Wake Forest defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence was voted the AP high school defensive player of the year high for North Carolina by a panel of 18 statewide voters. This is the first year the AP has had a defensive and offensive player of the year award instead of an overall player of the year award.
Lawrence is the first Wake County athlete to earn a player of the year award from the AP since Garner’s Anthony Barbour in 1987.
The much-ballyhooed Clemson recruit controlled the line of scrimmage for a program that went to two state title games before going 12-1 this season. He had 91 tackles and 21 for loss to go with 14 sacks.
He was ranked the nation's No. 2 overall player by Rivals.com, No. 3 by 247Sports.com and No. 4 by Scout.com and was the consensus No. 1 recruit in North Carolina. He was selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl pick.
East Lincoln quarterback Chazz Surratt, a North Carolina recruit, was the offensive player of the year.
All-everything Orange senior Bryse Wilson was the Triangle’s only other selection the all-state football team. Wilson, a North Carolina baseball recruit, was great at six positions this year and made the team as an “athlete” instead of a traditional position.
He started the year at a wide receiver (16 catches, 303 yards, four TDs) until the quarterback was hurt, so he played QB (24 of 49 passing, 556 yards, five TDs, no interceptions) until the running back got hurt, and moved there (1,024 yards, eight TDs) for the rest of the year.
When the punter went down, he boomed touchbacks and punts. He played linebacker and safety (93 tackles, 22 for loss, six sacks, two interceptions) as well. He also had a whopping eight blocked kicks (five punts), single-handedly more than a majority of teams have altogether.
Area basketball tournaments
323 Sports Invitational: Cary Academy’s Tylor Moore scored nine points in the closing minutes to lift the host Chargers to a 49-46 victory against Virginia’s Norfolk Academy. The Chargers erased a 15-point deficit on Moore’s game-winning 3 with 4.4 seconds to go to win 49-46.
The Cary Christian girls also had a comeback and a last-second shot, but didn’t come away with the win. Fayetteville Christian pulled out a 71-64 win against the Knights in overtime. Cary Christian had forced overtime after erasing a nine-point deficit, sending the game into overtime on a Marie Thompson 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Grace Smith had 27 points while teammate Emily Clarkson recorded a double-double for Cary Christian, amassing 14 points and 12 rebounds.
South Granville Invitational: Two Triangle teams were undone in the championships of the South Granville Holiday Invitational basketball tournament as it concluded Wednesday night.
In the Columbia bracket title, Green Hope was outmatched by Fayetteville’s Village Christian 76-51. Afterward, in the Navy bracket title, Northern Durham fell to Mountain Mission, a prep school out of Virginia, 69-64.
Green Hope (10-4) couldn’t keep the pace with the Knights, but the tournament was a success for the Falcons after defeating Jordan 59-57 in the semifinals and Burlington’s Cummings High 57-51 in the first round.
Mountain Mission didn’t lack talent or size, as evidenced by 6-foot-11 West Virginia recruit Maciej Bender (23 points) and highly-recruited 6-foot-6 Harold Baruti (19). That allowed the Challengers to jump out to a 22-7 lead after the first quarter on a flustered Northern team.
But the Knights (10-2) showed the size of their grit, winning the second and third quarters to enter the final period down 43-40.
Northern tied the game 45-all with 6:55 on the clock in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t quite take a lead. Tajh Small (15 points) and Timothy Bell (13) made the all-tournament team for Northern.
Yellow Jacket Basketball Classic: Carter Collins scored 37 points as East Chapel Hill claimed the championship of the Yellow Jacket Holiday Basketball Classic defeating Landon School (Md.) 83-60 on Wednesday night.
Collins, a junior, scored 99 points in victories over Northwood, Union Pines and Landon to earn tournament MVP honors. East’s Clay Watkins and Jonathan Runyambo were also named to the all-tournament team.
After Collins scored 24 in the first half, the Bears tried double-teaming East’s leading scorer in the second half to no avail. Collins finished with six assists and seven rebounds as the Wildcats (11-1) earned its first holiday championship since winning the Yellow Jacket Classic in 2008.
In the girls’ championship, Northwood’s Kristian Eanes hit a 3-pointer from the wing with 10 seconds remaining to give Northwood a 52-49 victory over host Lee County.
Moments earlier, the Yellow Jackets had taken a 49-47 lead off a 3-pointer from Shantel Bennett with 23 seconds left. Lee County had a chance to win, but was called for an illegal screen with seconds left.
All-tournament picks Bennett and Amoria Neal-Tyson led Lee County (9-3) with 19 and 14 points, respectively.
Jazanae Billings had 12 points for Northwood and was named MVP. She was joined by Eanes and Jazmine Atkins on the all-tournament team.
Bunn Christmas Tournament: Corinth Holders’ boys basketball team has a penchant for close games this year, and it continued with a 55-51 victory against Wakefield in the tournament title game. The Pirates have now seen six games determined by four points or less, but Tuesday’s game was just the second win.
The Pirates’ (7-5) Brian Frazier was tournament MVP.
In the girls’ title, host Bunn (7-2) repeated its tournament title by defeated the Corinth Holders girls (7-5). Precious Walker had 20 points for the Wildcats while MVP Bernadette Cooke had 28 – 17 of them in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland Classic: State 2A power Kinston blew by host Cleveland in the Cleveland Classic’s girls championship game 70-36, just the second loss this season for the Rams (10-2). Malaysia Lancaster (21 points) and Jada Faison (17 points) were named co-MVPs.
In the boys’ title, Sanderson used its size to defeat Nash Central 54-35. The Spartans’ (8-4) Taj Thompson was named tournament MVP.
Eastern Guilford Invitational: The Roxboro Community girls (10-2) finished runner-up in a 63-37 loss in the Eastern Guilford title game. Knightdale (11-2) won the boys’ third-place game 99-60 against J.F. Webb.
Sheetz Holiday Classic: Panther Creek (9-4) won the girls’ silver bracket in the Sheetz Holiday Christmas Classic at Southwest Guilford by defeating High Point Central, Camden Valley (Australia) and Southern Guilford in consecutive days.
Ian Pierno, Jeff Hamlin, Michael Held and Geoff Neville contributed.
AP all-state football team
Number of votes in parentheses
QB: Chazz Surratt, East Lincoln (10)*
RB: B.J. Emmons, Freedom (13)
RB: Tre Harbison, Crest (11)
WR: Jayden Borders, Shelby (13)
WR: Sage Surratt, East Lincoln (11)
WR: Cornell Powell, J.H. Rose (9)
TE: Thad Moss, Mallard Creek (9)
TE: Garrett Walston, New Hanover (9)
OL: Eric Douglas, Mallard Creek (16)
OL: Harrison Gee, Williams (14)
OL: Sean Pollard, Pinecrest (12)
OL: Pete Leota, Asheville (10)
OL: Alex Gourley, South Iredell (5)
ATH: Aapri Washington, Mountain Island Charter (3)
ATH: Bryse Wilson, Orange (3)
*Offensive player of the year.
DL: Dexter Lawrence, Wake Forest (16)*
DL: Zachary Pressley, Dudley (12)
DL: Nick Coe, Asheboro (10)
DL: Dre Bell, Kings Mountain (7)
LB: Josh Brown, Mallard Creek (10)
LB: Tharon Ingram, Mallard Creek (7)
LB: Xander Gagnon, Charlotte Catholic (5)
LB: Dax Hollifield, Shelby (5)
LB: Aaron Ramseur, Crest (5)
DB: Desmen Robinson, Monroe (12)
DB: Jarvis Hutchins, East Rutherford (9)
DB: Marquill Osborne, Hough (8)
DB: Diondre Overton, Page (6)
K: Keith Duncan, Weddington (17)
P: Austin Kent, Providence (13)
KR: Daniel Graves, Graham (10)
*Defensive player of the year.