Garner High boys basketball coach Eddie Gray won The Associated Press’ boys basketball coach of the year award last week, capping an incredible season for the veteran coach.
Gray’s Trojans won the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championship with a 60-54 victory over Charlotte Kell. To get to the final, the Trojans had to avenge their only loss of the season. They beat Millbrook, 84-81, in the eastern regional finals.
“It was a very special year,” Gray said. “It was very gratifying. We didn’t have a big star. None of the guys is getting a lot of recruiting mail and you don’t go to our game to see all the big-time college coaches who are there scouting.
“But we became a team. We were much better together than we could have ever been apart. Julius Barnes is a great leader, but our guys became great followers, and leaders in their own way. It did my heart good to see how they came together -- pulling for each other, wanting the other guy to succeed.”
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An all-time Gray all-star team would be formidable with former players Donald Williams (1991, the 1993 NCAA Final Four MVP), all-NBA picks David West (1998) and John Wall (2006), plus European professional James Mays (2004).
But Gray’s club won this year with a balanced attack.
“We had a bunch of blue-collar guys to worked very hard and learned to care for one another,” said Gray, a 1970 Garner graduate who built a 452-202 record with 14 conference titles in 26 years.
Montverde title: Montverde (Fla.) Academy defeated Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill 70-61 to win the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals boys basketball tournament on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Montverde was led by 6-9 LSU recruit Ben Simmons (20 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists) and finished 31-1. Montverde is 107-7 over the past four seasons.
Oak Hill finished 47-1.
Greensboro Day was beaten in the first round of the 16-team tournament 50-34 by Montverde.
Miami (Fla.) Country Day beat Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard 57-41 in the girls championship game.
Cary wrestlers: Cary’s Will Clark finished fifth in the 132-pound class to win All-America wrestling honors last weekend at the Flo Nationals at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Clark dropped close matches to wrestlers who finished third and fourth in the event.
Cary’s Kollin Wade had a top 12 finish at 138 pounds.
Viking softball: South Granville has registered shut outs in its four softball victories this season, building a 73-0 scoring advantage in the wins. The Vikings lost the only game in which it didn’t notch a shutout, falling to Bunn 5-4.
Gibbons get pitching: The Cardinal Gibbons softball team nipped Northwood 1-0 in 10 innings last Tuesday and topped the Chargers 8-1 on Thursday. Gibbons has allowed two runs in seven games and has out-scored its opposition 68-2.
Freshman pitcher Clare Zureich has allowed one earned run and has struck out 77 batters in 37 innings.
Vaiden Whitley reunion: Former athletes who played for Coach Bobby Height at Vaiden Whitley High are holding a reunion on April 25. Vaiden Whitley was replaced by East Wake High. Contack Winston Pair (919 614-2596) or Randy Wall (919 610-9103).