Orange Men’s Basketball

Orange Panther of the Week: Freddy Sneed

This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is junior basketball forward Freddy Sneed. With no limits to his versatility, Sneed could help the Orange men’s basketball team in any number of ways. As Coleman Cloer and Kai Wade handled most of the scoring load for the bulk of a championship season, Sneed became a valuable presence defensively. Early in the year, Cloer was sidelined with an ankle injury. Sneed stepped up on offense. He scored 16 points in Orange’s season-opening win over Hillside. Sneed also stole an inbounds pass that led to the game-winning 3-pointer from Malakai Poole. Sneed finished the game with 16 points, five steals and four rebounds. Sneed proved to be a valuable presence throughout the season as Orange won its first regular season championship since 2017 and its first postseason conference tournament title since 2016. Against Eastern Alamance on February 16, Sneed totaled ten points, seven rebounds and six steals. In the Central Conference Tournament championship game, Sneed finished with eight points and six rebounds. Sneed has been a member of the varsity since his freshman year under the direction of head coach Derryl Britt and will continue to be a vital part of Orange basketball into his senior year in 2024-2025 as the Panthers look to repeat as conference champions.

Orange’s Cloer named Central Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year

Photo by Jacques Morin 

Even missing the first nine games of the year wasn’t enough to keep Coleman Cloer from earning the first individual accolade of his Orange career.

On Monday morning, Cloer was named the Central Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year following a poll of the league’s coaches. Cloer, a sophomore, helped Orange win its first regular season conference championship since 2017 this winter. Last month, Orange won the Central Conference Tournament at Person High School in Roxboro, its first conference tournament title since 2016. Cloer was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament after he scored 36 points in the championship game against Eastern Alamance.

Cloer finished the season with 463 total points, an average of 25.7 per game. The biggest question is what would he have averaged if he had played in the opening nine games of the season, which were designed for him to play in showcase games against the likes of Highland (out of Warranton, VA), Forsyth Country Day and Caldwell Academy. But five days before the season-opener against Hillside, Cloer suffered a fluky ankle injury in practice. Instead of opening the year on November 17 against the Hornets, Cloer didn’t start until December 14 against Southern Alamance.

His presence was immediately felt. Though he needed time to get his basketball legs, Cloer led a minor miracle comeback against the Patriots in the Central Conference opener. Trailing 60-55 with 28 seconds remaining in regulation, Cloer and classmate Kai Wade triggered a comeback in the waning moments. After Wade stripped and stole an inbounds pass for a lay-in, Cloer tied the game with two free throws with :5.8 seconds remaining. Orange went on to win in overtime 72-68. Cloer scored 29 in his first game.

Cloer’s presence was enough for Orange to be invited into the John Wall Invitational at Raleigh Brough High School for the first time in school history after Christmas. Though the Panthers lost to Northwood, Jordan and Millbrook, they emerged from Raleigh tighter, more seasoned and better adjusted to their individual roles.

2024 started with dominant wins over Western Alamance, Walter Willams and Cedar Ridge. In 13 wins against Central Conference opponents, Orange didn’t trail in nine of those games.

Cloer had his career high of 39 points against Southern Alamance on February 9, the night that Orange captured the Central Conference regular season title. A week later against Eastern Alamance, Cloer finished with 31 points in Mebane as the Panthers closed out the regular season with a win over the Eagles.

Cloer became the first sophomore to surpass 1,000 career points when he put up 38 points against Curritcuk County in the opening round of the 3A State Playoffs, a 86-69 Panther win. Cloer earned his 1,000th point by sinking a 25-footer, generating a huge roar from the Orange student section. It was the first state playoff win for Orange since 2017, when they defeated Triton in the 3rd round.

Cloer is on pace to become the first 2,000 point scorer in school history. The all-time school scoring record is believed to be held by Eric English, who went on to play at the University of Richmond under head coach Dick Tarrant.

Last summer, Cloer received scholarship offers from N.C. State, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Iowa, Appalachian State, and Mississippi State. This year, Cloer has attracted offers from Georgetown and Illinois. He is considered the #1 prospect in North Carolina for the Class of 2026.

Cloer’s older brother, Garrett, was the quarterback of some of the most successful Orange football teams in school history. Cloer played alongside running backs Tay Jones, Patrick Pettiford and linebacker/wide receiver Bryce Wilson. During Cloer’s years as staters, Orange won 10-games in three consecutive seasons under head coach Pat Moser. Garrett Cloer went on to play football at Cornell.

Stormed at the Castle–King scores 28 points to push Northern Nash past Orange 68-60 in state playoffs; Cloer leads Panthers with 30

ROCKY MOUNT–Past success for Orange men’s basketball has come incrementally.

In 2015, when Connor Crabtree and Logan Vosburg were sophomores, the Panthers reached the 2nd round of the state playoffs, where they lost to Havelock. A year later, they won the Big 8 Conference Tournament championship, again losing to Havelock in the 2nd round. By the time they were seniors, Crabtree and Vosburg led Orange to the conference regular season crown and reached the state quarterfinals. The only reason they didn’t advance further was a fluke injury to Crabtree against Triton in the 3rd round.

This year’s Orange team wanted to make a quantum leap. When Coleman Cloer, Kai Wade and Mason Robinson were freshmen last year, they simply wanted to reach the state playoffs, which they accomplished. After winning the Central Conference regular season and tournament championships last month, the first such titles since the days of Crabtree and Vosburg, some Panthers talked of winning the state championship.

On Friday night, they learned how difficult it is to immediately ascend to the top.

In front of a crowded Knights Gymnasium, senior guard Randall King scored 28 points and grabbed ten rebounds as Northern Nash defeated Orange 68-60 in the second round of the 3A State Playoffs on Friday night. The Knights (21-7) claimed its 15th consecutive win and will face 2nd-seeded Westover in Fayetteville on Tuesday night.

Cloer led Orange with 30 points, his sixth 30-point game of the season. The Panthers end the season 16-12.

Orange held the Knights scoreless in the final 2:43 of the first half and tied the game 24-24 going into halftime after a dunk by Cloer off a pass from Freddy Sneed. It concluded a second quarter where both team’s offenses seemed to be mired in quicksand. The Panthers went 8:04 without a field goal, yet the Knights were only able to extend its lead to 24-18.

Northern Nash roared out of the locker room with nine points in the opening 1:25 of the second half, keyed by explosive 6-foot-8 freshman forward C.J. Rosser. Hampered by foul trouble in the first quarter, Rosser opened the third quarter by firing in a 3-pointer from the corner. On the Knights next possession, Rosser grabbed a miss by King and laid it in. Orange committed consecutive turnovers that led to field goals by King and Trey Battle, extending the Knights lead to 33-24, a deficit that Orange would spend the rest of the night trying to erase.

King, who will play wide receiver at Campbell University, extended Northern Nash’s lead to 54-40 after a block by Chris Silver, a 6-foot-10 sophomore center, led to a lay-in by King with 5:45 remaining in regulation. Pennix triggered an Orange run with a 3-pointer off an assist from Kai Wade. Cloer would score off an offensive rebound and was fouled by Silver, who fouled out. Cloer then delivered his highlight play of the night with a dribbling exhibition against Battle, then sinking an 19-footer.

Pennix stole the ball from Rosser, leading to another lay-in from Cloer to cut the 54-50. After Mallory scored off a pass from Rosser, Cloer scored off an offensive rebound. Then Mason Robinson, who registered nine points, seven rebounds and seven blocks, grabbed a miss by Rosser, feed Sneed who delivered a pass for Cloer for a dunk to cut the Knights lead to 58-56 with 2:02 remaining.

King was fouled by Sneed and sank two free throws. Cloer missed a three-pointer, which led to King scoring off a steal and the Panthers didn’t score again until a late field goal from Cloer.

Orange jumped out to a 8-1 lead behind two three-pointers from Pennix. Sneed added two free throws to increase the Panther lead to 8-1. Orange shot 5-of-12 in the first half.

As was the case with Curritcuck County, Northern Nash thrived on the offensive boards. The Knights grabbed 16 offensive rebounds and outrebounded Orange overall 45-35. Trey Battle added eleven points and five rebounds.









Orange Panther of the Week: Kai Wade

This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is sophomore men’s basketball point guard Kai Wade. This season, the Orange men’s basketball team won the Central Conference championship, its first conference title since 2017. Wade’s explosive first step off the ball has become his trademark since he started as a freshman last season. His synchronicity with teammates Coleman Cloer, Xandrell Pennix and Freddie Sneed is evident with the way Wade runs the Orange offense. Another Wade wrinkle is his pull-up jumper, which he used to tie up the season-opener against Hillside in November, leading to an Orange win. On January 23, Wade had a season-high 20 points in the Panthers 75-67 win over Eastern Alamance, which put the Panthers in first place in the Central Conference for good. In Orange’s conference opener against Southern Alamance on December 14, Wade scored 15 points, but the Panthers wouldn’t have won without him. He stole the ball for a lay-in late in regulation as Orange erased a 5-point deficit in the final 28 seconds of regulation. Wade opened overtime with a 25-foot 3-pointer to put the Panthers ahead for good. Wade had seven assists in the rematch against Southern Alamance on February 9. Through 48 career games, Wade is at 572 points. He also won an OPAC Middle School championship at Gravelly Hill Middle School in Efland. He scored 20 points in 2020 as the Grizzlies defeated Phillips 45-37 in 2020.

Orange forward Coleman Cloer discusses surpassing 1,000 career points

Orange sophomore men’s basketball forward Coleman Cloer added to his legacy in several ways on Tuesday night. He scored 38 points as the Panthers defeated Currituck County 85-62 to win in the opening round of the 3A State Playoffs. Cloer also surpassed 1,000 career points. He become the first Orange player to reach 1,000 points as a sophomore. Cloer drained a 25-footer for career point 1,002. He surpassed the milestone in his 45th career game. This season, Cloer set a new career-high of 41 points against Southern Alamance on February 10, the night where Orange claimed the Central Conference regular season championship. Last week, he scored 36 points against Eastern Alamance as the Panthers won the Central Conference Tournament, the Panthers first conference tournament title since 2016. Cloer also had 31 in the regular season finale against Eastern Alamance in Mebane in the regular season finale. Orange shot 55% from the field against Currituck. He also grabbed eleven rebounds. Junior Xandrell Pennix added 21 points and four steals as the Panthers improved to 16-11. Kai Wade had eleven points. Orange advances to the second round of the 3A State Playoffs for the first time since 2017. They will face Northern Nash in Rocky Mount on Friday night. Northern Nash defeated West Brunswick in the opening round. 

No Leaf Cloer; Coleman Cloer scores 1,000th point, Orange routs Currituck County 85-62 in state playoffs

It’s already customary to think that Coleman Cloer can’t do much to surprise a spectator or fans.

Until you look at the record books.

In just his 45th game, Cloer surpassed the 1,000 point barrier on Tuesday night. It just happened to help Orange win its first state playoff game since 2017.

Cloer finished with 38 points in Orange’s 85-62 win over Currituck County at Panther Gymnasium in the opening round of the 3A State Men’s Basketball Playoffs. He is Orange’s first 1,000 point scorer since Jerec Thompson did it in 2022. Cloer needed 33 points to reach 1,000. As the Panthers pulled away from the Knights in the 4th quarter, Cloer looked over to Orange’s scorers table, where he friends held up fingers to signal how many points he had to go.

He wanted to make the milestone basket something special. Just like Babe Ruth calling his shot at Wrigley Field in the 1932 World Series or Michael Jordan shrugging his shoulders making six 3-pointers in the first half against Portland in the 1992 NBA Finals. So when he got to 999 points, Cloer peeked over to see his friends holding up one index finger.

Cloer pulled up from 25 feet.


It sent the Orange crowd wild and the bench into hysteria. Cloer became the first Orange sophomore to score 1,000 points.

It’s believed that Eric English, who graduated in 1985, holds the school record. English didn’t surpass 2,000 points, according to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association record book. English only played three years because Orange didn’t add 9th grade until 1987, which was also the year the 3-point line was added in North Carolina high school basketball.

On the other hand, Cloer missed the first eight games of this year with a sprained ankle.

Orange (16-11), the 10th-seed in the 3A East Region, will travel to Rocky Mount to face the Northern Nash Knights on Friday night. Northern Nash, the champions of  the Big East Conference, defeated West Brunswick 87-50.

Orange’s last playoff win came against Triton on February 25, 2017 in the 3rd round of the 3A State Playoffs.

Junior guard Xandrell Pennix scored 15 points in the second half and finished with 21. The Panthers shot 55% from the field to build a 25-point lead in the second half.

The Knights (15-11) wouldn’t go away easily. Despite being heavily undersized, Currituck still managed to outrebound Orange 48-36, including 24 offensive rebounds. But the Knights shot just 28% from the field. Their top scorer, Luke Morgan, was held to ten points on 4-of-20 shooting. Jamie Dance, who averages 12.5 points per game, finished 1-of-12 from the field for eight points.

In the opening quarter, Orange sophomore guard Kai Wade aggressively drove the ball to the basket for an early 3-point play as he was fouled by Damon Duke. Orange center Mason Robinson, who finished with a single-game high of eight blocked shots, rejected a lay-up by Morgan to trigger a transition lay-in for Freddie Sneed to pull Orange ahead 9-5.

Wade finished with eleven points, six assists and five rebounds.

Consecutive 3-pointers from Morgan and Malcolm Cowell evened the game at 13-13 with 2:09 remaining in the first quarter. Robinson flushed down an ally-oop pass from Cloer to pull the Panthers back ahead, starting a 10-0 Orange run. Cloer scored off a feed from Sneed, then ended the quarter with a breakway dunk supplied by Pennix.

Orange never trailed again. They shot 7-of-9 from the field in the third quarter, including a trio of 3-pointers.

Currituck found an unlikely source of offense from senior Walter Bailey, who couldn’t stop draining shots from downtown late. Bailey, who appears to be set to become a future roadie for Luke Combs, shot 6-of-7 from 3-point range and led the Knights with 19 points. Orange already had the game in the bag by the time Bailey got hot, so even the Panthers student section started cheering for him. Bailey was fouled on a 3-point attempt with :0.6 remaining. As he attempted the free throws, the Orange students chanted “WAL-TER! WAL-TER!”