CONCORD – The Cream of Cabarrus sixth-ranked Central Cabarrus Vikings boys basketball team returned to its regularly scheduled program by pressing, forcing traps, hitting 3-pointers and running away with the game in its 103-78 demolition of the Mount Pleasant Tigers at home on Friday night.
The win marked the Vikings’ highest point total in nearly 15 years, when they demolished Lake Norman, 109-59 in December 2005. The last time Central Cabarrus hit the century mark in points was a 101-45 win over South Stanly in 2013.
Last weekend, two Viking players, Da’Jon Johnson and Tre Bost, suffered tragic losses after two of their cousins were killed in separate shootings. The Vikings lost their next contest, the Laurie Ann Cruse Christmas Classic championship game, and, as coach Jim Baker described it, they were “out of synch” that night.
They were back in synch on Friday.
“We brought the energy tonight,” Baker said. “We were running, we made shots, we attacked the basket, we made some 3’s, it was good. It was good from top to bottom, and it was a good win for us.”
The Class 3A Vikings improved to 8-5, while the 2A Tigers dropped to 6-8.
Out of the gate, they pressed and trapped the Tigers, continually forcing turnovers. Dylan Steed hit two of three 3-pointers to start the game, and the Vikings took off on a 14-2 run.
Steed finished the quarter with another 3-pointer and totaled 13 points, one more point than Mount Pleasant scored as a team that quarter.
“We did well passing the ball around and sharing the ball, and we knocked down a bunch of good shots,” said Steed, who ended the night with a career-high 23 points. “After we got in our press and got it going and trapped them, it was all up from there.”
Up 25-12, it was up, up and away for the Vikings. They pushed their lead to as much as 23 points on a 15-6 run midway through the second quarter.
During the run, Jaiden Thompson hit a 3-pointer. After a Tigers turnover, Johnson nailed a 3-pointer. A couple possessions later, Treveon Glover nailed a 3, and Thompson rounded out the run with another 3-pointer and two free throws to make it a 47-24 score.
At halftime, Central Cabarrus led 58-36, and in the third and fourth quarters, Mount Pleasant couldn’t cut into the deficit.
Tigers coach Jody Barbee said his players just didn’t compete and that it felt like they “never got off the bus.”
“I didn’t see a lot of positives,” Barbee said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. Conference play starts Tuesday, so hopefully we figure it out on Saturday and Monday before. If we compete and work hard, we know we can stay in any game.”
Near the end of the game, senior Nehemiah Williams stole a pass and scored the team’s 100th point and nearly brought the entire gym down from the applause. He then scored again, and the entire crowd broke into a huge ovation.
Baker said it was fun to see a player like Williams, a football standout who is more of a practice player on the basketball team, to get some game action and get that response from the fans.
Mount Pleasant 12 24 18 14 -- 78
Central Cabarrus 25 33 28 17 -- 103
MOUNT PLEASANT – Hunter Sloop 18, Jacob Price 12, Brady Duke 11, Carnes 8, Little 7, Williams 6, Gregory 2, Pruitt 2, Newsome 1, Widenhouse 1
CENTRAL CABARRUS -- Steed 23, Christian Cornish 18, Thompson 18, Johnson 17, Bessette 8, Glover 6, Bullock 5, Hill 4, Williams 4