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SoMeck 4A girls have title aspirations
Ardrey Kell, Catholic and Harding are favorites
 
Published Wednesday, February 12, 2014 12:07 pm
by Herbert L White

Next week’s SoMeck 4A girls’ basketball tournament might be the most competitive in the county with Ardrey Kell, Charlotte Catholic and Harding each capable of winning the title. 

Ardrey Kell (19-4, 13-0) is perfect in league play while Catholic’s only losses (15-7, 7-2) have been to the Knights. Harding’s (12-6, 7-3) lost twice to Ardrey Kell and once to Catholic, but has won the last two N.C. 4A championships.

“We definitely plan on making a run again like we did last year,” Rams coach Anthony Jones said. 

“There’s a lot of depth, a lot of athletic teams and the top has been very good,” Charlotte Catholic coach Robert Conrad said. “Those three teams are a tough out and it’s going to be a fun tournament.”

Harding has experience on its side with seniors Myicha Drakeford, who averages 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game and Brianna Hamrick (16.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg) in the frontcourt. The backcourt tandem of freshman twins Shemeka (10 points an outing) and Shareka McNeil. (7.7 ppg) have given the Rams a jolt of energy as well.

“We’ve got some of our bench back and our team has grown a little bit,” Jones said. “We’ve just got to get familiar with the (play) book, get familiar with the roles. We’re doing a little bit of adjustment, but February is our month. That’s when we do our best stuff.”

They’ll have to contend with Ardrey Kell, which has two nonconference losses to 21-1 Myers Park. The Knights, who have four players averaging at least eight points per game, are winning with offensive balance and defense. The key next week is to remain consistent throughout the postseason. 

“It’s never an easy walk,” Knights coach Jennifer McVicker said. “You’ve got to keep prepared to do the little things. If we stick to the basic fundamentals of what we do and stay with that, we’ll be OK.”

Erin Whalen leads Ardrey Kell in scoring with 9.9 points per game, followed by Marshae Bradbury and Raven Dean at 8.6 each. Jordan Muhammad adds another 8.2 points to the mix. 

Catholic has been a surprise in its first 4A campaign. The Cougars one of Mecklenburg County’s most prolific shooters in senior guard Sophie Rossitch, who averages 19.3 points and 1.9 assists per game. On Monday, in a 63-56 loss to Ardrey Kell, Rossitch dropped 30 points on the Knights despite a revolving door of defenders trying to stop her.

“She’s a really good player,” McVicker said. “We tried to make her work for her shots.”

To spring a tournament upset, Rossitch will need some help on the offensive end, but the Cougars are capable in a one-and-done scenario. 

 “I think we realize that when we play at our best, we can play with anybody,” Conrad said. “I think it’s going to be a fun week.”

 

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