WAXHAW – The Cuthbertson girls basketball team had two crucial holes to fill from the starting lineup of last season’s state runner-up team but were adding talent and returning nearly everybody else.
Naturally expectations were high, but the Cavs have answered nearly every call.
Their only flub came against a talented Myers Park team back in November of last year, but they’ve since reeled off 14 consecutive wins which include a 7-0 start in the Southern Carolinas.
The Cavs have had a few close games – against Weddington, 4A state runner-up Butler and Forest Hills – but nobody has been able to slow them down.
Junior Maddie Dillinger has picked up right where she left off from last year’s Western Regional MVP performance, averaging 14.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.7 steals per game to lead the way.
Sweet-shooting freshman Reagan Iovino has made an immediate impact, averaging 10.6 points per game while shooting 42% (43-of-103) from 3-point range.
The Cavs are also bolstered by Lillian Anderson (9.6 points and 7.5 rebounds), sophomore Ruby Williams (6.9 points), Kamara Sheriff (6.1 points), Lauryn Hardiman (5.2 points) and Trinity Cherry-Brown (3.6 points).
Cuthbertson still has some tough matchups going forward in conference as well as Charlotte Catholic, Weddington, Parkwood and Marvin Ridge remain on the schedule.
Here’s how other teams fared through Jan. 20:
The Cuthbertson boys team didn’t do itself any favors with its 0-7 start to the season, but the Cavs have won seven of 10 since then, including a 4-3 start to conference play.
The Cavs lost to Sun Valley earlier this season, but they get another shot at the Spartans on Jan. 21 in a battle of teams with identical conference records. The winner will be alone in third place behind Charlotte Catholic and Weddington.
Junior JP Haggarty (18.9 points and 7.8 rebounds) has emerged as the Cavs star, but they have talent with Will Heyward (8.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists) to keep this team in the mix the rest of the way.
Marvin Ridge girls
The Marvin Ridge girls team has upset wins over Forest Hills and Parkwood and took Charlotte Catholic to double overtime. The Mavs are turning into a team nobody wants to play despite being 7-7 overall and 3-4 in conference.
Led by freshman Zahra Douglas (11.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals), they have also received contributions from Kyndall Shivers (9.4 points), Amarachi Emezie (5.9 points), Emma Drake (5.6 points), Ryley Keefe (4.8 points), Jada Boyko (3.1 points) and Caroline Gravelle (3.1 points).
The Mavs will look to continue to play giant-slayers as they still have dates with Charlotte Catholic, Weddington, Parkwood and Cuthbertson.
Marvin Ridge boys
The Marvin Ridge boys have lost four straight and had a tough year (4-12 overall, 1-6 Southern Carolinas).
While the Mavs have had a down season, seniors Christian Peterson (15.7 points and 7.1 points), Jack Graham (8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds) and Dallas Griffin (7.3 points and 5.1 rebounds) are having nice individual years.
The Parkwood girls team is one of the biggest surprises in the Southern Carolinas.
The Rebels are 10-3 since losing to Nation Ford to close last November and have been on a tear although they will close the season with games against Cuthbertson, Weddington, Charlotte Catholic and a Marvin Ridge team that already upset them earlier this season.
Sophomore Shimiya Taylor (12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.6 steals) and freshman Jade Washington (9.7 points and 7.8 rebounds) are the stars, but the Rebels go about nine deep on a regular basis and lean big on senior leadership from Chloe Hardy (7.1 points) and Kennedie Gaither (4.4 points).
While the Parkwood girls have flourished, the same cannot be said for the boys (1-12 overall, 1-6 conference).
The Rebels’ three-point win over Marvin Ridge on Dec. 20 was the only game this season they’ve played where the outcome is single digits.