Within college and high school circles, this time of year is known as “crossover season.”
It’s when the end of football season bleeds into the start of basketball season. It’s often a grueling period for staff and players.
The games start to bunch together, leading to crowded weeks, work overload for gameday personnel and, inevitably, schedule changes for a variety of reasons.
Crossover season tinkered with the Orange basketball programs this week.
Thanks to some last minute planning from Orange men’s basketball coach Derryl Britt, the Panthers will open the year against Research Triangle High, a charter school based out of RTP. Tipoff will be Monday night at 6 PM inside Orange High Gymnasium.
This will be the only basketball game Monday night. The opener for the Orange women’s basketball team is still scheduled against Granville Central December 3 in Hillsborough.
The men’s game, which was finalized Friday afternoon after Britt and Raptors’ head coach Level Wallace were able to organize referees, wasn’t originally supposed to be Orange’s opener. The Panthers were slated to face Northern Guilford in Greensboro on November 22, which was also scheduled to be the Orange women’s basketball team’s season-opener.
Nighthawks officials canceled the doubleheader on Monday. The Northern Guilford football team hosted a 3AA State Football playoff game against Northwest Cabarrus on Friday night. Citing a conflict, Northern Guilford didn’t have enough personnel to handle a large crowd that would converge inside Nighthawk Stadium for a football playoff game and a basketball doubleheader at the adjacent gymnasium on the same night.
Northwest Cabarrus defeated Northern Guilford 56-35 on Friday night to advance to the 3AA State Quarterfinals.
The Nighthawks and the Panthers have played every year in men’s and women’s basketball since the Nighthawks men’s team defeated the Panthers in the 3A State Quarterfinals in 2016.
Aside from the transfer of starting point guard Mekai Collins, who returned to Cedar Ridge over the summer, the Panthers are slated to bring back everyone from last year’s 10-15 season.
That includes senior Joey Mcmullin, a starter since his freshman year who played alongside Connor Crabtree and Logan Vosburg in 2016-2017. Mcmullin saw action in 27 games for a team that finished 23-7 and won the Big 8 Regular Season Championship.
Last season, Mcmullin averaged 13.4 points per game and led the team with 49 3-pointers.
Collins was Orange’s leading scorer at 15.6 points per game. Senior Machai Holt, who just finished football season, was second on the team averaging 15 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
There will also be an infusion of youth from last year’s junior varsity team, coached by Santina Ford. Several players, including 3-point ace Jerec Thompson, were called up to the varsity at midseason in time for the Eastern Guilford Holiday Tournament. Earlier this month, Thompson won the 3-point shootout during Orange’s 1st annul Season Tip-Off event on November 8.
Last season, Orange played three games before Thanksgiving, including victories over Union Pines and Granville Central. As of right now, Monday’s game against Research Triangle is slated to be the only game pre-Thanksgiving.
Like many charter schools that don’t offer football, Research Triangle started its season in mid-November. (Schools that play football weren’t allowed to start men’s basketball season until this past Monday). The Raptors are 3-0 after beating Cornerstone Charter Academy 71-35 in Greensboro on Friday.
The Raptors have won 23 games each of the past two seasons. Playing out of the 1A Central Tar Heel Conference, Research Triangle won the league championship last year. They suffered an overtime loss to Roxboro Community School in the opening round of the state playoffs.
The Orange men’s basketball team is eleven days away from starting its season against Northern Guilford in Greensboro. Over the weekend, the Panthers started its exhibition slate with a jamboree at West Johnston High School in Benson. The Panthers have an array of outside shooters this year, including Jerec Thompson and J.J. Thompson. Center Nigel Slanker started practicing with the squad on Tuesday after football season officially ended. Enjoy some highlights from Orange’s scrimmage at West Johnston from Thompson Team Films.com right here!
Keshawn Thompson: The Campbell Fighting Camels of the Football Championship Subdivision suffered its first Big South Conference loss of the season to #11 Kennesaw State, 38-35, at Barker-Lane Stadium in Buies Creek on Saturday. Thompson, who wasn’t credited for a tackle last week against North Alabama, made a career-high seven tackles against the Owls. A redshirt sophomore, Thompson had five tackles in a season-opening loss to Troy of the Sun Belt Conference. Campbell is 6-3 overall, 3-1 in the Sun Belt Conference. They return to action against Monmouth next Saturday.
Payton Wilson: #4 Clemson defeated N.C. State 55-10 at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh Saturday night. Wilson, a redshirt freshman, left the game with a sprained left shoulder in the 2nd quarter and didn’t return. Wilson had two tackles up to that point. He emerged from the locker room with his left arm in a sling on the sidelines during the 2nd half. After the game, Wolfpack Coach Dave Doeren said he didn’t know how long Wilson would be out. N.C. State has three games remaining, starting with Louisville next Saturday in Raleigh.
Trenton Gill: Against Clemson, Gill had five punts for an average of 52.2 yards per punt. On a brisk night, his longest was 75 yards. Three of the punts were over 50 yards, two were downed inside the 20-yard line and one was a touchback. Gill also had three kickoffs, one of which was a touchback.
Adam Chnupa: The FCS Elon Phoenix’s hopes making the FCS playoffs took a drastic hit on Saturday after losing 31-17 to Maine at Rhodes Stadium in Elon. Chnupa, redshirt freshman, played special teams for Elon, who falls to 4-6, 3-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Rodney Brooks: In CIAA action on Saturday, Fayetteville State defeated Livingston 32-0 at Alumni Memorial Stadium in Salisbury. Brooks, who suited up for Livingstone, had three tackles, including one for a loss. Brooks is classified as a junior, according to the Livingstone website. The Blue Bears haven’t scored in eight quarters and have lost five straight. They’re 4-5 overall, 1-5 in the CIAA. They conclude the season next week against Johnston C. Smith in Salisbury next week.
Chandler Compton: After four years on the Wofford men’s soccer team, Compton’s college career came to an end on Friday night. The Terriers lost to Mercer 3-0 in the opening round of the Southern Conference Tournament at Stone Soccer Stadium in Greenville, S.C. Wofford finished the year 4-13-1. Compton played in two games. He played 17 games in his Wofford career. He scored one goal in 2018 against VMI.
Lionel Reid-Shaw: The college career of Lionel Reid-Shaw also ended on Saturday. Division III Johns Hopkins defeated Dickinson 2-0 in the semifinals of the Centennial Conference Tournament at Franklin & Marshall University in Lancaster, PA. Reid-Shaw scored his only college goal last week in his final home game against Muhlenberg. Reid-Shaw concludes his career with the Red Devils with 67 games played. He started 45 with one goal and one assist. Dickinson ends the year 10-8.
Taylin Jean: The Division II Limestone Saints women’s soccer team defeated North Greenville University 2-1 in the opening round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament on Saturday at Saints Field in Gaffney, S.C. Jean started at goalkeeper for the Saints and earned the win after she made three saves. Limestone, who is a #4 seed in the tournament, will face regular season champion Mount Olive on Thursday in the semifinals.
Brittany Daley: The season of the Division III Greensboro College women’s soccer team ended in the semifinals of the USA South Athletic Conference on Friday. Covenant College defeated Greensboro 3-1 on penalty kicks after the two sides played to a scoreless tie in regulation. Greensboro lost despite outshooting the Scots 22-3 in regulation. As she has done every game this season, Daley started at center back for the Pride. Daley didn’t attempt a penalty during the shootout. Greensboro, which went undefeated in the regular season last year only to lose in the USA South Conference Tournament and were denied a trip to the Division III National Tournament, end the year 13-4-2. Daley, a sophomore, started all 19 games for the Pride.
Bailey Lucas: The Division III Meredith volleyball team had its season come to an end in the USA South Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals on Friday. Maryville defeated Methodist 3-1 in the USA South semifinals at the Grant Center in Danville, VA. Lucas started again for Meredith and finished with 25 assists, eleven digs, and one kill. In the quarterfinals, Meredith defeated William Peace 3-1 at Weatherspoon Gym in Raleigh on Wednesday. Lucas started and had 28 assists, 10 digs and one kill. Meredith ends the year 20-9. Lucas was 2nd on the team this season with 267 assists.
Icez Barnett: The Division II Chowan women’s basketball team had an exhibition game against Gardner-Webb last week. The Running Bulldogs won 69-33. Barnett came off the bench and played three minutes. She grabbed one rebound. The Hawks will officially start its season on Friday against North Georgia in Dahlonega, GA.
Lauren Cates: Wake Tech Community College improved to 2-0 on the season with a 117-24 win over Fayetteville Technical Community College at Reid Ross Gymnasium in Fayetteville on Wednesday night. Cates scored 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range. Cates also had three rebounds, three steals and two assists. On Saturday, the Eagles suffered its first loss of the season to South Carolina-Salkehatchie 58-50. Statistics from that game weren’t immediately available.
On Friday, the Orange men’s basketball team had the official start of basketball season with the Season Tip-Off Celebration at Panther Gymnasium. It included a slam dunk competition, which was won by senior Joey McMullin. Interestingly, there were more converted dunks during the men’s 15-minute scrimmage than there was during the actual slam dunk contest. The event also featured a three-point shootout. The men’s contest was captured by Jerec Thompson, who drained 16 3-pointers in a 1-minute span. The women’s basketball 3-point shootout was won by Aaliyah Harris. The Orange men and women will start their respective seasons on Friday, November 21 at Northern Guilford. The women will start at 6 against the Nighthawks. The men’s game will follow 15 minutes afterward. The Orange men and women will have its home opener on Tuesday, December 3 against Granville Central. Once again, the women will start at 6 and the men’s game will follow.
With basketball season only two weeks away, the Orange men’s and women’s basketball teams won’t wait until the season-opener against Northern Guilford to ring in the new year.
Instead, they’re starting things in grand fashion on Friday afternoon.
The first-ever Panther Hoops Tip-Off Celebration is scheduled for Friday afternoon at 4:15 inside Orange High Gymnasium. The brainchild of Orange men’s basketball coach Derryl Britt, the event will include a grand introduction for the men’s and women’s players that will start the season at Northern Guilford on November 22 in Greensboro.
The event will include a 3-point shooting challenge, a dunk exhibition, and an Orange-White intersquad scrimmage. Each of the players for the 2019-20 season will be introduced with music and fanfare. Cost for the event is $3 for students and $5 for non-students.
The tipoff will take place just before the Orange football team’s Senior Night game against Chapel Hill at nearby Auman Stadium.
The Tip-Off Celebration will also include a cheerleading and dance presentation at 4:30. There will also be a drumlins presentation. The women’s team will be introduced at 4:45.
The Orange High women, which finished 2nd in the Big 8 Conference last season, are coached by B.J. Condron. They will look to replace co-Big 8 Player of the Year Icez Barnett, who now plays at Division II Chowan University. Orange also lost guard Lauren Cates, who led the team in scoring last season. Cates now plays at Wake Tech.
“It’s Coach Britt’s idea,” Condron said. “He’s been very persistent about it. He’s worked very hard to get it going and I think it will be a great way to introduce our team to the community this season. I’m looking forward to it.”
The men’s team will be introduced at 4:50. Britt, now in his second season, returns senior Joey McMullin, who started on Orange’s 2015-16 Big 8 Conference regular season championship team that reached the state quarterfinals. Jason Franklin, now on his third year on the varsity team, provides valuable backcourt scoring for the Panthers after being a regular starter last season.
Among the other events at the Tip-Off Celebration will be a relay race at 5:00. There will be a women’s 3-point shootout at 5:15, following by a men’s 3-point shootout at 5:30.
The women’s team will have a scrimmage starting at 6, following by a men’s scrimmage at 6:20. The event will wrap-up at 6:40 to give fans and students plenty of time to walk over to the football stadium to watch the final home football game of the season.
After starting the season against Northern Guilford, the Orange men and women will have its home opener against Granville Central on December 3. Granville Central is coached by Mike McDaniel, a former All-PAC-6 Conference linebacker at Orange who also was once a defensive coordinator for the Panther football team. It will be a rematch of an emotional Orange win over GCHS in front of a packed and heated gymnasium.
The Orange men will have an endowment game against Southern Lee on December 5, which will not include a women’s game. The Orange women will travel to Southern Alamance on December 6.
The all-time winningest men’s basketball coach in Orange High School history is back in the Big 8 Conference.
Ironically, it’s now with the school that was once considered his biggest rival.
Greg Motley has been named the new head coach at Southern Durham High School. He started in his new role Thursday morning.
Motley replaces David Noel, the former UNC star who was a member of the 2005 National Championship team. Noel left after one season at his alma mater to join the Capital City Go-Go of the NBA Gatorade League as an assistant coach.
Motley remained a teacher at Orange even after stepping down as head men’s basketball coach at the end of the 2017-18 season, when he was replaced by Derryl Britt. Motley was also a frequent attendee at Orange games last season.
Motley joined Orange as an assistant coach and head JV coach under Frank Meadows in 1993-94. After Meadows stepped down at the end of the 1996-97 season, Motley inherited a program that had stood in the shadow of its neighbors to the south, Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill, for ages.
As East and Chapel Hill claimed state championships in 1997 and 1987, respectively, Orange had a winless season in 1988. They went over a decade without a winning season.
In Motley’s first year, Orange went to the 3rd round of the 4A state playoffs when they defeated Lee County in Hillsborough.
The years of 2013-2017 were Motley’s most successful. Under his watch, Orange went 83-30. In 2014, Orange played for the 3A Eastern Regional Championship, where they lost to Wilson Hunt 66-60 at Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville. It is the closest Orange has come to winning a state title since earning the 3A State Championship in 1968.
In 2016, Orange won the Big 8 Tournament Championship after beating Southern Durham at Chapel Hill High School. It was Orange’s first postseason tournament championship since the early 1980s.
The following year was, arguably, Motley’s best team. The Panthers went 23-7. They defeated Eastern Guilford to win the Eastern Guilford Holiday Tournament Championship, despite trailing 18-2 early. The Panthers won the Big 8 regular season championship behind the play of 6-8 guard Connor Crabtree and center Logan Vosburg. Crabtree hit a running one-hander with two seconds remaining to beat Southern 80-79 on January 27 in Hillsborough to all but sew up the regular season title.
While Southern beat Orange 87-75 for the Big 8 Tournament Championship, the Panthers appeared to be the team to beat in the 3A state playoffs. They rolled past Grey’s Creek and Southern Guilford. In the third round, the Panthers stormed out to a 28-2 lead against Triton in what resembled a highlight mixtape instead of a basketball game during the first quarter. Then Crabtree tore a ligament in his right ankle going up for a rebound, ending his Orange career.
Orange still defeated the Hawks 67-47, but the offense worked through Crabtree. Without him, Northern Guilford defeated the Panthers 56-48 in the state quarterfinals two nights later in Hillsborough.
Motley resigned after the 2017-18 season, where Orange finished 9-16.
Last season, Motley remained in basketball at Mount Zion Christian Academy as a postgraduate coach. He was joined by his former staff at Orange.
Motley will inherit a Southern team that went 20-7 in 2018-19. Last year, the Spartans reached the Big 8 Tournament Championship game, where they lost to Hillside 71-69. Northwood upset the Spartans in the opening round of the 3A State Playoffs.
With Hillside now in the 4A Triangle 8 Conference, Southern may be the Big 8 favorites. They return All-Conference performer Ahmad Hamilton and junior guard Aaron Hall.
Even after stepping down as basketball coach, Motley stayed close with his former players through difficult times. Motley coached current Orange kicker, quarterback and forward Nigel Slanker since fourth grade. Slanker was diagnosed with a baseball-sized brain tumor in the summer of 2018, leaving him unable to walk for several weeks. Motley remained in daily contact with him through texts, phone calls and personal visits.