Wake Forest High’s Dexter Lawrence, who is enrolled at Clemson, was named a first-team Parade Magazine All-American on Friday.
Lawrence was joined by fellow in-state players Rico Dowdle (South Carolina recruit) of Asheville’s A.C. Reynolds and East Lincoln quarterback Chazz Surrat (UNC), who was national player of the year.
NCHSAA format: The NCHSAA confirmed its format for the boys and girls basketball playoffs, which begin in two weeks. The first week will have first, second and third round games at the higher seeds on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The second week, a change from years past, will play the fourth-round game the following Tuesday at the higher seed unless “there is an expressed concern relative to seating capacity” in which case “the NCHSAA will assist in determining if the fourth round game must be moved to a neutral high school gym.
The regional finals are still on that Saturday, with the East going to Fayetteville and the West splitting sites in Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
EPIC swimming: On Tuesday, Grace Christian Raleigh’s boys and The O’Neal School’s girls won Eastern Plains Independent 2A conference championships
Collectively, the O’Neal boys and girls took first place in 12 of the 22 total events. The girls finished with 228 points, 47 points higher than second-place St. David’s and 61 points higher than third-place Grace Christian.
“They were quite prepared, they’ve been training hard all season and this is for some of them their last meet,” O’Neal coach Susanne Cooper said. “They knew what they had to do today and they did it.”
Along with two relay teams, Elizabeth Henry, Hannah Burns and Fiona Duffy earned six combined first place finished in individual events.
Three different teams held leads in the boys standings with the first being O’Neal, which led until Cary Christian overtook it 109-103.
Cary Christian held that lead until the the final three events, when Grace Christian took first place in the 400-yard freestyle relay, Christian Lauffer and Eric Jordan took first and third in the 100-yard backstroke and Ryan Wahlers and Landon Lauffer took second and third in the 100-yard breaststroke behind Trinity Academy Raleigh’s Riley Voth (1:04.44) to finish with 201 points.
It was just three points higher than Cary Christian and 10 points higher than O’Neal.
Ashley Clark: Panther Creek High and Campbell University graduate Ashley Clark has signed a professional women’s soccer contract with Tierps IF in Sweden. Clark finished second all-time in Campbell goals (46) and points (114).
JoCo hall of fame: The Johnston County Athletic Hall of Fame recently announced the five selections who will soon be inducted as its Class of 2016.
The inductees are Susan Wall (Corinth Holders), Twana Jeter Johnson (North Johnston), Kenneth “Deacon” Jones (Princeton), Aldostin Eugene “Al” Byrd Jr. (Smithfield-Selma) and James Robert “Jim” Laughter Jr. (Johnston County at-large selection).
The Hall of Fame banquet is set for March 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the West Johnston cafeteria.
Wall, who grew up in the Corinth Holders community in northern Johnston County, is a 1987 graduate of Smithfield-Selma High. She starred in three sports for the Spartans, earning letters in volleyball, basketball and softball all four years at SSS. She followed that up with an athletic career at UNC-Pembroke.
Johnson was also a three-sport athlete, at North Johnston High, but she stood out the most on the basketball court. She remains among the top North Johnston basketball players in program history. Johnson went on to play at Mount Olive College.
Jones graduated in 1958 from Princeton High, where he contributed to the Bulldogs’ championship teams in baseball and basketball. Jones was also an active member of the Princeton community.
Byrd saw much success academically and athletically at Smithfield-Selma High, where he graduated in 1986. He was a football, basketball and track standout for the Spartans and went on to play football at N.C. State..
While Laughter played football and baseball at SSS, where he graduated in 1965, he also made an immeasurable impact on all sports in Johnston County as the 28-year sports editor for The Smithfield Herald.
NCHSAA swimming & diving: The Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary hosts the NCHSAA swimming state championships this weekend. With prelims in the morning and the finals starting at 4:45 p.m., the 4A championships are Thursday, 3A on Friday and 1A/2A on Saturday.
The diving competitions in each class are held the previous day at Pullen Aquatic Center in Raleigh.
NCHSAA wrestling regionals: The NCHSAA wrestling regionals are this Friday and Saturday. Area teams will travel to Princeton (1A East), Croatan (2A East), Wheatmore (2A Mideast), Corinth Holders (3A East), Morehead (3A Mideast), Cary (4A Mideast) and Southwest Guilford (4A Midwest). Tournament action start at approximately at 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.
All-Star basketball: Apex’s Ian Boyd and Voyager Academy’s Jay Huff were named to team North Carolina in the Carolinas All-Star Basketball Classic, Mar. 19 at Socastee (S.C.) High. South Johnston coach David Dewey is the team’s assistant coach.
On the girls’ side, Knightdale’s Mikayla Wilson, East Wake’s Angel Rizor, Rosewood’s Lexi Mercer and Eastern Wayne’s Naheria Hamilton made the girls’ team.
Shrine Bowl coaches: Orange’s Pat Moser will be an assistant coach the 2016 N.C. Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas assistant coaches. Moser’s Panthers have won at least 11 games in each of the last four seasons.
Demski reaches 2,000: Trinity Academy Raleigh senior Kristi Demski scored her 2,000th point last week for the Tigers. She’s averaging 24.9 points per game.
Eanes reaches 1,000: Northwood junior Kristian Eanes became the fastest in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark. The 20-3 Chargers are tied for first place in the Big 8 3A girls basketball standings. Eanes is averaging 13.5 points per game.
SSS finds comfort in its gym: Smithfield-Selma’s basketball teams played their first home games since Dec. 17 and went 3-0 last week with Two Rivers 3A wins against Western Harnett, South Johnston and Cleveland in overtime.
Lighting issues with new lights at the gym have forced changes in the SSS schedule since the start of 2016. SSS interim athletic director Lori Rose said that the new lights which were sent to the school were the wrong style and didn’t light the gym enough.
Milhouse shines in NFLPA Collegiate Bowl: Garner grad Greg Milhouse was one of the highest graded players coming out of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, according to Pro Football Focus. Milhouse, a defensive tackle from Campbell University, had two hurries and a batted down pass in the game, which featured some of the prospects for the 2016 NFL Draft.
He would be Campbell’s first NFL Draft pick if selected.
Baker III honored: Retiring Southeast Raleigh boys basketball coach John Baker III was honored on Tuesday before a home game with Rolesville. Southeast planned the ceremony with the cooperation of Rolesville athletics director and boys basketball coach Tommy Moore.
Moore and Baker go back to their high school days of playing against one another at Enloe and Sanderson respectively.
“It’s hard to shock me, but this was a total surprise,” Baker said. “It was really nice. With Tommy, there’s a lot of love there. He’s like me, he loves the kids and he loves coaching.”
Baker, who Southeast athletics director Keith Boddie calls “the original Bulldog,” has been the varsity boys basketball coach since the school opened in the fall of 1997.
“He’s been a big part of this community and school. He’s been the mentor for a lot of young men who have come through here. He’s taught them a lot and he’s taught me a lot. And he hasn’t lost one bit of his fire,” Boddie said. “Whether on the court, in the classroom or in the community he’s still got it.”
Jonas Pope IV and D. Clay Best contributed.