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. 

Orange baseball’s Josiah Gibbs & Cameron Guentensberger discuss win over Northern Durham

For the fifth time in six seasons, the Orange baseball team won its season-opener under head coach Jason Knapp. On Monday night, the Panthers defeated Northern Durham 7-3 at Panther Field. Senior Josiah Gibbs earned his 11th career win, allowing only four hits in four innings as the opening day starter. Gibbs, who led the team with seven wins in 2023, struck out four. Cameron Guentensberger, a senior centerfielder, drove in the Panthers opening run with a soft liner to right field, scoring Kayden Bradsher. Orange busted the game open with five runs in the fourth inning. Henry Hoffman reached on an error and scored off a single by Bradsher. Guentensberger added another RBI single with a liner to left field. Cross Clayton, Wyatt Hedrick, Hoffman, Guentensberger and Bradsher all scored in the fourth inning. Clayton finished out the game by striking out the side in the seventh inning. It was a good start for an Orange team that lost six starters from a squad that won the Central Conference championship last year and reached the 3A State Quarterfinals. Orange will face Eden Morehead, who won the 2A Eastern Regional championship last year, on Thursday night at 6PM in Hillsborough. It will be the second of six scheduled non conference games for Orange before the start of the Central Conference campaign against Western Alamance on March 19. 

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.

Orange men’s swimming’s Luke Roman & Alex Andre discuss finishing in top two in 500 freestyle state championship race

Last Thursday, Luke Roman became just the second men’s swimmer in Orange history to win a state championship. If Roman had not won, then his teammate Alex Andre would have. Roman and Andre finished in the top two in the 500 yard freestyle at the 3A State Championships inside the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary. Roman, who won the Central Conference and Central Regional championship in the 500 yards, captured first place with a time of 4:41.62. Andre earned the silver medal at 4:50.54. In the Central Regional championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center on February 3, Andre won the 200 individual medley championship. Roman also claimed the Central Conference Championships in the 500 yard freestyle and the 200 yard freestyle. Andre captured two conference championships, as well, winning the 200 yard individual medley and the 100 yard backstroke. Roman and Andre’s leadership helped the Orange men’s swimming team win the Central Conference championship for the third straight season. The Panthers also finished 2nd in the Central Regional behind only Carrboro, it’s best-ever showing. The only other men’s swimmer from Orange High School to win a state championship was Ben Scott, who won the 100 yard freestyle in the 2018 3A State Championships. Roman and Andre are each juniors and will have plenty to look forward to in 2025.

Classic Cloer; Orange wins Central Conference championship, Cloer scores 40 points in rout of S. Alamance

It was a perfect night for Orange men’s basketball.

Members of the 1969 Orange 3A State Championship team were seated behind the Panther bench. They reminisced about the old days and marveled at the modern day Orange team on the floor in front of them.

And what a show that saw.

In a game that bore no resemblance whatsoever to its previous tilt against Southern Alamance, Orange sophomore Coleman Cloer scored 40 points, a career-high, while sophomore center Mason Robinson added 14 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in a 93-39 rout of the Patriots at Panther Gymnasium. Orange, which never led in regulation in its first matchup against the Patriots, never trailed on Friday night.

Cloer’s outing was the most points for an Orange player since Jerec Thompson, who was in the building on Friday night, scored 40 points against Eastern Alamance in his final game at Panther Gymnasium on February 11, 2022.

Sophomore Kai Wade added a season-high ten assists as the Panthers won on Senior Night, where Ryan Honeycutt (out for the season with a broken thumb), Ryan Moss and Malykhai Justice were honored in a pregame ceremony.

Coming off its first conference loss to Person, the Panthers claimed a share of the Central Conference title with its most complete performance of the year.

The cherry on top of the sundae came roughly 45 minutes after the game from, of all places, Roxboro, where Orange had just lost on Tuesday night. Person rallied in the final minutes to beat Eastern Alamance 74-69, eliminating the Eagles from the title race.

With that, the Panthers claimed its first regular season championship since the 2016-17 season and the first for Orange coach Derryl Britt since he came aboard in 2018.

“I’m so happy for these guys,” Britt said before the Person game had ended. “They work really hard and I’ve put them through a lot. And I know I do. But when they can come out and have games like this….I tell them that on night like this, it should be a showcase. It should be a showcase to all the witnesses why we work so hard, why we’re so disciplined. They understand it.”

Of Orange’s ten conference wins, they never trailed in seven of them.

An outsider who had never seen these two teams before Friday night would find it inconceivable that, just seven weeks ago, the Patriots had the Panthers dead to rights in Graham. On December 14, Southern Alamance led 60-55 with :28 remaining in regulation. Cloer, in his first game of the season, hit two free throws with :5.8 left to tie the game, leading to an extra session and Orange winning in a 15-round war of a game.

The rematch was a first-round knockout.

Mason Robinson slammed home the opening points off an offensive rebound and they were off to the races. Cloer had a personal 7-0 run, including a lay-in off a feed from Wade, which led to a Southern Alamance time-out. Cloer and Xandrell Pennix closed out the first quarter with consecutive 3-pointers and Orange led 25-11 at the end of the first quarter.

Pennix opened the second quarter with a corner shot from beyond the arc, following by an ally-oop where Robinson laid in a feed from Freddy Sneed. That triggered a 14-1 run, which included two more three-pointers from Cloer and another from Pennix.

Orange shot 12-of-25 from 3-point range, with Pennix going 4-of-5. Cloer was 5-of-13 from downtown. Ethan Ellis, who was called up from the junior varsity, hit both of his 3-point attempts in his first varsity game.

Southern Alamance (13-9, 6-4) lost 6-foot-3 guard Liam Forester last month for reasons that the Patriots coaching staff didn’t care to discuss. Forester scored in double-figures in ten of his 16 games before he left the team after a loss to Burlington Christian Academy on January 15.

It was showtime in the second half, which included Cloer flushing down a 180-degree dunk and Sneed finally slamming home a dunk, sending the Orange student section into delirium.

The night was perfect right down to the junior varsity game, where Orange won 52-51 following a 3-pointer from James Kenley with nine seconds remaining. The junior varsity Panthers are coached by Orange graduate Robbie Liner.

The conference championship guarantees Orange a first-round home game in the 3A State Playoffs and a bye into the semifinals of the Central Conference Tournament. The semifinals will be held at Person High School, where Orange will play on February 20.

The last time Orange hosted a state playoff game, it was against Northern Guilford in the 3A State Quarterfinals. Without star Connor Crabtree, who injured his ankle against Triton in the 4th round, Northern Guilford held off the Panthers 56-48.


SOUTHERN ALAMANCE: (Jordan Moore 7, Seth Dalrymple 1, Riley Warren 4, Tyler Moore 7, Chris Epps 16,  Myles Darrouch 2, Kolby Kronbergs 2).

ORANGE: (Mason Robinson 14, Xandrell Pennix 14, Freddie Sneed 7, Kai Wade 7, Coleman Cloer 40, Ethan Ellis 6, Hector Garrido 5)

Orange wrestling seniors discuss Senior Night win over Eastern Alamance

If last week felt odd around wrestling circles, it was. For only the second time since the State Dual Team Wrestling tournament was instituted by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association in 1990, Orange wasn’t in the field of 32. Orange, Cary, Davie County and St. Stephens shared the record for most appearances in the state dual team tournament with 33 appearances each. Nonetheless, the seniors for Orange wrestling celebrated Senior Night in style with a 57-24 win over Eastern Alamance on January 18. Andre Hill and Jared Hutchins were honored for 100 career victories. Also honored were Colton Jones, a starter at 144 pounds who has 13 wins this year; Rylan Brummer, a starter at 215 pounds; Talan Pearley, who was injured last month after starting the season with seven pinfall wins, Canaan Graphics, a starter at 165 pounds, and Chris Winstead, who is 20-15 at 106 pounds this season. Orange will venture to Cameron this weekend to the 3A Mideast Regionals at Union Pines High School. The opening round starts on Friday. The top four wrestlers from each weight class will qualify for the 3A State Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum, starting on February 15. The championship rounds will be held on February 17. Last year, Orange’s Acoya Isley wrestled for the state championship at 195 pounds. 

Orange senior Katie Belle Sikes discusses her final meet at the Orange County Sportsplex

It was the final swim inside the pool at the Orange County Sportsplex for Orange senior Katie Belle Sikes on Wednesday night. Sikes started swimming at the Sportsplex when she was seven years old. She had no idea at that time what was ahead–three individual state championships, five regional championships and a scholarship to swim at the University of Georgia. On Thursday night, Sikes was named the Central Conference Female Swimmer of the Year after she won three conference championships. She captured the 100 yard freestyle and the 200 yard freestyle. She won the 200 with a time of 1:53.92. In the 100, Sikes touched the wall at 50.81 seconds. Sikes also teamed with Riley White, Ainsley Rasinske and Piper White to win the 200 yard freestyle relay. Sikes, White, Rasinske and White won the state championship in the same event in 2023. Sikes is the defending 3A State Champion in the 50 yard and 100 yard freestyle. She has won the state championship in the 50 yard in 2022 and 2023. The Orange women’s team won the Central Conference championship on Wednesday night with 444 points. Now, Sikes will focus on the Central Regional Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center next Saturday. Sikes has won the last three regional championships in the 50 yard freestyle.

Cedar Ridge women’s basketball’s Amiyah Ware & Calla Lundberg discuss win vs. Chatham Central

The Cedar Ridge women’s basketball team is in position to reach the 3A State Playoffs for the first time since 2018. The Red Wolves are 9-6 as they prepare to face Walter Williams in Burlington on Friday night. The Red Wolves defeated crosstown rival Orange last Wednesday behind 35 points from Amiyah Ware, which was the most points any player from Orange County has scored so far this year, regardless of gender. Last Monday, the Red Wolves defeated Chatham Central 46-35 at Red Wolves Gymnasium in its final nonconfernce game of the regular season. Ware led the Red Wolves with 17 points. Freshman Calla Lundberg, who was called up from the junior varsity team last month, chipped in with nine points as the Red Wolves reached nine wins in a season for the first time in six years. Lundberg and Kate Finnegan were both moved up to varsity before Christmas and have provided an immediate contribution. Cedar Ridge is only one game behind Orange, Western Alamance and Eastern Alamance for first place in the Central Conference as the second half of the conference campaign starts next week. Ware, who signed to play with Division II North Greenville, is having another All-Conference season. She scored 24 points in a loss to Eastern Alamance on Friday.

Orange baseball’s Coltin and Wyatt Hedrick officially sign with Wake Technical Community College

Last month, Coltin and Wyatt Hedrick each signed letters of intent to play baseball at Wake Technical Community College. In 2023, the Orange baseball team won its third consecutive conference championship and they did it with their depth. The Panthers top two pitchers were injured for lengthy period of time, which forced all hands to be on deck against a challenging schedule. Coltin Hedrick, who was a junior last year, earned the win in relief against Walter Williams on March 24 in Hillsborough. Hedrick threw four-and-two-thirds innings to close out a 1-0 Panther win. He struck out four and allowed just one hit. The win would eventually propel the Panthers to the Central Conference championship. Wyatt Hedrick shared time with Cross Clayton at second base. The most memorable moment for Wyatt came in the second round of the 3A State Playoffs when Orange trailed Triton 8-3 going into the bottom of the tenth inning. Hedrick reached base twice during a six-run tenth inning. In his first trip, he walked and eventually scored when Ryan Hench was hit by a pitch. Moments after Neo Best tied the game at 8-8 with a bases-loaded walk, Hedrick delivered the game-winning hit with a single up the middle to complete the greatest comeback in school history. In that state playoff game, Wyatt went 3-for-5 with an RBI. Wyatt and Coltin will be instrumental parts for Orange this spring as it aims to repeat as Central Conference champions. The baseball season will start for Orange on February 28 against Northern Durham at Panther Field.