HS Rewind: Worry or not, North Meck’s Duane Lewis has built a dynasty in Huntersville

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North Mecklenburg High boys basketball coach Duane Lewis, whose team beat Vance 81-60 Friday, is a bit of a worry-wart.

And this is after Lewis has won hundreds of games, two state championships and now seven straight regular-season conference championships. The Vikings, the reigning co-state champions (more on that later) have won six of the past seven conference tournament championships they’ve played in, losing only to West Charlotte a couple years ago when the Lions were led by a future No. 4 NBA lottery pick named Patrick Williams.

Oh, and the Vikings’ junior varsity is 96-1 in the past six seasons.

“I stress every day,” Lewis said. “My assistants are like, ‘What’s wrong with you.’ But I can find a way that we’re losing every game. That’s the pressure cooker and that’s what we signed up for and that’s what we embrace.”

In 1999, Lewis replaced legendary North Mecklenburg coach Leroy Holden, who led the Vikings to a state championship in 1987. Holden won more than 400 games and is in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

And all Lewis, Captain Worry, has done is built a better dynasty than the one Holden oversaw.

Under Lewis, North Mecklenburg has been consistently nationally ranked and consistently dominant, particularly in recent years. Turn on the TV and college basketball is full of Lewis’ former players -- Davion Mintz at Kentucky, Tristan Maxwell at Georgia Tech, Jae’Lyn Withers at Louisville.

“We try to zone in on that one game at a time,” Lewis said, “and I always tell our guys, ‘We want to be known as a championship team, and we get to put up another banner. That’s what we’re proud of. A state championship is icing on the cake, but winning any championship makes you feel good and helps leave a legacy.”

Friday night, North Meck jumped out to a 10-0 lead at home on Senior Night and led 19-8 after the first quarter. By the middle of the third, the Vikings (7-0) were ahead by 25. Junior center Jeremy Gregory (22 points, 12 rebounds) and senior Davidson recruit Chris Ford (22 points, seven rebounds) were among an army of Vikings posting big games.

Junior Jordan Crawford -- a star-in-the-making who has waited his turn -- had 15 points, six rebounds and three steals. Point guard Tony Waters had nine points, eight assists and four rebounds.

“It was a good win,” Ford said. “That’s a win we were trying to get all season. We started out good and kept playing our game, kept executing and that’s what got us the win.”

Ford and Gregory and several of the current Vikings were part of last season’s co-championship team. The Vikings were 30-1 after beating Olympic 86-78 in the state semifinals in HIckory.

That was in early March, just before the world shut down due to COVID-19. The N.C. High School Athletic Association canceled the state championship game. North Meck, which was heavily favored to win, was declared a co-state champ with Lumberton.

So the Vikings got the rings -- but not quite all the satisfaction.

“It was very disappointing to us,” Gregory said. “(Seniors Trayden Williams, Shamann Artis and Tristan Maxwell) never got a chance to play in the state championship game, so we wanted that for them. We had a great season and for us not to be able to play was kind of disheartening, but this year we hope we can go back to back and be able to play in the state championship game.”

And Gregory said he and his teammates want to put something else to bed in the state finals next month.

“I still hear some talk.,” he said. “’Oh were you guys gonna win? You guys are co-state champs.’ I’m ready to put that behind us and win the state championship so there can only be one winner. And as long as we keep playing for each other and keep our defense locked down and playing for our coach and our teammates and having a good mindset before every single game and executing, that’s a state championship right there. All we gotta do is keep doing what we’re doing now.”

No Mecklenburg County team has repeated as N.C. 4A public school state champions since West Charlotte did it in 1991, led by a future NBA pro named Jeff McInnis, and in 1992, led by a two-time Mecklenburg County player of the year named Thad Bonapart.

North Mecklenburg won the 2005 state championship and lost the 2006 final after star Jamie Skeen -- who would help Virginia Commonwealth make a memorable NCAA Tournament Final Four run in 2011 -- missed a game-winning shot attempt at the buzzer. Lewis would probably bet a year’s salary that Skeen was fouled.

“That was a rough one, that second one,” Lewis said. “I still have flashbacks to Skeen getting hammered. It would be a big deal to go back this year. But there’s a lot of good teams out there.”

The state tournament begins next Tuesday and the pairings come Sunday. Lewis knows his team will be a favorite, and he’s going to stress all the way. But it kind of comes with the territory when you’ve built the type of program he’s put together on Old Statesville Road.

“We talk about it a lot in practice,” Lewis said. “We’re trying to maintain what coach Holden set the precedent for. I want people to know when they play us that we play hard and we’re going to play the right way. Luckily, we have been winning and we want to keep on winning. I’ve had good players, good parents and the kids buy in. It isn’t for everyone. I’ve been blessed to have some really good players and really good role players, outside of that, who buy into what’s on the front of that jersey. That’s what we preach. It’s about North Meck. It isn’t about an individual. We’re playing for North Meck, our community and, you know, for our school.”

Photos below. If you cannot see them on mobile, click here

Thursday’s #BIG5 Boys Top Performers

Ben Burnham, Carmel Christian: 26 points, 21 rebounds in a 79-68 win over Rabun Gap in the second round of the NCISAA 4A playoffs. Carmel -- which got 26 points from Justin Taylor and 14 from Cade Tyson -- will host Charlotte Christian in the third round Saturday.

Graham Calton, Charlotte Latin: 21 points, eight rebounds in a 55-44 win over Metrolina Christian.

Kyle Frazier, Weddington: 16 points, 10 rebounds in a 64-36 win over Cuthbertson.

Jeremy Gregory, North Mecklenburg: 22 points, 12 rebounds in a 81-60 win over Vance. The Vikings are No. 2 in the Sweet 16.

DJ Nix, Cannon School: 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists in a 68-52 win over Covenant Day.

Thursday’s #BIG5 Girls Top Performers

Maddie Dillinger, Cuthbertson: team-high 16 points in a 50-36 win over Weddington. Weddington, No. 6 in the Sweet 16, trailed by 10 at the half.

Brooklin Ingram, Charlotte Country Day: game-high 19 points in a 62-40 win over Metrolina Christian.

Amhyia Moreland, Vance: post player had game-high 24 points in an 81-59 win over No. 10 North Mecklenburg. Vance is No. 1 in the Sweet 16.

Reigan Richardson, Cannon School: 30 points, 17 rebounds in a 57-36 win over Rabun Gap. Cannon will play Charlotte Christian in the state quarterfinals Saturday.

Blanca Thomas, Charlotte Catholic: 18 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks in a 58-31 win over Marvin Ridge.

Thursday’s Boys Boxscores

NO. 1 CARMEL CHRISTIAN 79, RABUN GAP 68

CCS: 19 25 20 15 79

RGS: 11 19 16 22 68

CCS: Ben Burnham 26, Cade Tyson 14, Justin Taylor 26, Bynum 3, Arias 3, Krawczyk 6

RGS: Reid Carrier 11, Manilonas 3, Thorpe 7, Butkus 2, N’Fari Bergamin 13, Earnhardt 8, Tastinger 3, Nate Bradford 15

NO. 2 NORTH MECKLENBURG 81, VANCE 60

Vance 8 15 14 23 – 60

North 19 18 21 23 – 81

V: Daniel Sanford 16, Kendal Smith 12, Corey Gaines 11, Nick Dorn 11, Hanson 7, Moore 2, Peirce 1

NM: Chris Ford 22, Jeremy Gregory 22, Jordan Crawford 15, Waters 9, Cunningham 8, McClary 2, Coles 2, Johnson 1

Records: NM 7-0; V 4-2

NO. 3 CANNON SCHOOL 68, COVENANT DAY 52

Cannon-12-26-13-17 -- 68

Covenant Day-8-14-15-15 -- 52

CANNON 68 -- DJ Nix-25 pts 7 reb. 4 assists, Jarvis Moss-14 pts 4 reb, Elijah Ormiston- 13 pts 4 reb, Christian Reeves- 6 pts 15 reb, Deuce Rolle- 4, Austin Swartz-3, Karon Boyd- 2

COVENANT DAY 52 -- Aden Holloway- 20. Ifeanyi Ufochukwu-9, Marcus Brown-8, Jahmir Brown-6, Michael Marcus-4, DJ Boyce- 3, Britt Anderson- 2

Notes: Two conference teams go at it in the Den, Cannon comes out victorious. Fighting through the sweet sixteen, Cannon led by DJ Nix’s 25 points and seven rebounds, Jarvis Moss’s 14 points and Elijah Ormiston’s 13 points, mixed together with lock up defense by Deuce Rolle and big man Christian Reeves’ 15 rebounds, Cannon defeats Covenant Day. Cannon moves on to the elite eight where they will face Charlotte Latin on Saturday. Cannon moves to 24-5 season.

NO. 5 WEDDINGTON 64, CUTHBERTSON 36

Weddington – 16/18/17/13 -- 64

Cuthbertson –9/9/5/13 -- 36

WEDDINGTON 64 -- Kyle Frazier – 16, Chase Lowe – 11, Bowen – 9, Cook – 7, Morton – 6, Bates – 6, Wetherbee – 5, Bombardier – 2, Werdann - 2

CUTHBERTSON 36 -- Burke – 9, Clifton – 7, Ray – 5, Heyward – 5, Alston – 3, Balaniz – 3, Sanfilippo – 2, McDowell – 2

Notable: Weddington Junior Kyle Frazier recorded a double-double, leading the Warriors (12-0) with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

NO. 11 CHARLOTTE LATIN 55, METROLINA CHRISTIAN 44

METROLINA CHRISTIAN 14 12 5 13 = 44

CHARLOTTE LATIN 14 12 15 14 = 55

MCA: Clark 11, Crumbie 9, Maul 8, Harrist 6, Wilson Jr. 6, Deluca 2, Johnson 2

CLS: Graham Calton 21, Hull 9, Hirsch 7, Jones 7, Haughton 5, Montgomery 2, Lavitt 2, Hendley 2

Latin Game Notes: The Hawks won in the 2nd round of the NCISAA state tournament at home 55-44. Graham Calton led the Hawks with 21 pts./8 rebs. The Warriors were led by Eli Clark with 11 points. Latin has advanced to the quarterfinals on Saturday against the winner of Cannon and Covenant Day.

Records: Charlotte Latin 16-4, Metrolina Chriastian 16-10

Metrolina notable: So. Eli Clark 11pts, 6rbs, 3asts. Metrolina Christian finishes the season 16-10 (8-4)

BUTLER 56, EAST MECKLENBURG 41

Butler: 19 17 10 10 56

EM: 15 8 10 8 41

Butler: Fisher-Davis 12, McDuffie 12, Black 11, Taylor 9, Payne 5, Colbert 3, Scott 2, Heath 2

EM: Johnson 13, Nevill 9, Williams 6, Reynolds 6, Stowe 3, Wolfe 2, Stovey 2

Butler moves to 4-4 (3-3 conference). Butler plays East Meck again tomorrow to wrap up conference play.

CHARLOTTE CATHOLIC 73, MARVIN RIDGE 59

CCHS 13 26 16 18-- 73

MRHS 10 15 14 20--59

CCHS- Colin Thomas 16, Kevin Dumser 16, Pat Tivnan 14, Vaughn Thomas 14, J. Williams 4, K Williams 2, Rossitch 3, Brewer 2, Polking 2

MRHS- Nate Calamas 15, Cinjan Bridges 14, Ruthberg 7, Holcomb 4, Lee 3, Huffman 4, Smith 3, Haarstick 5, Garrett 3

CHARLOTTE CHRISTIAN 54, PROVIDENCE DAY 47

Charlotte Christian 16 15 14 9 -- 54

Providence Day 5 18 12 12 -- 47

CHARLOTTE CHRISTIAN 54 -- Bryce Cash 9, Cade Nicholson 13, David Lash 7, TJ Hardy 13, Ben King 6, Patterson 6

PROVIDENCE DAY 47 -- Propst Allison 17, Wertz 3, Asrat 6, McDonough 9, Scott 12

Notable: Charlotte Christian jumped out to a 22-5 lead early in the 2nd quarter, but Providence Day battled back to cut it to an 8 point halftime lead. The Chargers pulled within 1 in the fourth quarter, until Sophomore TJ Hardy (13 points) sealed the game with 4 free throws in the final 15 seconds for the Knights. fellow sophomores Cade Nicholson (13 points) and Bryce Cash (9 points, 8 assists) were big in the victory for the Knights. Quave Propst-Allison led the Chargers with a game-high 17 points. Charlotte Christian travels to Carmel Christian on Saturday in the 4A west Semi-finals

Records: Charlotte Christian 13-7; Providence Day 5-14

PINE LAKE PREP 63, CAROLINA INTERNATIONAL 44

Pine Lake 25 12 15 11 63

Car Int 7 9 13 15 44

PLP - Cole Callaway 22 Jack Baldwin 13 JT Harper 12 Trace Forest 10 Schwaba 4 Tekampe 2

CI - Mike Hayer-Riddick 10 Kimon Power 10 Brewton 6 Beveridgo 5 Richardson 4 Walker 2

Pine Lake 13-1 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS.

MICS vs. Pine Lake Saturday @ 6:00 for the tiebreaker (seeding purposes)

Thursday’s Girls Boxscores

NO. 1 VANCE 81, NORTH MECKLENBURG 59

N.Meck: 13 18 13 15 --59

Vance: 24 19 25 13 -- 81

N.Meck: Dearia Page 20, Taylor Dunn 12, Jael Poole 12, Farmer 5, Harris 4, Stallings 2, Weston 2, Vaughn 2

Vance: A.Moreland 24, T.Hayes 21, L.Barringer 19, T.Moreland 11, Marshall 3, Washington 3,

N.Meck: Dearia Page career high 20pts, 3ast, 3rebs; Taylor Dunn 12pts, 1 stls, 2 rebs; Jael Poole 12pts, 2rebs, 2 assist, 2 stls

Vance Record 6-0; N.Meck 5-1

NO. 6 CUTHBERTSON 50, WEDDINGTON 36

Cuthbertson - 6 - 17 - 32 -- 50

Weddington - 17 - 27 - 34 -- 36

Cuthbertson - Maddie Dillinger 16, Reagan Iovino 14, Ruby Williams 10, Natalie Bair 3, Kendall Gallagher 3, Riley Willie 2, Kamaria Sheriff 2

Weddington - Audrey Strange 17, Brooke Strong 7, Emily Cunningham 6, Tatum Bowen 3, Hannah Tse 2, Mattie Beck 1

Notables - Cuthbertson was down by 10 at the half, Maddie Dillinger and Reagan Iovino led the comeback in the second half. Weddington’s Audrey Strange led the way for her team with 17.

NO. 14 CANNON SCHOOL 57, RABUN GAP 36

Cannon School 19 17 13 8- 57

Rabun Gap 10 10 7 9 - 36

Cannon School 57- Reigan Richardson 30, Seini Hicks 14, Cherry 4, Edwards 5, Cherry 4, York 3, Wood 1

Rabun Gap 36- Lopez 15, Arabacioglu 7, Wilson 6, Ji 4, Batista 2, Wade 2

Cannon School 17-5

Notes: Reigan Richardson 30 points, 17 rebounds. Cannon School will play Charlotte Christian in the NCISAA Quarterfinals Saturday at 12:00pm

CHARLOTTE CATHOLIC 58, MARVIN RIDGE 31

Catholic 15 22 8 13 -- 58

Marvin 9 6 7 9 -- 31

Catholic 58 -- Blanca Thomas 18, Imelda McMenamin 15, Kacerosky 9, O’Brien 6, Green 4, Fava 4, McArdle 2

Marvin 31 -- Gravelle 9, Shivers 8, Lee 5, Boyko 4, Drake 3, Douglas 2

Records: Catholic 10-3, Marvin 7-6

Blanca Thomas 18 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks. Imelda McMenamin hit 5 3’s and Dani Kacerosky hit 3 for Catholic.

CHARLOTTE CHRISTIAN 36 CHARLOTTE LATIN 33

Charlotte Latin 3 13 10 7 -- 33

Charlotte Christian 12 8 6 10 -- 36

Charlotte Christian: Ryan Swilling 12, Rachel Noonan 9, Nora Schroeder 8, Taylor Suarez 6, Molly Coles 1

Charlotte Latin: Mary Schleusner 10, Maddie Shannon 10, Elizabeth Rose 5, Neely Grace Tye 3, Mayes Fisher 3, Forrest Williams

CHARLOTTE COUNTRY DAY 62, METROLINA CHRISTIAN 40

Metrolina 10 6 19 5 – 40

Country Day 12 15 18 17 – 62

MCA (40) Emily Walters 10, Phibbs 9, Sorrentino 6, Reynolds 6, Huneycutt 4, McClain 3, White 2

CD (62) Brooklin Ingram 19, Mary Holland Waters 15, Hudson Rixham 11, O’Neil 9, Batten 3, Rucker 3, Farrar 2

Records: MCA 10-10 CD 10-5

Notables: Country Day will host Providence Day in the NCISAA Quarterfinal matchup Saturday at 12 PM.

HOUGH 43, MALLARD CREEK 35

Hough 13 6 9 15 -- 43

Mallard Creek 8 15 10 2 -- 35

HOUGH 43 -- Claire Polito 17, Caroline Swartz 10, Caroline Phocas 7, Kaeden Frino 4, Olivia McElroy 3, Sam Louthan 2

MALLARD CREEK 35 -- Jada Creech 9, Javelyn Lewis 8, Alexis Bynum 8, Engle Nykerah 5, Morgan Johnson 3, Cayla Digsby 2.

PARKWOOD 54, MONROE 39

Monroe 5 11 4 19 -- 39

Parkwood 14 9 9 22 -- 54

MONROE 37 – Maia Price 2, Dynastee Parker 23, Saniya Gingham 9, Adriana Melton 5

PARKWOOD 54 – Courtney Liles 6, Madison Edwards 11, Taleah Hallman 2, Madi Roland 3, Zoey Hudson 3, Grace Crocker 6, Jade Washington 17, Scotty Hyatt 2, Brooke Williford 4

PROVIDENCE DAY 38, COVENANT DAY 25

PDS 10-5-12-11—38

Covenant Day 5-5-13-2—25

PDS- El Ferguson 12 Jordyn Latter 10 Jensen 5 Booker 2 Brooks 4 Sanchez 5

Covenant Day- Hanley 8 Holloway 5 Imafidon 4 Gifton 2 Ashley 2 Houseton 4

Record 19-6

Friday’s Schedule

I-Meck 4A

Mallard Creek at Mooresville

North Mecklenburg at Lake Norman

Vance at Hough

West Charlotte at Hopewell

SoMeck 7 4A

Harding at Berry Academy

Providence at Ardrey Kell

South Mecklenburg at West Mecklenburg (boys)

Southwestern 4A

Butler at East Mecklenburg

Porter Ridge at Hickory Ridge

Myers Park at Independence

Rocky River at Garinger

Northwestern 3A-4A

Freedom at McDowell (girls)

Hickory at St. Stephens

South Caldwell at Alexander Central (girls)

Big South 3A

Ashbrook at Hunter Huss

Kings Mountain at Crest

Stuart Cramer at Forestview

North Piedmont 3A boys

(Tournament championship)

West Rowan at North Iredell

North Piedmont 3A girls

(Tournament championship)

West Rowan at Jesse Carson

South Piedmont 3A

A.L. Brown at Central Cabarrus

Cox Mill at West Cabarrus

Jay M. Robinson at Northwest Cabarrus

Southern Carolina 3A

Piedmont at Monroe (boys)

Sun Valley at Parkwood (girls)

Weddington at Parkwood (boys)

Rocky River 2A-3A boys

(Conference championship game)

Forest Hills at West Stanly

Foothills 2A

Draughn at East Burke (boys)

Patton at East Burke (boys)

South Fork 2A

Bandys at North Lincoln

Lake Norman Charter at West Lincoln

Lincolnton at Maiden

Newton-Conover at East Lincoln

Southwestern 2A

Burns at R-S Central

Chase at South Point

Mountain Valley 1A-2A

Elkin at Wilkes Central (girls)

Western Highlands 1A-2A

Polk County at Madison County

PAC 1A

Bradford Prep at Queen’s Grant Charter

Community School of Davidson at Carolina International

Pine Lake Prep at Mountain Island Charter

Southern Piedmont 1A

Cherryville at Thomas Jefferson Academy

Highland Tech at Christ the King

Yadkin Valley 1A

Gray Stone Day at South Davidson

North Stanly at South Stanly

Uwharrie Charter at Chatham Central

Nonconference

Cabarrus Charter at Albemarle

Chatham Charter at North Rowan

East Gaston at North Gaston

Forsyth Home Educators at Greater Cabarrus Stallions (boys)

Moravian Prep at University Prep

Surry Home School at Greater Cabarrus Stallions (girls)

SATURDAY

Northwestern 3A-4A

Alexander Central at Hickory (girls), 11 a.m.

Yadkin Valley 1A

Albemarle at Uwharrie Charter (girls), 4

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