1. Piedmont (3-0)
The Panthers have come out firing and have looked really good doing it. Although two of their wins – over Porter Ridge and Union Academy – have been by under 10 points, this team is capable of lighting up the scoreboard on any given night. They rely heavily on Clemson commit Hunter Tyson, who is averaging about 30 points per night, but this team is too deep and too talented to let one guy carry the load. Once they figure that out, the Panthers will easily improve on last year’s 16 wins.
2. Forest Hills (0-0)
Forest Hills has played in the 2A Western Regional finals in each of the past two seasons and could overtake Piedmont as the county’s top team before long. The Yellow Jackets boast one of the Class of 2019’s most complete players in Nas Tyson and they have a host of long, athletic guys who can shoot, crash the boards and play lockdown defense.
3. Metrolina Christian (5-0)
It’s hard to say there’s a surprise team after just five games, but Metrolina Christian would be it if we had to chose one. The Warriors went 16-15 last year – their only winning season over the past four years – but seem quite legit with wins over Porter Ridge and Union Academy already. The Warriors also boast four double-figure scorers including Stephen Clark, who is averaging 15.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.
4. Sun Valley (2-1)
The Spartans lost each of their top six scores to graduation last year and were expected to take some time to get going, but coach Keith Mason is one of the county’s best and he hit the ground running. Corey Goddard, Chris Killings and Ethan LaGrand have all averaged double figures so far and 6-foot-3 Dennis Shinhoster is averaging a double-double through three games and looks like one of the county’s biggest surprises.
5. Weddington (2-2)
Like Sun Valley, Weddington is replacing four of its top five scorers including conference player of the year Ryan Schwieger. This year started off great with blowout wins over CATA and East Meck, but losses to 4A power Ardrey Kell and 3A title hopeful Northern Nash have derailed the fun for a while. Seniors Caleb Dixon, Brock Peeler and Charles Pinner will have the Warriors back to their winning ways soon enough.
6. Monroe (0-0)
The Redhawks are so accustomed to making deep playoff runs with their football team that they won’t tip until December since they share a coach and usually a number of star payers. This year’s Red Hawk team must replace leading scorer Paul Rushing, but look for huge years from sophomore Salen Streeter and juniors Trae Kinion and Trey Shepherd.
7. Marvin Ridge (1-2)
The Mavs tied a school record with 17 wins last year and they have won 33 combined games over the past two seasons, so this may be a little low for them. Still, they have struggled in all three games this season, albeit losses to Ardrey Kell and South Carolina power Nation Ford and its dynamic one-two punch of Zeb Graham and Khydarius Smith, which is one of the best in the Carolinas are not too bad. An overtime win over Fort Mill is quite impressive as well, so give the Mavs some time.
Note: All records are as of Nov. 28