led by Floyd with 19 points, Foster 15 and Robinette 10. Byrd and Huston scored 18 and 11, respectively, to lead the visitors.
The Mountaineers will resume Big South 3A Conference action Friday at Gastonia Forestview and will host a strong South Point five Tuesday, January 10 at Donald L. Parker Gymnasium. They will stay at home on Thursday, January 12 for a non-conference game against county rival Burns.
KM (50) – Floyd 20, Robinette 13, Simpson 10, Wilson 5, Brown 4.
Harding (54) – Thomas 17, E. Davis 16, Bryson 14, K. Davis 4, Bradshaw 3.
KM (61) – Floyd 19, Foster 14, Robinette 8, Simpson 4, Cole 4, Wilson 3, Brown 2, Smith 2.
ER (53) – Petty 20, Barksdale 11, Burleson 11, Atkins 5, Pinkerton 2, Hunter 2, Watkins 2.
KM (58) – Floyd 19, Foster 15, Robinette 10, Sanders 6, Simpson 4, Linney 3, Brown 1.
RH (66) – Byrd 18, Huston 11, Carter 9, Webb 8, Wilson 5, Cormell 3, Young 3, McKinney 2.

Mountaineers place nine players, coach on All-Conference team

Kings Mountain’s Mountaineers placed nine players on the All-Big South Conference team, including three that were Players of the Year, and Coach Greg Lloyd was voted BSC Coach of the Year for the recently-completed 2022 football season.
First team selections were offensive linemen Isaiah Eskridge and Michael Lubas. First team defensive selections were linemen AJ Richardson and Curtis Simpson and defensive back Jake Lloyd. Richardson was also selected Defensive Player of the Year, Eskridge was selected Offensive Lineman of the Year and Simpson was named Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Making the second team were running back/defensive back Bryson Brown, running back Teddy Jeffries, quarterback Lamont Littlejohn and receiver/defensive back and return specialist Zavian Smith.
Simpson, who has already received numerous major college offers, Brown, Jeffries and Smith will return next season to lead the Mountaineers to another run for the conference championship. Richardson, Lubas, Eskridge, Littlejohn and Lloyd will graduate in the spring and hopefully continue their football exploits in the collegiate ranks.
Hunter Huss sophomore Jayden Gash, whose father Daryl played for the Mountaineers in the late eighties and early nineties, made the first team as a return specialist and was also named Special Teams Player of the Year. He returned the opening kickoff in the Huss at Kings Mountain game which was the only time the Mountaineers were behind in a regular season game.
The Offensive Player of the Year was Ny’Tavious Huskey of Crest.
First team All Conference:
QB, Ny’Tavious Huskey, Crest.
RB – Carmelo Bess, Ashbrook.
OL – Isaiah Eskridge, Kings Mountain; Michael Lubas, Kings Mountain; Sullivan Absher, South Point; Tymon Childs, Ashbrook; Myles Jackson, Forestview; Trent Mitchell, Ashbrook.
Athletes – Malachi Addison, Crest; Javarius Green, Crest; Christian Holland, Forestview; Isaiah Johnson, Cramer; Cam Medlock, South Point, Justin Rocquemore, Cramer.
DL – AJ Richardson, KM, Curtis Simpson, KM, Devon Biggers, Ashbrook, Davonyae Pettus, Crest.
LB – Daimean Fernandez, Cramer, Dezmun Porter, Crest, James Taylor, Huss.
DB – Jake Lloyd, KM, Gene Neely, Huss, Will Ross, South Point, Sincere Sanders-Moss, Ashbrook.
Specialists – Charlie Birtwistle, SP, Jayden Gash, Huss, JJ Gordon, North Gaston.
Second team:
Bryson Brown, KM, Teddy Jeffries, KM, Lamont Littlejohn, KM, Zavian Smith, KM, AJ Adams, Crest, Nathaniel Aguilar, Forestview, Patrick Blee, South Point, Noah Comer, Forestview, Chaynce Ford, South Point, Derek Mitchell, Crest, Christian Mixter, Forestview, Kenneth Odugba, Forestview, Jaquis Rumph, South Point, Josh Smith, North Gaston, Hudson Spargo, South Point, Tyler Ward, Cramer.
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Big plays late lift KM over Green Wave

Kings Mountain freshman Bradley Floyd’s running jumper from the baseline with five seconds remaining in the game, along with his steal of Ashbrook’s inbounds pass capped an exciting 50-48 victory over Ashbrook’s Green Wave in the two teams’ opening Big South 3A Conference battle Friday night at KM’s Donald L. Parker Gymnasium.
A big defensive steal by KM’s Zay Smith with 27.3 seconds remaining resulted in a timeout by the Mountaineers to set up the winning shot and KM’s third win in four games overall.
Kings Mountain’s girls weren’t as fortunate in the opener. Leading by just 38-33 going into the fourth quarter, Ashbrook outscored the Lady Mountaineers 22-5 to cap a 60-38 victory.
Floyd would finish with 13 points to lead the Mountaineer scoring against a veteran Ashbrook five. Priest Wilson scored 10, Tucker Robinette eight, Charlie Foster seven, Smith and Kee’Donn Linney four each and Bryson Brown and Ja’Qualyn Sanders two each. Ashbrook was led by Kenneth Greene with 13 and Jashuan Clark with 10.
The game was close throughout. Neither team could get anything going in the first period. Two free throws by Foster gave the Mountaineers an 11-9 lead heading into the second stanza. KM held the lead most of the second period but Ashbrook’s Gabriel June ran the baseline for a basket that put the Wave on top 22-21 at the half.
After the Wave built a 32-25 lead in the first three minutes of the third period, the Mountaineers got late baskets by Tucker Robinette and Floyd to go into the final quarter up 37-34.
Ashbrook scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter to take a 38-37 lead. KM got even at 43-all on a basket by Floyd with three minutes remaining, and went on top 46-43 on a bucket by Sanders with 2:14 left.
Ashbrook regained the lead at 48-46 on a bucket by Jashuan Clark with 1:13 remaining but Brown’s baseline runner knotted the score at 48-all with 1:13 to play. Ashbrook was whistled for a charge with a minute left but got the ball back following a KM missed shot. The Green Wave was running the clock down for a last shot of their own but Smith made the steal of the game to set up a time out and Floyd’s late heroics.
The girls’ game was just as close and exciting in the first three periods, but Ashbrook proved itself to be a championship contender by dominating the fourth quarter.
After KM got off to a 5-3 lead on two baskets by Khalia King, the visitors got on track and led 18-15 at the quarter break. Consecutive threes by King got the KM ladies back on top 21-19 but Ashbrook answered with buckets by Tori Brooks and Madison Cole to regain the lead at 23-21. The visitors wouldn’t trail again.
Down 37-26 at the half, KM rallied behind buckets by King, CoRey Simpson and Alayna Patrick to pull to within 38-33 heading into the fourth period. Ashbrook began pressing on defense and turned the game into a rout.
King led the KM scoring with 13 points. Simpson had a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds. Patrick added seven points, Bell two and Myracle Davis four.