High school roundup: Cleveland’s Sterling Johnson picks Clemson

tstevens@newsobserver.comMay 13, 2014 

Cleveland High’s Sterling Johnson, one of the top defensive line prospects in the country, committed to Clemson on Tuesday night.

Johnson, 6-foot-5, 281 pounds, has offers from most SEC and ACC schools and is ranked among the top 10 defensive end prospects.

He tweeted Tuesday night, “I would to thank all the schools who have offered but, It’s official, I am verbally committed to Clemson university ! #Tigers”

Tennessee had been considered the leader for Johnson.

NCHSAA tennis: Cardinal Gibbons, which dominated the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A individual championships Saturday, had no trouble cruising into the dual-team semifinals Tuesday with a 9-0 victory against Western Guilford in Burlington.

The Crusaders (23-4) dropped four games in the six singles matches.

“We looked pretty sharp,” Gibbons coach Andrew Tuttle said.

Chapel Hill’s quarterfinal match with Southern Nash was postponed because of bus problems. They will play Wednesday with the winner facing Gibbons on Thursday.

Millbrook advanced with a 6-0 victory against Wilmington Hoggard and will play Wakefield in the 4A semifinals.

NCISAA tennis: Durham Carolina Friends, the No. 10 seed, defeated second-seeded Gaston Day 5-4 to advance to the 2A semifinals. Friends will play either Kinston Parrott or Southern Pines O’Neal at 4:30 Friday.

Cary Academy beat Cannon School in the second round of the 3A tournament. Cary Academy will face rival Durham Academy in the semifinals at 10 a.m. Friday.

NCHSAA softball: Freshman second baseman Brianna Smith hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth as Fuquay-Varina rallied past East Wake 3-2 in the first round of the state 4A playoffs.

The Bengals (16-4) trailed 1-0 but got singles by Kaitlin Smith and Logan Bowling before Smith drilled a 2-0 pitch into the trees beyond the left-centerfield fence.

Cassidy Keith struck out five and gave up one earned run in five innings for Fuquay, with Kaitlin Smith pitching one-hit ball in two innings for the save.

Middle Creek, the top-ranked area team for much of the season, battered Wakefield 11-1 in the first round of the 4A playoffs. The Mustangs (17-2) slipped to No. 2 this week behind Wake Forest.

Lauren Mabrey of Garner pitched a four-hitter in a 9-0 victory against Green Hope and Alisha Josie hit a home run. West Johnston upended sixth-ranked Apex 5-2 and Fayetteville Cape Fear (22-0) crushed Holly Springs 14-1.

Heritage, a fourth seed from the Cap Eight 4A, knocked off PAC Six No. 1 Person 17-6.

South Johnston, the top 3A seed in the East and No. 10 in the N&O, blanked Fayetteville Byrd 1-0.

South Granville, No. 11 in the N&O, shut out Ayden-Grifton 6-0 in 2A.

NCHSAA baseball: A showdown between UNC-bound senior Brett Daniels of Fuquay-Varina and N.C. State-bound junior Cole Hart of Harnett Central came down to one pivotal inning when Central sent 15 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth.

The Trojans cranked out five consecutive hits, seven total, and scored on two errors to take a 9-0 lead.

Logan Ritchie, Hart and Trey Gledhill each had two RBIs in the 9-3 win. Ethan Barry, Cade Honeycutt each added one.

Panther Creek’s Josh Maciejewski struck out 11 and allowed two hits in a 4-0 first-round victory against Garner. Maciejewski and Garner’s Brighton Hudson were in a scoreless duel until the Catamounts scored one in the fifth. They added three in the sixth.

Green Hope, No. 1 in the N&O rankings, shut out Broughton 5-0 and will play Millbrook, a 7-4 winner over Northern Durham. Heritage erased a three-run deficit in the seventh to claim a 5-4 victory against Durham Riverside. Harnett Central topped error-plagued Fuquay-Varina 9-3.

West Johnston was eliminated by Richmond County 6-3, and Holly Springs lost to Fayetteville Cape Fear (24-1) in the bottom of the seventh inning 4-3.

South Johnston’s Joseph Johnson struck out 13 in a 3-0 victory against Northern Vance in 3A.

NCHSAA soccer: Leesville Road, New Bern, Durham Jordan and Millbrook escaped the first round of the girls playoffs with shutouts. Leesville, which blanked Athens Drive 3-0, will play New Bern, a 2-0 winner against Greenville Rose.

Millbrook, a 1-0 winner against New Hanover, will face Jordan, a 1-0 winner against Wilmington Laney.

Fuquay-Varina shut out Clayton 4-0.

NCISAA golf: St. David’s finished second in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 2A championship. The Warriors trailed winning High Point Westchester 585-594. St. David’s Preston Ball (142) finished fourth.

Arden Christ School topped Forsyth Country Day 586-590 in 3A. Ravenscroft’s John Landers tied for fourth (142).

Burlington School dominated 1A play, topping second-place Hickory Christian 642-725. Dustin Blank was medalist with a 152.

NCHSAA golf: Cole Jefferys of SouthWest Edgecombe shot 3-under 68 to win medalist honors in the state 2A boys’ championships at Longleaf Golf and Country Club.

Jefferys finished with 36-hole score of 3-under 139. Newton-Conover won its second consecutive 2A title with a 306.

Kernersville Bishop McGuinness won its fourth consecutive 1A title at Whispering Pines. The Villains finished with a 595 for a 24-stroke victory against East Surry. Tanner Owen of McGuinness won the individual title with a 142.

Will Blalock of Gastonia Forestview won his second consecutive 3A title with a 142. Forestview won its third straight championship.

Bill Woodward, J. Mike Blake and Lee Montgomery contributed to this story.

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