Cedar Ridge High School

Cedar Ridge’s Ware named first-team All-District; Orange’s Jordan-Cornell named to third-team

It was her first year playing high school basketball playing in the town she grew up in, but Amiyah Ware made it a memorable one.

Playing guard for Cedar Ridge, Ware broke a series of school and county records. Ware has been named to the All-District 6 first-team for the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association. Joining Ware on the first-team was Laynie Smith of Chapel Hill, Emerson Thompson of Falls Lake, Rymiah Sanders of Southern Durham and Sydney Barker of Jordan.

Orange’s Erin Jordan-Cornell, the leading scorer and rebounder for the Lady Panthers, was named to the third-team.

This year, Ware broke the Cedar Ridge single-season school record with 470 points. The previous record was held by Madison Wardlow, who scored 389 points in the 2018-19 season. Even more impressively, she did in 17 games. Ware missed Cedar Ridge’s opening six games as she continued to recover from a torn ACL suffered last spring when she still attended the Burlington School. Ware’s impact was immediate. In her second game, she scored 18 points as the Red Wolves defeated Person 50-27 in Roxboro, which ended the Red Wolves 39-game conference losing streak. It was Cedar Ridge’s first conference win since February 8, 2019.

Ware broke the Orange County record on February 3 when she scored 54 points against Western Alamance. The previous record, regardless of gender, was set by Ronnie McAdoo of Orange High when he scored 53 against Southern Durham on January 24, 1978. She also broke the single-game Cedar Ridge women’s scoring record, which was set be Wardlow when she scored 35 against Northern Durham on February 5, 2019.

The following week, Ware became the first player, regardless of gender, in county history to score 50 points twice in a season. Against Durham School of the Arts on February 8, Ware scored 51 points as the Red Wolves defeated the Bulldogs 66-57 at Sykes Gymnasium.

In each of her final 12 games, Ware scored over 20 points. She eclipsed over 30 points six times, including in each of her final five regular season games.

Jordan-Cornell overcame her second knee surgery in 2022 to lead Orange in scoring and rebounding. This season, Orange reached the state playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years and had a winning season for the third straight campaign.

Jordan-Cornell was name the Most Valuable Player of the Eastern Guilford Holiday Showcase, a tournament that Orange won in Gibsonville. In the championship game against Northeast Guilford, she had 13 points and nine rebounds as the Lady Panthers rolled 46-25. In the semifinals, Jordan-Cornell had 14 points and 14 rebounds as Orange defeated Walter Williams, a Central Carolina Conference rival, 53-49. In the opening round of the tournament, held at 10 AM on December 26, Jordan-Cornell had eleven points and eight rebounds as Orange defeated the Burlington School 54-44.

This season, Jordan-Cornell had six double-doubles. Her final game at Orange was one of her best. She registered 12 points, 18 rebounds, four blocks and four steals against Southern Wayne in the opening round of the 3A State Playoffs in Dudley. It turned out to be the final game for Orange head coach B.J. Condron, who announced his resignation the following week in order to become the first Athletic Director at Southeast Alamance.

An All-Conference performer in volleyball and basketball, Jordan-Cornell led Orange with 16 points and 14 rebounds in a victory over Eastern Alamance in the opening round of the Central Carolina Conference Tournament on February 13. In her senior night game, held on February 10, Jordan-Cornell scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds against Eastern Alamance in a 44-39 victory. She finished in double-figures scoring in each of her last six games and seven of her last nine.

Jordan-Cornell was also a student advisor for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association this year. She attended board meetings with the NCHSAA to advice the panel on student-athlete concerns.

Alumni Update: Nichols homers in NCCU’s win over N.C. State

Takia Nichols: On March 8, the North Carolina Central softball team defeated N.C. State 10-3 at Dail Stadium in Raleigh in the second game of a doubleheader. Nichols launched a two-run homer to right field in the first inning. In the third inning, Nichols lined a double up the middle to score two runs. Nichols went 2-for-3 with four RBIs. In the opening game, N.C. State defeated the Eagles 19-9. Nichols, a freshman, started at 1st base and went 0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. Over the weekend, Gardner-Webb swept a three-game series from Central in Boiling Springs. In the opening game of the series on Friday, Nichols went 1-for-4 with an RBI. On Sunday, Nichols went 1-for-2 with an RBI double. In 17 games, Nichols has started 15. She is hitting .244 with three home runs and eleven RBIs. Central won its first game of the season on March 3 with an 5-4 win in nine innings over Furman in the Campbell Stampede in Buies Creek. Nichols hit a three-run homer in the first inning. She drove in the walkoff run on a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.

Mary Moss Wirt: Over the weekend, the Elon softball team swept Stony Brook in a three-game series at Hunt Softball Park in Elon. Wirt played on Friday and Sunday as a pinch-runner. On March 4-6, Wirt actually competed against a former Cedar Ridge player in Tori Dalehite when Elon faced UNC Greensboro. swept the three-game series. On March 4, Wirt started as catcher and went 1-for-3 with two runs scored. Elon is 9-14 overall, 3-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Tori Dalehite: Over the weekend, the UNC Greensboro softball team competed in the Clemson Classic in South Carolina. The Spartans defeated Jacksonville 3-0 on Friday. Clemson, ranked #4 in the country, shutout the Spartans 3-0, also on Friday. Bryant University edged UNCG 7-6. Dalehite played as a pinch-runner. UNCG is 14-11 and will host Notre Dame on Wednesday.

Lauren Jackson: The Division II Lenoir-Rhyne softball team is 20-3 after sweeping a doubleheader from #24 Anderson in Anderson, S.C. on Saturday. In the opening game, the Bears defeated the Trojans 5-3. Jackson, who started at catcher, roped a two-run homer in the first inning. She finished 1-for-4. In the nightcap, Lenoir-Rhyne won 6-0. Jackson had a two-run single up the middle in the first inning as the Bears scored all six of its runs in the opening three innings. On March 8, the Bears swept a doubleheader from Francis Marion at Bears Field in Hickory. In the opening 10-2 victory in six innings, Jackson went 0-for-1 with two walks. The Bears are 4-2 in the South Atlantic Conference and will face Wingate in a doubleheader on Tuesday in Hickory.

Grace Andrews: The Catawba Valley Community College softball team is 18-4 overall, 5-1 in Region X. On Saturday, the Red Hawks swept a doubleheader from Richard Bland College at Highland Community College in Hickory. CVCC took the opener 7-0. Andrews, starting at catcher, went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Andrews had a two-run single in the fifth inning. The Red Hawks won the nightcap 12-2. Andrews went 1-for-2 with three RBIs. She had a sacrifice fly in the second inning. Andrews knocked in a run off an error in the third. On Friday, CVCC split a doubleheader against Bryant & Stratton College in Hickory. In the opener, the Statesmen won 2-0. In the second, the Red Hawks won 8-4. Andrews went 1-for-3 with an RBI single in the sixth. In 22 games this season, Andrews is hitting .424 with 15 RBIs and 12 runs scored.

Aaliyah Harris: The Division III Randolph Macon women’s basketball team ended its season with a loss to Shenandoah in the quarterfinals of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Tournament on February 23. The Hornets defeated the Yellow Jackets 66-57. In her freshman season, Harris played five games. She averaged 1.8 points per game. She had three points against Lynchburg College on January 11.

Cedar Ridge’s Anaya Carter, Laci Sykes & Hayley King discuss big week for softball

Timely hitting and solid pitching punctuated the second week of the season for the Cedar Ridge softball team. The Red Wolves went 3-0 with two victories over Cardinal Gibbons and a run-rule victory over Northern Durham last Thursday. Sophomore Charlotte Lowry had a strong week in the circle and at the plate. She threw six innings in a 14-4 win over Northern Durham, striking out eight. Senior Anaya Carter went 2-for-5 with an RBI in an 11-5 win over Cardinal Gibbons in Raleigh on Monday. The next day, Carter went 3-for-4 with an RBI single as the Red Wolves completed a two-game sweep of the Crusaders, winning 9-7 in Raleigh. Senior Hayley King scored against Northern Durham and adds experience to the Red Wolves pitching staff. Freshman Laci Sykes went 2-for-4 with two runs scored against Northern Durham on Thursday night. Against Cardinal GIbbons on Tuesday, Sykes went 1-for-4 with two more runs scored. Sykes, Reagan Simmons, Kimber Shambley and Mia Best comprise a young nucleus for head coach Allan Byrd that hopes to make an impact in the Central Carolina Conference, one of the deepest softball leagues in the state. Cedar Ridge will return to action against Person in Roxboro on Tuesday night.

Cedar Ridge Red Wolf of the Week: Ryan Rakouskas

This week’s Cedar Ridge Red Wolf of the Week is sophomore wrestler Ryan Rakouskas. Last month, Rakouskas qualified for the 3A State Wrestling Championships for the first time in his career. Rakouskas finished third at 145-pounds in the 3A Mideast Regionals at Cedar Ridge High School. This season, Rakouskas went 36-20. He ended the season wrestling inside the Greensboro Coliseum. In the Mideast Regionals, Rakouskas pinned Jose Ortiz of Westover in 4:54 to earn a spot in the state championships. Rakouskas took the third place match over Eastern Guilford’s Nasir Grant via injury forfeit. Rakouskas pinned Joseph Vrabcak of Union Pines in the opening round of regionals in 3:32. In the consolation rounds, Rakouskas defeated Daniel Edmonds of Fayetteville 71st in 1:48. In the consolation quarterfinals, Rakouskas pinned John Mewborn of Harnett Central in 35 seconds. Rakouskas’ older sister, Marlee, was a conference champion volleyball player for Cedar Ridge who is now in Florida at the University of Miami. Rakouskas is also a practitioner of ju-jitsu, which runs counter to his wrestling training. This spring, Rakouskas is playing lacrosse for the first time in his career after a successful wrestling season. 

Cedar Ridge’s B.J. Thornton and Landon Dalehite discuss win over Williams

In the midst of a howling wins and plunging temperatures, the Cedar Ridge baseball team won its home opener on Tuesday night. Senior B.J. Thornton earned the win as the Red Wolves defeated Walter Williams 6-2 in its Central Carolina Conference opener. The Red Wolves got a two-run single from Mason Cates in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead. Landon Dalehite led off the inning with a double down the right field line. Quinn Finnegan followed with a double to knock in Dalehite. In the third inning, the Bulldogs got a runner at second base with one out. Dalehite made a sliding catch down the left field line that kept the Bulldogs scoreless. Thornton earned the win after he gave up only four hits in five-and-two-thirds innings. He struck put five. Dalehite went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. It was the start of three games over three days for the Red Wolves. Cedar Ridge will travel to Siler City this afternoonto face Jordan-Matthews. On Thursday, the Red Wolves will go to Burlington to finish its two-game series against Walter Williams. Cedar Ridge won its conference opener for the second time in three years.

Cates 2-run single, Thornton’s pitching leads Cedar Ridge to win over Williams 6-2

It finally felt like a baseball conference opener.

Cedar Ridge baseball coach Bryson Massey played tennis on Wednesday afternoon with highs reaching the lower-70s. It was several hours before his Red Wolves were set to face Walter Williams in both teams’ Central Carolina Conference opener.

He also knew by the time first pitch rolled around, the early spring conditions would yield to more familiar weather that’s typical for early March. Sure enough, temperatures dipped to 55 degrees by game time and wind gusts were at 35 miles-per-hour by the time the sixth inning rolled around.

Fortunately, senior pitcher B.J. Thornton had enough blood flowing through his body that the cold weather didn’t seem to matter.

In his first start of the season, Thornton allowed only four hits in five-plus innings. Another senior, Mason Cates, had a two-run single in the third inning to propel the Red Wolves past Walter Williams 6-2 on Tuesday night at Red Wolves Stadium.

Cedar Ridge (2-0, 1-0 in the Central Carolina Conference) avenged a bitter loss to the Bulldogs last season when Williams came back from an 8-5 deficit with an inside the park grand slam in the seventh inning.

It’s the first time the Red Wolves won won its conference opener since 2021 when they defeated Northwood in Pittsboro.

Thornton got the starting nod to start a busy week for the Red Wolves.

“Going into the conference, we knew we wanted to hand the ball to a senior,” Massey said. “B.J.’s been through this. He’s played with me for four years and he knows what my expectations are. He told me before the game ‘Coach, I got you.’ I knew he was locked in and ready to go.”

Cedar Ridge stormed out to a 6-0 lead starting with a run in the first inning. Isaac Anderson reached on an infield hit, Thornton was hit by a pitch and Cates walked to load the bases. Junior Kevin Jones was hit by a pitch to bring in Anderson.

With one out in the second inning, Landon Dalehite launched a double to the gap. Quinn Finnegan, who hit a fastball deep into the teeth of a brisk wind that was caught in the first inning, sent an 0-1 curveball over the right fielder’s head to the wall. Dalehite scored easily to make it 2-0. After Thornton was beaned again, Cates lined a single to right centerfield to score Finnegan and Thornton.

Williams, led by former Cedar Ridge coach Jamie Athas, had early chances to score but failed. Tate Jones was stranded at third base in the first inning after Ethan George flew out to Anderson in centerfield. Jones singled and stole second in the third inning. With one out, Dan Mahan sent a flair down the left field line where Dalehite made a sprawling catch to save a run. That started a string of Thornton setting down eight consecutive Bulldogs.

The Red Wolves tacked on two more in the fifth. Jones was hit by a pitch and moved over to second after a sacrifice bunt by Nicholas Aitkin. Grant McGuffey sent a fly ball down the right field line that fell in front of a Bulldog. Jones came home and McGuffey advanced to third base after a throwing error. Dalehite stroked a single up the middle to plate McGuffey.

Jones scored the Bulldogs first run when he led off the sixth with a dribbler up the middle for a single. Ethan George reached on an error. Vince Coker singled in Jones. Coleman Mahan knocked in George with a single to left field.

Joe Garbee replaced Thornton with two out in the sixth inning and finished the game on the hill to secure the win.

Williams (2-2, 0-1) was coming off a victory over Southern Alamance in Burlington, its first win over the Patriots in ten years.

It was the first of three games in three days for the Red Wolves. Cedar Ridge will travel to Jordan-Matthews on Wednesday, then go to Burlington to face Williams to complete the two-game conference series on Thursday.

“We’re a young team and this is a challenge,” Massey said. “Three games in a row is a challenge and we’ll find out what we’re made of against two good teams. We’ll be ready tomorrow and go down to Siler City and see what team shows up.”

Softball Notebook: Shambley doubles, Simmons homers in Cedar Ridge win; Orange beats Roxboro Community School 8-1

Photo by Missy Shambley

Cedar Ridge 11, Cardinal Gibbons 5: Coming off a difficult conference opener against one of the most established pitchers in the state, Cedar Ridge ventured to Raleigh and rediscovered its offensive touch in a win over Cardinal Gibbons.

Sophomore catcher Reagan Simmons led off the game with a home run while first baseman Kimber Shambley went 2-for- 4 with two RBIs as the Red Wolves improved to 2-1. Cedar Ridge led 8-1 at the end of two innings. After Simmons led off the game with the solo blast to left field, three straight Red Wolves reached. Lacy Sykes walked. Senior Anaya Carter reached on an infield single. Pitcher Charlotte Lowry lined to center to score Sykes and Carter.

Lowry, a sophomore, earned her second win of the season. She threw the first complete game of the season, striking out four over seven innings. She conceded five runs off six hits.

Cedar Ridge did its heaviest damage in the second inning with five runs, all of which were scored after two outs were recorded. Freshman Mia Best singled to right field, while Simmons and Sykes walked. With the bases loaded, Carter reached on an infield single to score Best. Lowry lined to centerfield to bring in Hayley King (running for Simmons) and Sykes. Shambley lined an infield single to shortstop, which allowed Carter and Sydnee Tapper (running for Lowry) to score and increase the Red Wolves lead to 8-0.

In the third, Grace Young drew a leadoff walks and scored on a sacrifice fly when Sykes popped out to left field.

Lowry finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Best was 2-for-4, while Shamlbey went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Carter was 2-for-5 with one RBI.

Cedar Ridge will continue the home-and-home series with a meeting against the Crusaders this afternoon at Red Wolves Stadium at 6 PM.

Orange 9, Roxboro Community 1 

Caden Robinson struck out eleven as the Orange softball team improved to 2-0 with a decisive win over Roxboro Community School in Hillsborough on Friday night.

The Bulldogs entered the game off back-to-back run rule wins over Bartlett Yancey and Granville Central, scored eleven and 17 runs, respectively. Robinson held the Bulldogs bats in check for her second win of the season.

Orange jumped out with two runs in the first inning. Carson Bradsher, a senior who has committed to South Carolina-Upstate, reached on an infield single. Bradsher stole second and Robinson followed with a double to deep centerfield to bring in Bradsher for the opening run. With two out, freshman Katie Carden, the cousin of former Orange first baseman Jaden Hurdle, lined a double to the fence in left field. Robinson scored to make it 2-0.

Orange added another run in the second. Rhiley Crabtree drew a leadoff walk. Savannah Wynn laid down a bunt to move Crabtree to second. Robinson walked to load the bases. Hayleigh Hammond reached on a bases-loaded walk to score Crabtree. Wynn, Serenity McPherson and Bradsher all singled to start the fourth inning, which Orange built its lead further.

The Panthers are under the direction of new head coach Rachel Peel, who played at Meredith College. Peel replaced Johnny Barefoot in December.

The Lady Panthers will travel to Roxboro to face Roxboro Community on Wednesday night. Orange’s Central Carolina Conference opener against Western Alamance was postponed due to rain last week.

Atkin goes 4-4, Finnegan earns win as Cedar Ridge baseball takes opener at Knightdale 19-8

Photo by Maria Finnegan 

Following its first playoff appearance in four years, Cedar Ridge baseball coach Bryson Massey knew there would be some rebuilding within his program when 2022 ended.

He didn’t know the extent would be deeper than he first thought.

Aidan McAllister (now playing at Hofstra University), Garrett Ray, Nick Nolan, Bryan Flores, Cristian Maces, Braedyn Jacobson, and Carlo Garay all graduated last June. Catcher Efrain Morales, who had just finished a sophomore season where he was named All-Conference, transferred to the P27 Baseball Academy in South Carolina during the summer.

That took away the Red Wolves’ leading batter from last season. Morales hit .417 last season and led the team in home runs.

Massey is focused on who is remaining for the Red Wolves and their start to the 2023 season was a successful one.

Junior Nick Atkin went 4-for-4 with a walk while Quinn Finnegan earned the win on opening day as Cedar Ridge rolled past Knightdale 19-8 on Monday afternoon in Wake County. In his first game, freshman Issac Anderson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs as the Red Wolves jolted the Knights for 12 hits.

Landon Dalehite, a sophomore, hit leadoff and reached base five times, including four walks in his varsity debut.

It’s the third year in a row that Cedar Ridge has won its season opener.

“The strength of our team is on the bump,” Massey said, referring to Finnegan. “We have Quinn back. We have B.J. Thornton back. We have Mason Cates back. We have three horses back and I believe in all three of them. They’ve put their work in. They’ve brought in this offseason and they’re leaders.”

Finnegan, who started the state playoff game against Orange last year, earned the victory after he threw two innings. He allowed just one hit and struck out four.

Joe Garbee and Armando Sanchez each threw two innings in relief. Mason Cates tossed a perfect seventh to complete the win, striking out two.

Cedar Ridge struck for two runs in the first inning. Cates, who drew a one-out walk in the first inning, also scored the opening run off an error off a ball hit by Finnegan. Caden Thompson, a freshman who was a member of Stanback Middle School’s Orange Person Athletic Conference championship team last spring, scored as a courtesy runner for Finnegan after Atkin lined a single to centerfield.

After Knightdale got an unearned run in the first, Cedar Ridge struck for two more in the second. With two out, Issac Anderson was hit by a pitch, while Dalehite reached on an infield single. Anderson scored on a passed ball. Mason Cates sent a grounder to left field to bring in Dalehite and increase the Red Wolves lead to 4-1.

Atkin grounded a single up the middle to start a third inning where the Red Wolves added three more runs. Atkin scored off a sacrifice fly by David Shoof to right field. Anderson knocked in Grant McGuffey with another single. Anderson added another run when he stole second base, stole third and came in to score off a throwing error.

Shoof, who was behind the plate, replaced Morales in the starting lineup.

“He’s put some work in this offseason,” Massey said. “He knew that was going to be a spot that was open. I challenged him this summer to put the work in. He’s taken that role. He’s matured a lot and he’s a different guy this year. He was a freshman last year and he’s got a higher maturity level now.”

Cedar Ridge is scheduled to have back-to-back home games on Friday and Saturday. On Friday night, the Red Wolves will host Chapel Hill. On Saturday, they will play A.L. Brown at 1PM.