Local Basketball Teams Fight for Playoff Spots Amid Start & Stop Season

Updated: January 17, 2018

Cedar Ridge boys basketball coach Clay Jones joked last week that, if his team defeated Hillside, he would have to beg his players to practice again for the rest of the season.

Perhaps he wasn’t joking. The Red Wolves, who have practiced one time since December 21st, came into the Hillside game on a two-game winning streak, its longest of the year. Then they nearly knocked off the Hornets, falling 60-59. Khalil Barnett led the Red Wolves with 19 points, while Mekai Collins added 15..

Damon Sanders paced Hillside with 20.

Trying to find a rhythm has been a struggle for both of Hillsborough’s basketball teams since the holidays.

For Orange, the Panthers started 2018 with a loss to Pinecrest on January 2nd, then didn’t play for a week because of winter weather. A game against Northwood was rescheduled for this past Saturday, forcing Orange to play three games in four days last week. Chapel Hill defeated the Panthers 59-55 at Tiger Gymnasium, despite the fact that Chapel Hill guard Elijah Haynes missed the game because of an ankle injury suffered during the South Granville Holiday Tournament. Mitch Portman led Orange with 17 points. The Tigers, who started the game on a 10-3 run, fended off a late Orange run with clutch free throws from Max Connelly, who finished with 16 points. A.J. Thompson added 15.

Chapel Hill defeated East Chapel Hill 59-45 on Tuesday night to remain atop the Big 8 at 8-0. Connolly paced CHHS with 18 points. Once again, Haynes didn’t play.

On Friday, Southern Durham handed Orange its fourth straight loss, 77-56. The Spartans, who led by 38 at one point, received 18 points from Jayvis Harvey. Orange was held to six points in the second quarter, was led by 18 points from sophomore Machai Holt, a career-high.

It was Orange’s first four-game losing streak since the 2012-13 season, a streak that ended on Saturday with a 43-37 victory over Northwood.

Orange is now 7-9, 3-3 in the Big 8. In the new look Big 8 Conference, the panthers are 4th in the league behind three teams that could be dangerous in the state tournament. Chapel Hill is undefeated, while Southern Durham is 4-1 and Northern Durham is 3-1.

With another winter storm anticipated Wednesday, the Panthers’ game scheduled at Northern Durham has already been postponed. Orange is slated to play at East Chapel Hill on Friday.

Cedar Ridge is supposed to host Northwood on Friday, but that game is at risk with the pending snowstorm. The Red Wolves already have had to postpone a game against Northern Durham from the first week fo 2018 that still hasn’t been rescheduled.

Whenever the Red Wolves resume its season, its clear for the most consistent offensive performers have been. On top of his 15 points against Hillside, Collins scored 20 in a 66-61 victory over Warren County, preceded by 17 points in the Red Wolves win over East Chapel Hill, which ended a nine-game losing streak.



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