Only eight miles separates North Mecklenburg and Vance. On Thursday night, Vance made the trip to North Mecklenburg. It was North Mecklenburg’s Senior Night, and they were ready to honor those seniors from the opening possession.
Davidson commit, Chris Ford, set the tone early, scoring seven points in the first quarter. He knocked down the midrange jumper, and later converted on the and-one as he drilled the turnaround jumper in the post. His ability to beat you from different areas of the court make him a tough cover. In addition, he is an exceptional passer who make the right plays for his team.
North Mecklenburg jumped out to a 19-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter started with Vance’s Daniel Sanford beginning to find a rhythm. Sanford scored 10 of his 16 points in the second quarter. He started by connecting on the right hook from the right block. He then grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast and euro-stepped around the defense for the layup. Sanford is so strong and explosive. Mix that with his ability to finish at the rim and created off the bounce, make him a prospect that many college coaches are seeking after.
But just when Vance started to make a run, North Mecklenburg turned it up another notch. Their backcourt of Davion Cunningham, Jordan Crawford, Tony Waters, and Maxwell Coles does an outstanding job of pressuring the ball and playing great help team defense. They are all connected and disrupt the rhythm of their opponents.
North Mecklenburg’s Jeremy Gregory also got in on the action by almost recording a double-double in the first half with eight points and eight rebounds (He finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds). Gregory got started as he connected on the catch and shoot midrange jumper at the foul line. He has great touch around the basket and the midrange. Later, he made a beautiful touch pass off the rebound to an open teammate under the basket.
North Mecklenburg extended their lead to 37-23 going into halftime.
Again in the third quarter, there were moments when Vance seemed like they might make a run as Nick Dorn knocked down two three-pointers in the quarter and Kendall Smith finished at the basket off of explosive drives. But North Mecklenburg would continue to answer. Chris Ford scored 10 of his 22 points in the third quarter. He connected on a smooth spin move off the right block and finished with the right-handed hook shot. In addition, he was getting to the foul line at a high rate where he shoots it really well. North Mecklenburg extended the lead to 21 points and led 58-37 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, we saw Vance’s Corey Gaines connect on two of his three three-pointers for the game, and Daniel Sanford also showcased his ability to stretch the floor and knock down the perimeter shot.
But again, the depth of North Mecklenburg makes them difficult to beat. Jeremy Gregory exploded in the fourth quarter for 12 of his 22 points. In addition, senior guard Tony Waters was spectacular all night. He almost finished with a double-double of 9 points and 8 assists. He did a tremendous job of creating off the bounce and making plays for his teammates.
North Mecklenburg held on for the 81-60 victory and improves to 7-0 on the season.
Final Stats: North Mecklenburg
Jeremy Gregory – 22P, 12R, 1A, 2S
Chris Ford – 22P, 7R, 2A, 1B
Jordan Crawford – 15P, 6R, 1A, 3S
Tony Waters – 9P, 4R, 8A, 2S
Davion Cunningham – 8P, 3R, 2A
Maxwell Coles – 2P, 2R, 1B
Joshua McClary – 2P, 4R
McCall Johnson – 1P
Final Stats: Vance
Daniel Sanford – 16P, 8R, 3A, 4B
Kendall Smith – 12P, 4R, 3A, 2S
Nick Dorn – 11P, 1R, 1A
Corey Gaines – 11P, 1R
Maurio Hanson – 7P, 5R, 1S
Anthony Moore – 2P, 3R, 1B, 1S
James Pearce – 1P, 2R