Sports Shorts: May 11

by Aaron Garcia

Rhodes tapped to lead Porter Ridge boys hoops

On May 3, Porter Ridge High School announced that Jim Rhodes has been named the Pirates’ varsity boys basketball coach. Rhodes replaces Jay Fitts, who stepped down from the position at the end of the 2011-12 basketball season.

Rhodes has spent the last seven years at the helm of Charlotte’s Hickory Grove Baptist Christian School. Before that, he was the JV coach and assistant varsity coach at Mint Hill’s Independence High.
Rhodes graduated in 1999 from Fort Hays State University, a Division II school in Kansas, where he played basketball.

“In taking over this program, it is my intention to take the Porter Ridge men’s basketball program to another level,” Rhodes said, according to a statement released by the school. “I believe there is something special about Porter Ridge kids, which is evident in the successes of the other athletic programs in the school. I plan to pull that ‘something special’ out of each one of my players as I emphasize skill development, hard work and dedication. I have a great attention to detail, and I demand selflessness from my teams. I want the players to take ownership of the basketball program and be proud to represent their school and wear Porter Ridge across their chests.”

Davidson College football inks local duo

Davidson College released the list of players on its 2012 football recruiting class, and a pair of Union County linemen was listed.

Parkwood’s Matt Brantley, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound offensive lineman will join the Wildcats this fall, as will Shane Burns, a 6-2, 270-pound defensive lineman from Porter Ridge.

“We’ve turned over a lot of rocks to put this class together, and I think it’s one of the best since I’ve been back at Davidson,” Davidson coach Tripp Merritt, who is entering his eighth year at the Wildcats’ helm, said in a statement released by the college.

The Wildcats finished the 2011 season with a 4-7 overall record and were 2-6 in the Pioneer Conference.

Sun Valley basketball camp

The Sun Valley boys and girls basketball programs will hold a youth camp Monday, June 18-Thursday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The camp, led by boys varsity coach Keith Mason and girls varsity coach Rob Enloe, will focus on fundamental skills, sportsmanship, teamwork and understanding the game. Shooting and dribbling contests will be held, as well as team challenges and team-building activities.

The cost for the camp is $75 (plus a $10 on-line registration fee) which covers camp awards and T-shirts.

Fore more information or to register, visit

Pirates golf wins regional title

Porter Ridge boys golf coach Danny Whitley said that when his team posted a score of 309 at last weekend’s 4A Midwestern Regional at Forest Oaks Country Club, he knew it was a good score. But as one of the first five teams to enter the clubhouse, he also knew the Pirates’ fate rested on how the rest of the competition fared.

“It was nail-biting,” said Whitley.

The Pirates sat in first place after the first five team scores were revealed and maintained their position as the second wave was tallied. As the final golfer on the course was finishing his round, however, Whitley noticed it was getting close. The final competitor, from Southeast Guilford, had a chance to move his team into first place in the final holes. If he carded a 77, Southeast Guilford would knock the Pirates down to second place. A 78 would force a tie.

Instead, he recorded a 79.

“It was wild to sit there and watch it,” said Whitley. “All the kids were huddled around the scoreboard. Once they put that last score up, it was pretty exciting.”

Porter Ridge junior Jeffrey Spence shot a 74, thanks to seven birdies in his round, which tied him for third at the tournament. Colson Hoffman tied for fourth with a 75, followed by Drew McCarthy’s 79, Jackson Bailey’s 81, Grant Gilbert’s 82 and Harrison Neal’s 86.

It was the program’s first regional championship.

“That made it even more special, to be able to bring that home (to Porter Ridge),” said Whitley.

Next up for the Pirates is a trip to Pinehurst No. 8 for the Class 4A state tournament Monday, May 14-Tuesday, May 15.

Individual tennis brackets set

The matchups have been released for the public-school individual boys tennis state tournament, and Union County athletes have a chance to bring home titles in two different classifications.

The Class 2A tournament, which will be held at the Cary Tennis Center, features two Cuthbertson doubles teams. Josh Walker and Ben Lunning face Shelby’s Miles Poage and Joseph Hendrick, while Shaun Howell and Roland DesLauriers open against Ryan Lampe and John Tate of Newton-Conover.

Marvin Ridge’s Joey Hatala will make a run at the Class 3A singles crown at the Burlington Tennis Center, facing Hickory’s Daniel May in the first round. Bobby Hatala, Joey’s brother, will team with Woody Watson in the doubles competition and face Belmont South Point’s Sandler Gensch and Logan Andrew.

The first two rounds are Friday, May 11, with the semifinals and finals slated for Saturday, May 12.

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