Durham Hillside girls basketball coach Ovester Grays said his team is one of the most talented that he has ever coached. He is unsure of how many games it will win.
“It always comes back to chemistry and synergy,” Grays said. “Will we be stronger as a team than we are individually? If we can become a team, I think this team compares to our 2009 team that played for the state championship.
“But if we don’t become a team, we’re going to be a group of outstanding players.”
The Hornets open their season on Tuesday at Greensboro Dudley and Grays said he is eager to see how the team plays together in a competitive environment.
Only four players are back from last year’s 24-5 varsity team that reached the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs. But others have stepped in.
The three Powell sisters – seniors 5-foot-10 Brianna and 5-4 Brittany and 5-7 sophomore Victoria – transferred to Hillside from Cary Academy, which was 22-6 last year though Brianna missed time with an anterior cruciate ligament tear.
Amanda Lawrence, a 6-foot junior, transferred from Durham Academy.
Zuri White, 5-foot-10 and the leading scorer at Northern Durham last year, has enrolled along with 5-foot-5 sophomore point guard Malaysia Lancaster, who was at Greene Central.
They join veterans 5-foot-9 Justine Lyon, 5-foot-11 Tykyrah Williams, 5-foot-9 Mya Webb and 6-foot Kharah Herring. Distributing playing time will be key, Grays said.
The 2009 team had similar talent and pulled together. Ten of that team’s 12 players received Division I basketball scholarship offers, Grays said.
The past two years, Millbrook was able to blend a team of stars, including eight scholarship players, into a team that won the state 4A title.
“Players can come together into a team,” Grays said. “We’re still working on it.”
Classified boys lacrosse: The N.C. High School Athletic Association is expected to expand its boys lacrosse championships in the spring. The NCHSAA currently has an open championship in which schools from all classifications play.
Next spring, the NCHSAA is expected to have a 4A tournament and a separate tournament for 3A/2A/1A.
No classification in girls lacrosse is expected until more schools begin fielding teams.
Ejection policy: The NCHSAA board of directors is expected to review its ejection policy in the wake of procedural problems with a Southern Vance football player last week.
A Southern Vance player was ejected from a game against Franklinton on Nov. 8, but the school was not officially notified that the player had been ejected in a timely manner.
NCHSAA players can be ejected for sportsmanship issues, but can be disqualified for various reasons. Disqualified players do not have to sit out games.
Southern Vance had not been notified of the ejection until after the Raiders had beaten South Columbus 12-5 in the first round of the playoffs.
The NCHSAA did not notify Southern Vance of the ejection because the NCHSAA had not been notified by game officials.
The Southern Vance player was ineligible, but played, which usually results in a forfeit.
NCHSAA commissioner Davis Whitfield ruled that since Southern Vance had not received notification before the game that the player was ejected, the school did not have to forfeit. South Columbus appealed to the NCHSAA executive committee and later to the full board.
The executive committee and the full board upheld Whitfield’s ruling.
Scoring explosion: The Granville Central boys basketball team opened its season with a 101-48 win over Western Vance and a 98-38 win over Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School in Holister.
Haliwa-Saponi Tribal is a charter school in Hollister, which is between Warrenton and Rocky Mount. More than 90 percent of its students are Native American.
Record book: Currituck senior wide receiver Dakwon Foreman caught 11 passes for an NCHSAA-record 360 yards in a 27-23 first-round playoff victory over Hertford.
Red Springs’ Blake Greene finished his career third all-time in the NCHSAA total offense category, throwing for 9,036 yards and rushing for another 2,780.
In addition, Greene placed third all-time in touchdown responsibility with 151, which included 102 touchdown passes, 47 rushing scores and a pair of TDs on defense.