This week’s Cedar Ridge Red Wolf of the Week is sophomore runner Naomi Dyreng. Last fall, Dyreng won the individual championship of the Central Conference women’s cross country meet at Lake Cammack Cross Country Course in Burlington. It was a Cedar Ridge finish in the top two. Abigail Klaitman finished second. Dyreng would go on to finish third in the Mideast Regional. For the second year in a row, Dyreng qualified for the 3A State Championships, where she finished 17th. This winter, Dyreng qualified for the 3A State Indoor Track & Field Championships. She finished 7th in the 1,600 meters in the 3A State Championships at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem. Dyreng qualified for the state championships when she finished with a time of 5:32.95 in the 1,600 meters at the East Chapel Hill Polar Bear at Dave Thaden Stadium on January 27. Last fall, Dyreng helped the Cedar Ridge women finish 2nd in the Central Conference championship meet. Now, she’s gearing up for the outdoor track and field season, which will begin next week. Last year, Dyreng won three Mideast Regional Championships at Franklinton High School. She won the 1,600 and 3,200 meters championships, as well as a relay championship. She ran in the state championships at North Carolina A&T University inside Truist Field in Greensboro.
Orange’s Coleman Cloer & Kai Wade discuss win over Person, preparing for Central Conference Tournament title game
Any win for the Orange men’s basketball team in Roxboro is precious. On Tuesday night, the Panthers had extra reason to celebrate as they defeated the Person Rockets 65-59 on Tuesday night in Roxboro in the Central Conference Tournament semifinals. Sophomore Coleman Cloer finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season. Cloer scored 15 in the second half as the Panthers advanced to a conference tournament championship game for the first time since 2017. Despite not even completing two years as a player, Cloer is already at 931 career points. Sophomore Kai Wade went 8-of-8 from the foul line and finished with 14 points, four rebounds and two assists. It was the first win for Orange in Roxboro since December 2014. Cloer fed fellow sophomore Mason Robinson for an ally-oop dunk to trigger a 10-0 run late in the third quarter, putting Orange ahead for good. It was the Panthers second win over the Rockets this season. Xandrell Pennix added eleven points for Orange, while Robinson had ten points, eight rebounds and five blocks. Orange will face Eastern Alamance for the Central Conference Tournament championship on Friday night at 7:30 in Roxboro. Last week, Orange defeated the Eagles 79-74 in Mebane. Orange hasn’t won a conference tournament since 2016 when they defeated Southern Durham to win the Big 8 Conference championship.
Photo from Carolina University
Grace Andrews: After three years at Catawba Valley Community College, Andrews is now at Carolina University, a National Christian College Athletic Association school in Winston-Salem. Carolina won its first game of the season against Salem College on February 17. Andrews went 2-for-5 with a double. In the second game of the doubleheader, Andrews finished 1-for-3 with an RBI double as Salem won 9-8 with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. On February 21, the Bruins split a doubleheader with Milligan University in Milligan, TN. In a 12-2 win for Carolina in the opener, Andrews went 2-for-4 with an RBI double. In Milligan’s 5-4 win in the nightcap, Andrews went 1-for-4 and scored the Bruins first run off a throwing error. She started at shortstop. Andrews also played both games in a doubleheader sweep of Johnson C. Smith in Clemmons on February 19. The Bruins are 4-4.
Takia Nichols :North Carolina Centra won 3-2 in the HBCU Softball Invitational at the Turner Lake Softball Complex in Covington, GA last weekend. Nichols started as a designated hitter in a 4-3 win over Alabama State. She went 1-for-3. Alcorn State edged the Eagles 7-6 on Friday night. Nichols went 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. Nichols went 1-for-3 with an RBI off a sacrifice fly as Central edged Jackson State 9-8 on Saturday. Alabama A&M defeated Central 4-1 on Sunday. Nichols entered the game as a pinch-hitter and went 0-for-1 with a walk. The Eagles are 4-6 and will head to Greenville this weekend for the Pirate Invitational at East Carolina University. Central will face East Carolina on Friday.
Tori Dalehite: Last week, Dalehite started in left field as UNC Greensboro defeated Wintrop 6-1 at UNCG Softball Stadium. Dalehite went 0-for-3 with a walk. The Spartans hosted the Spiro Classic last week in Greensboro. Dalehite started in left field in a 5-3 win over Sacred Heart on Friday. She played right field in a 7-2 win over Drexel on Friday night. Dalehite singled and scored as a pinch-hitter in the Spartans 7-3 win over Drexel on Saturday. Ohio defeated UNCG twice last weekend, including a 6-4 win on Sunday. Dalehite entered that contest in the seventh inning as a right fielder.
Mary Moss Wirt: The Elon softball team played in the Marucci Classic at Dail Softball Stadium at N.C. State University in Raleigh. The Phoenix went 1-4 in the event. Wirt played in all five games, starting with an appearance as a pinch-hitter in an 8-7 loss to North Dakota State in eight innings. Wirt started as catcher in an 9-0 loss to Connecticut in five innings. Elon’s only win of the weekend with a 7-5 victory over North Dakota St. in eight innings. Wirt entered the game against the Bison in the second inning as catcher. Wirt also played in two games against N.C. State. The Wolfpack defeated Elon on Saturday 5-2. On Sunday, N.C. State prevailed 8-4. On Wednesday, Wirt started at catcher in a 9-1 loss to Virginia Tech in six innings at Tech Softball Park in Blacksburg, VA.
Carson Bradsher: South Carolina Upstate went 2-2 in the Winthrop Eagle Classic at Terry Field in Rock Hill, SC last weekend. In a 14-3 win over Mount St. Mary’s, Bradsher had an RBI single to right field in the fourth inning. Bradsher entered the game during a 10-run fourth inning as a pinch-runner and scored. off a throwing error.
Lauren Jackson: Division II Lenoir-Rhyne defeated the #1 team in D2, North Georgia, 2-1 in ten innings in Dahlonga, GA on Saturday. On Sunday, North Georgia bounced back to beat the Bears 6-0. Jackson played in the second end of the doubleheader as a pinch-hitter. Jackson walked in the Bears 9-0 victory over UNC Pembroke in five innings on Saturday afternoon. On Thursday, Lenoir-Rhyne split a doubleheader against Lees-McRae at Bears Field in Hickory. The Bears won the nightcap 10-2 in five innings. Jackson started at catcher and went 1-for-3.
Brianne Foster: Breezy has started her freshman season at Wake Tech. The Eagles defeated the Guilford College junior varsity team 10-2 on February 18 for its first win. Foster went 1-for-2 with a run scored. Foster went 2-for-4 in the opening game of the doubleheader against Guilford, which the Quakers won 15-7. Foster started at catcher. Foster also started the opening game of a doubleheader against Gaston College on Wednesday, which the Rhinos swept.
Taking a Piece of the Rock–Cloer scores 22 as Orange beats Person 65-59 to advance to Central Conference Tournament Final
ROXBORO: The curse of the Rock has been broken.
For the first time in nearly ten years, Orange has won in Roxboro right in front of the Rocket Rowdies.
The play itself wasn’t exactly reminiscent of a classic basketball film like “Hoosiers” or “Above the Rim.” It wasn’t even “Space Jam.”
But Orange won in Roxboro for the first time since December 15, 2014, ending a five-game losing streak in Person County.
Now, they’re headed to the Central Conference Tournament championship game.
On a night of the strange, Coleman Cloer remained the reliable constant. He scored 22 points, including 15 in the second half, to pace the Panthers to a 65-59 win on Tuesday night
Orange, the top seed in the tournament, will face either Eastern Alamance or Southern Alamance at Person High School in the championship game on Friday night at 7:30.
Orange avenged a loss to Person two weeks ago, its only defeat against a conference team this season. Person had beaten Orange in seven of the last eight meetings in Roxboro.
Reserve Lamont Johnson and starter Lance Clarke each led Person with 17 points, but Clarke was held to two points in the second half. Clarke, the Rockets leading scorer, was injured with 1:56 remaining in regulation but returned in the final 30 seconds, despite writhing on the floor in pain for several minutes while being treated by head coach Charles Dacus.
The frantic back-and-forth pace usually set by both teams yielded to a half-court matchup on Tuesday night. Orange tried to push tempo whenever possible, but the highlight reel dunks off the backboard against Eastern Alamance from Friday night didn’t make the trip up Highway 157.
Part of that was the Rockets inspired play. Person had to beat Walter Williams in Burlington on Monday night just to reach the semifinals inside its own gym. The Rockets may not have been at their best, but they certainly didn’t make it easy for Orange.
“I’ve watched that team play lackluster in a lot of games,” said Orange coach Derryl Britt. “But no matter where the game is located, when it’s Orange and Person, they get up for it. So it doesn’t matter if they played the night before. They get up for us. We expect what we got tonight.”
Cloer came into the game off a 41-point effort against Southern Alamance, followed by a 31-point night against Eastern Alamance on Friday. Person forward Daejon Hodge held Cloer to seven in the first half.
Neither team led by more than four points in the first half. Orange sophomore Mason Robinson threw down three ally-oop feeds in the second quarter to space the Panther lead to 31-27, but Johnson and Hodge scored the final four points of the half to even things up at 31-31 going to the locker room.
With Clarke bottled up by Orange’s Freddy Sneed and Pennix, Johnson and Hodge carried the offensive load for the Rockets during the second half. After Clarke blocked a shot from Wade, Jordan Lunsford got the ball to Hodge, who tipped it in to even the game 42-42 with 2:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Cloer lobbed the ball for Robinson for another ally-oop dunk immediately afterwards, which triggered a 10-0 run that put the Panthers in control. Sneed stole a pass from Clarke and fed Kai Wade, who appeared to set up an ally-oop for Cloer. But Wade threw the pass so precise, it dropped through the net to increase the Orange lead to 47-42. Cloer scored off a running one-hander, while Clarke followed with an errant 3-pointer. Cloer hit two more free throws.
Reserve Malykhai Justice was inserted into the game to replace Robinson after he picked up his fourth foul. As the third quarter wound down, Cloer absorbed contact while missing a drive to the basket, but Justice grabbed the rebound and beat the 3rd quarter clock with a lay-in to give Orange its first double-digit lead at 53-43.
Person shot 0-of-6 from three-point range in the third quarter.
The Rockets whittled the margin down to six points several times in the waning minutes, but Clarke was injured during a frantic sequence where the Rockets had possession. Clarke injured his calf and couldn’t put any weight on his left leg as he was carried off the floor by Person assistant wrestling coach Chase Kernodle, a former Orange grappler. Yet Clarke returned in the final seconds.
Wade and Pennix knocked down pressure free throws in the final minute.
Person was chosen as the location to host the tournament semifinals and championship games after a vote of the Central Conference’s basketball coaches because it was the most convenient geographically to the league’s seven teams.
Ware scores 17 as Cedar Ridge women win in Central Conference Tournament; George leads Orange women over Williams
For all the the things that Amiyah Ware has accomplished for the Cedar Ridge women’s basketball team the past two years, the only thing missing was winning a tournament game.
Until Monday night.
In her final game inside Red Wolves Gymnasium, Ware scored 17 points as Cedar Ridge committed only four turnovers to defeat Southern Alamance 35-28 in the opening round of the Central Conference Tournament. The Red Wolves advance to face Eastern Alamance at Person High School in the semifinals on Wednesday night at 6PM.
It is the first postseason tournament win for the Red Wolves women’s basketball team since February 21, 2017, when they defeated Cleveland in the opening round of the 3A State Playoffs in Clayton.
Cedar Ridge trailed 16-15 at halftime, but the Red Wolves held the Patriots to three points in the third quarter. The sequence that changed the game came when Red Wolf freshman center Kate Finnegan blocked a shot off a drive from Madison Brouillard, which was captured by Hailey McCloud. In a rare transition attempt against the Patriots, Ware threw a diagonal pass to Jamee Watson, who scored off a lay-in as she was hacked on the arm by Morgan Edmunds to even the game at 19-19.
Ware grabbed a rebound following a Patriots miss and was fouled by Sarah Kathryn Maness, which led to two Red Wolf free throws to put Cedar Ridge ahead 21-19 with 1:20 remaining in the third quarter.
Cedar Ridge point guard Sarah Utley opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer off a drop off from Ware. Following a three-pointer from Brouillard, Watson grabbed an offensive rebound and fed Ware for a lay-in. Ware scored six points in the fourth quarter.
Finnegan and Hailey McCloud kept the Patriots from scoring in the paint. Southern Alamance’s Sunny Yarnell, the team’s leading scorer, was limited to just two points with no field goals.
Finnegan finished with seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
It was the final game at home for Ware, Cameron Copeland, Cierra Copeland and Jordyan Delph.
Orange 62, Walter Williams 39: Just in time for the postseason, the Orange women’s team played its best half of the season against Walter Williams.
After getting blown out by 59-39 by the Bulldogs in Burlington on January 31, the Lady Panthers led wire-to-wire in an 62-39 victory in Hillsborough on Monday night. The Panthers advance to the Central Conference Tournament semifinals, where they will face top-seeded Western Alamance at Person High School on Tuesday night (tonight) at 6 PM.
Junior Evelyn George finished with 22 points and seven rebounds, while Shannon Murphy added ten points with eight rebounds.
In the first half, Orange (13-11) shot a torrid 15-of-18 of the field. Of the Lady Panthers 15 field goals in the first half, 13 were assisted.
Williams (15-10) Reagan Averett paced the Bulldogs with 13 points, but Williams shot just 26% from the field. Orange out rebounded the Bulldogs 43-34, with 17 offensive rebounds. Orange built its lead to as big as 27 points.
Orange point guard Maura McMurtry finished with nine assists.
It seemed destined to be a long night for Williams during pregame warmups when they were assessed a technical foul for leaving players out of their scorebook. Instead of a jump ball, the game started with George making two technical free throws and it didn’t get any better for the Bulldogs from there.
Murphy drained a short jumper off a pass from Marshea Byrd, who finished with ten points, four rebounds and three assists. George scored consecutive field goals, each one assisted by Byrd, and then Byrd scored off a pass from McMurtry to build a 10-3 lead, leading to a Williams timeout.
After Adkins cored a three-pointer with 3:21 remaining in the first quarter, Orange led 16-5. The lead stayed at double-digits for the remainder of the game after George added another shot from downtown.
For the first time since the formation of the Central Conference in 2022, there will be a neutral site for the league tournament’s semifinals and championship games.
Well, at least in theory.
The conference semifinals will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday night at Person High School, The men’s and women’s championship games will also be in Roxboro on Friday night, starting with the women’s game at 6PM.
The last two years, the tournament championship games were held at Northwood High School in Pittsboro, which won the men’s and women’s tournament titles each of the first two years of the league. The event is being held in Roxboro based on proximity with Southern Alamance being added to the Central Conference this year after Northwood moved back down to 2A.
In the men’s tournament, Orange is the regular season champion and will receive a bye into the semifinals. The Panthers will face either Walter Williams or Person in the semifinals on Tuesday night at 7:30 in Roxboro. The Rockets and the Bulldogs will play in Burlington tonight.
In the bottom half of the bracket, second-seeded Eastern Alamance hosts Cedar Ridge at Tal Jobe Gymnasium in Mebane. The third-seed, Southern Alamance, hosts Western Alamance in Graham. The winners will meet on Wednesday night at 7:30 in Roxboro.
Two of the three first-round meetings will be rematches from Friday night, the final night of the regular season. Williams upset Person 63-62 in Burlington, which put the Bulldogs in the top half of the league. In Graham, Western Alamance upset Southern Alamance 46-42 in Graham. The Warriors beat the Patriots on its senior night.
In the women’s bracket, Western Alamance has earned a bye after winning the regular season title. They will await the winner of Orange vs. Walter Williams, who will meet in Hillsborough tonight. Western Alamance will play on Tuesday night at 6PM in Roxboro against either Orange or Williams.
Eastern Alamance will host Person at Tal Jobs Gymnasium in Mebane. Also tonight at 6:30, 3rd-seeded Cedar Ridge will host Southern Alamance. The winners of EA/Person & Cedar Ridge/SAHS will meet on Wednesday night at Person at 6PM.
Cedar Ridge’s women’s game will almost certainly be the final home game for senior Amiyah Ware, Cameron Copeland, Cierra Copeland, Addie Reid and Jordyan Delph. The Red Wolves defeated Walter Williams 53-38 last Tuesday on Senior Night to sew up a spot in the top half of the conference.
Cedar Ridge will tip off at 6:30 tonight at Red Wolves Gymnasium.
Orange split the season-series with Williams, beating the Bulldogs in Hillsborough. They lost to Williams in Burlington.
Cedar Ridge also split the season series with Southern Alamance. The Red Wolves won against the Patriots in Hillsborough.
On to Roxboro: Cloer scores 31, Pennix adds 15 as Orange men beat Eastern Alamance 79-74 in regular season finale
MEBANE: Injury. Illness. Fatigue. Defections.
The Orange men’s basketball team has dealt with all of that over the past month, but they’ve been on a mission to win the Central Conference championship since they started the league campaign against Southern Alamance on December 14.
On that night, the Panthers came back from five points down with :28.5 remaining in regulation to beat the Patriots. On Friday night, they roared out to a 21-3 lead against Eastern Alamance and never trailed to close out the regular season.
Despite being unable to practice all week due to illness, sophomore Coleman Cloer scored 31 points as the Panthers defeated the Eagles 79-74. It was Orange’s fifth straight win over the Eagles dating back to 2021.
Junior Xandrell Pennix added 15 points, including five in the fourth quarter as the Panthers closed the league campaign 11-1, winning the conference championship by three games.
In Orange’s twelve conference games this year, they didn’t trail in eight of them.
Orange will receive a bye into the semifinals of the Central Conference Tournament. They will play again on Tuesday night at 7:30 at Person High School against the winner of Walter Williams vs. Person, who will face off in Burlington on Monday night.
Freshman Jayden Adams led a spirited comeback by the Eagles with 21 points. Eastern Alamance (16-8, 8-4) trailed by 18 points just four minutes into the game, but fought back to reduce Orange’s lead to 42-36 by halftime.
It was the most anticipated Panthers-Eagles basketball game since they met in the 3rd round of the 2014 3A State Playoffs. There were no empty seats to be found at tipoff along the seven rows of green and gold bleachers on either side of the gym. Anyone who arrived before the women’s game ended at Tal Jobe Gymnasium were forced to watch standing along the walls of the end zones or standing in the lobby peering over visitors’ shoulders.
With seven days between games and a conference championship already secured, it would have been understandable for Orange to come out flat. Especially considering Cloer, Pennix and Freddie Sneed were sick all week. Pennix and Sneed practiced only on Thursday.
“We’re just passing stuff around right now,” said Orange coach Derryl Britt. “It’s just that time of year. We just have to fight through it.”
Instead, for the second straight game, Orange was hell on wheels at the opening tip. Wade scored seven of the first nine points, then Cloer added two deep 3-pointers, including a 25-footer that had several fans jumping out on the floor in disbelief. Orange led 23-7 at the end of the first quarter.
“We got off to a great start,” Britt said. “We let Eastern back into the game, but we settled down, weathered down and did all the things we needed to do to win.”
Adams and senior Jalen Alston trigger a comeback, each hitting two 3-pointers in the second quarter. Alston, on his senior night, scored seven of his ten points in the second quarter. Eastern’s Javier Tinnen drilled an outside shot to cut Orange’s lead to six before Cloer sank another three-pointer.
In the third quarter, Sneed picked off an entry pass to spark an inferno. Wade sent an off-the-backboard ally-oop to Cloer, who slammed it down with two hands. Moments later, after Adams missed a shot, Sneed rebounded and found Cloer for another ally-oop, where he laid it in to Orange’s lead to 13.
Sneed, in the absence of senior center Ryan Honeycutt, scored ten points off the bench.
“With Honeycutt out, it’s a blow,” Britt said. “But Freddie did the things tonight that added up to a victory. He makes us more athletic and faster on defense.”
In the fourth quarter, Pennix drove behind-the back down the lane and was knocked off balance by Eastern’s A.J. Weaver. Pennix, not even looking at the basket, threw the ball up and it went off the backboard–and in. The three-point play but the Panthers ahead by 13.
Orange junior Michael Clark hit a late three-pointer to put Orange in control in the final minute.
As Eastern attempted a late rally, Eagles coach Parrish Walker inserted freshman guard Hunter Eichmann, the son of former Orange player Sean Eichmann and grandson of former Orange High school trigonometry teacher Gary Eichmann.