Tough test up next for Brown

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

By Bill Kiser

Kannapolis Citizen

A tough draw proved to be the undoing of A.L. Brown’s boys and girls basketball teams in last week’s NorthEast Medical Christmas Classic holiday tournament.

But the draw will be just as tough for the Wonders this week as they resume South Piedmont Conference play Friday against long-time rival Concord.

The varsity doubleheader will be played at A.L. Brown’s Bullock Gymnasium, with the girls game starting at 6 p.m.

Brown’s boys (9-4, 3-0) return to league play after losing two out of three games in the NorthEast Medical Classic. The fifth-seeded Wonders opened with a 77-52 loss to No. 4 seed Charlotte Myers Park last Wednesday.

Brown bounced back Thursday by crushing eighth-seeded Mt. Pleasant 88-46 in the consolation round but capped the tournament by losing to seventh-seeded West Stanly

68-57 on Friday in the tournament’s fifth-place game.

“The effort was there — the guys played hard — but we didn’t shoot the ball well,” Wonders head coach Shelwyn Klutz said. “We wanted to win the tournament, but in the big picture it really doesn’t mean a lot as far as our conference.

“We’ve got some goals … that’s why the guys are ready to get back into conference play.”

And A.L. Brown — the only undefeated team in the SPC standings — will return to league action against one of the league’s hottest teams.

Concord (9-3, 1-1) enters Friday’s game on a roll, having won six straight, including three games in as many days last week en route to winning the NorthEast Medical Classic title.

The Spiders — who returned four starters off last year’s state 3A runner-up squad — are also back at full strength, with all of their players back from Concord’s state champion football team.

“It’s a big one,” Klutz said of Friday’s game. “They’re very talented, and they’ve got a lot of weapons and experience. We just want to do what we can do and not try to get in an up-tempo game.

“Our guys are excited to play. It’s going to be a challenge for us, and hopefully we’ll be up for that challenge.”

A.L. Brown’s girls face just as big a challenge — and also go into Friday’s game having lost two out of three in the NorthEast Medical Classic.

The fifth-seeded Wonders opened the tournament with a 52-34 loss to fourth-seeded Northwest Cabarrus, beat eighth-seeded Mt. Pleasant 42-39, then fell to No. 6 J.M. Robinson 43-25 in the tournament’s fifth-place game.

“We didn’t do as good as I thought we were going to do,” Brown head coach Tosha Robinson said. “But the ladies are trying to get focused and prepared on what we have coming up in conference play.

“We’re looking at the losses and how we lost and trying to fix those things so we can be pretty decent in the conference.”

Concord, however, is tied with Piedmont for the conference lead and has won three of its last four games. The only stumble came in the finals of the NorthEast Medical Classic, where the top-seeded Spiders (9-2, 2-0) lost to third-seeded Myers Park 47-45.

The Wonders (5-8, 1-2), meanwhile, are in a four-way tie for fourth place (with Anson County, Parkwood and Porter Ridge) for fourth place in the SPC standings.

“They’re a very up-tempo team,” Robinson said of Concord. “They’re run a secondary break and try to run a fast break every time they get the ball. They’ll send girls back to get easy layups, so if we can slow they down hopefully we can have some success against them.”