In the nightcap of the inaugural Greater Metro 4A conference tournament semifinal, it was the No.1 seed, Cox Mill (18-6; 11-1) vs. the No. 4 seed, Lake Norman (15-10; 5-7). For Cox Mill, coached by Ty Cox, they have already secured the No. 1 seed from the Greater Metro 4A conference. As for Lake Norman, coached by Grant Hodges, it’s win or go home scenario. Lake Norman must win the conference tournament championship to guarantee a spot in the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs.
Playing in a great atmosphere, Lake Norman squeezed out a thrilling, exciting, and entertaining 61-59 win to advance to the conference tournament championship against the No. 3 seed, West Cabarrus. The game went back and forth with multiple lead changes throughout the game. At the half, the score was knotted up 29-29. Both coaches made major adjustments during the course of the game and the “chess-like” approach by coach Ty Johnson and Grant Hodges was a textbook of excellent coaching at the high school level. This game like any high school game had its fair share of missed calls throughout, but the demeanor of both coaching staffs simply shows the quality of leadership and coaching both staffs displayed.
Trailing 59-57, 6’4 junior Cole Callaway drove the baseline for an old fashion 3-point play, where he was fouled, made the basket and the “an one” free throw to take the lead (60-59). Both teams simply laid it on the line and should be complimented on one of the most entertaining games of the season. Lake Norman had four players that scored in double digit scoring. 6’5 senior Davis Wagner led the way with 20 points and four rebounds. 6’5 freshman Tre McKinnon, who is one of the top freshmen in the state for his class, had a “double double” game of 13 points and 10 rebounds. In addition 6’4 junior Cole Callaway and 6’7 freshman Trent Steinhour both finished with 10 points apiece. Leading the way for Cox Mill was 6’2 senior Marcus Morgan with 22 points, including seven rebounds while 6’4 senior Rasheed Baldwin chipped in 11 points, including three 3-pointers for the game, while 5’9 senior CJ Wilson finished with eight points, six rebounds and three assists. Now, let’s take a closer look at the standout players and moments from the game.
6’5 ‘22 Davis Wagner (Lake Norman)
Phenom’s own Tyler Lewis stated it best, “Davis Wagner did what seniors are supposed to do. He was the MVP of the game for Lake Norman. Wagner made big time plays throughout the game and has the ability to stretch the floor with his shooting abilities. He can finish over both shoulders as he had a team high 20 points and four rebounds.”
6’5 ’25 Tre McKinnon (Lake Norman)
If Davis Wagner was game MVP, freshman Tre McKinnon wasn’t far behind. The long, slender and athletic wing finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He is ultra-quick off the bounce and his length and quick leaping ability enabled him to secure timely rebounds for put-back points.
6’4 ’23 Cole Callaway (Lake Norman)
It wasn’t the vintage Cole Callaway game, but he stepped up in the closing seconds with a strong baseline move that led to the made basket and go ahead free throw. Tyler Lewis stated, “Callaway continues to improve his all around game. Finished with the game winner with a nice take to the basket.”
6’7 ’25 Trent Steinhour (Lake Norman)
While Tre McKinnon has gotten the majority of publicity as a freshman and rightfully so, coach Grant Hodges has brought Trent Steinhour along patiently and inserted him into the starting lineup late in the season. Steinhour responded with a workmanlike game of 10 points and six rebounds. Look for big things for the promising freshman.
6’2 ’22 Marcus Morgan (Cox Mill)
What a performance by the senior guard, Marcus Morgan. He finished with 22 points including seven rebounds. Tyler Lewis stated, “Morgan was tremendous for Cox Mill. He did an excellent job of getting to the rim and finishing through contact. Morgan rebounds extremely well for his size and position.”
6’4 ’22 Rasheed Baldwin (Cox Mill)
Rasheed Baldwin has good size at the shooting guard position. He has excellent range and showcased his touch by knocking down three 3-pointers for the game. Baldwin’s ability to score will be important as Cox Mill hopes to make a deep playoff run in the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs.
5’9 ’22 CJ Wilson (Cox Mill)
CJ Wilson has been the heart and soul for this talented Cox Mill teams. He’s strong, tough and resilience. Wilson just does so many things well for coach Ty Johnson. Wilson finished with a solid all- around game of eight points, six rebounds, and three assists.