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Brown's teams hit busy stretch Both boys, girls prepare for three games in three days

By Bill Kiser

Kannapolis Citizen

A.L. Brown’s boys and girls basketball teams have shown steady improvement over the first three weeks of the 2006-2007 season.

Now, that improvement will be put to the test, as both Wonders teams close out 2006 by playing three games in as many days this week at the NorthEast Medical Center Classic holiday tournament.

A.L. Brown’s boys (8-2, 3-0 South Piedmont Conference) enter the tournament on a roll, extending their winning streak to five games with victories over Porter Ridge 69-57 in a conference matchup on Dec. 19 and over non-conference foe South Rowan 78-55 on Dec. 21.

“The last two weeks, we’ve really been doing a good job of playing together,” Wonders head coach Shelwyn Klutz said. “We’ve had some guys step up — not necessarily in scoring, but making things happen — and doing a lot to help us.”

However, despite their record, the boy Wonders are seeded fifth in the NorthEast Medical Classic’s eight-team field, and will play fourth-seeded Charlotte Myers Park in Wednesday’s first round. Game time will be 5:30 p.m. at Concord High School’s Rimer Gymnasium.

“I’m still trying to figure this one out,” Klutz said. “But I feel pretty good going into the tournament. We still have some issues we need to work on, but I’m happy with the way we’re playing right now.”

A win on Wednesday would send A.L. Brown into a semifinal matchup against either No. 1 seed Concord or eighth-seeded Mount Pleasant — which play at 4 p.m. Wednesday — on Thursday evening at Concord.

The other first-round pairings will see No. 3 seed Central Cabarrus take on sixth-seeded J.M. Robinson at 7 p.m., and second-seeded Northwest Cabarrus play No. 7 seed West Stanly at 8:30 p.m.

The semifinal and opening consolation rounds will be played Thursday at Concord, with the championship and consolation games set for Friday at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center in Concord. The consolation games will be played at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., with the boys’ title game set for 8:30 p.m.

A.L. Brown’s girls (4-6, 1-2 South Piedmont Conference) are seeded fifth in the Northeast Medical Classic, and will play No. 4 seed Northwest Cabarrus in Wednesday’s opening round. Game time is 5:30 p.m. at A.L. Brown’s Bullock Gymnasium.

The Wonders’ opening-round matchup is an intriguing one. Both coaches — Tosha Robinson at A.L. Brown, and Daryl Crego at Northwest — teach at Kannapolis Middle School, and are longtime friends.

“We talk all the time — not just basketball, but things going on at school and in the community,” Robinson said. “It’s going to be interesting. This is one of the games that I really don’t like playing, but it’s just the way things worked out. But it’s OK — we both know that we’re still friends whether we win or lose.”

A win on Wednesday would send the Wonders onto a semifinal meeting against either top-seeded Concord or No. 8 seed Mount Pleasant — who play each other at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Bullock Gym — on Thursday afternoon at A.L. Brown.

The other first-round pairings will see third-seeded Charlotte Myers Park play No. 6 seed J.M. Robinson at 7 p.m., and No. 2 seed Central Cabarrus face seventh-seeded West Stanly at 8:30 p.m.

The semifinal and opening consolation rounds will be played Thursday at Bullock Gym, with the championship and consolation games set for Friday at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center in Concord.

The consolation games will be played at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., with the girls final set for 7 p.m.

The Wonders enter the tournament having split their last two regular-season games of 2006, losing a 52-50 decision to Porter Ridge in an SPC game on Dec. 19, then bouncing back two days later to beat South Rowan 46-32 in a non-conference game.

The loss to Porter Ridge was extremely bothersome to Robinson — Brown led by 12 through three quarters, only to lose its composure during the final eight minutes and lose by two points.

“We didn’t play really well,” Robinson said. “The ladies lost it in the last minutes of the game. They didn’t play with poise like they should have. But they came out (against South Rowan) poised and played with heart and hustle. They did everything they were supposed to do.

“We’re going to have to keep that up if we want to make it to the finals of this tournament. If they play the way they’re supposed to play, we’ll be fine.”

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