No. 1 Carmel Christian’s defense stops Latin in quarterfinals

The top-seeded Carmel Christian Cougars defeated the Charlotte Latin Hawks 66-50 to clinch a NCISAA semifinal berth Saturday using a furious defensive effort.

The Cougars offense was a bit stagnant in the early going, but the No. 1 team in The Charlotte Observer’s Sweet 16 really turned things up in the third quarter.

“This is a fairly new bunch,” Carmel coach Joe Badgett said. “We only had four kids on our roster that played in the state finals last year. It’s new for these guys, so I expected them to be a little tight.”

Cougars senior forward Bryce Cash led his team with 26 points in the win. He hit three 3-point baskets and scored inside. Cash really provided the spark for the Cougars on offense in the second half as they turned a 26-20 halftime lead into a consistent double-digit lead in the second half.

“I really let my defense give me the energy just to go out there on offense and play freely,” Cash said. “Coach Badgett trusts us as players to play freely and my defense is my motor. It’s easy to hit shots when you have that motor.”

The Cougars made it difficult on Latin star Ned Hull all game, despite him scoring 17 points. He wasn’t allowed any clean looks, and the Cougars were forcing him to bring the ball up the floor, which was adding to his fatigue.

“I think for the most part Khamani Wertz just did a great job of chasing him,” Badgett said. “Then we had guys stepping up and being where they needed to be to hedge him off of their screen actions so he wasn’t just getting clean looks. Later on you could see that it got to him a little bit the way those shots were really tough.”

Despite a scoreless first quarter for Carmel’s Jaeden Mustaf, a top-40 national recruit in the class of 2024, he got things cranked up in the second and third quarters. Mustaf drew fouls, made free throws and made some timely scores. He finished with 16 points.

Like Cash and Badgett, Mustaf credits the win to the high-level defense that his team showed during the entire game.

“We did a great job tonight playing defense,” Mustaf said. “We had a game plan, and I think we followed it pretty much exactly how we wanted to. We scouted them a lot and really just did what we were supposed to do.”

Coach Badgett knows how hard it is to win championships. His teams have won state championship in three of the past five years, including winning the 4A title in 2022.

He also knows that a team’s success doesn’t always come on the offensive side of the ball. Badgett feels defense is more consistent — and that’s what he wants his team to focus on.

“If you are playing in the state (playoffs) and you are worried about your offense then you will be in trouble,” Badgett said. “That isn’t what it comes down to. It is about who can guard. We have to be disciplined.”


Bryce Cash, Carmel Christian: The senior forward led his team in scoring, and he did it in a variety of ways. He stretched the floor by shooting 3s and in doing so, it was opening up dribble-drive opportunities for himself as well.

Ned Hull, Charlotte Latin: He seemed to be the main weapon for the Hawks. He is a sharpshooter who can make teams pay if they sag off of him, even for a split second. He finished the game with 17 points, nine of which came off 3-point baskets.

Jaeden Mustaf, Carmel Christian: The 4-star junior might not have had his best scoring night by his standards, but he made up for it on the defensive side of the ball, hounding his matchup and forcing a few turnovers in the process.


Carmel Christian will host Providence Day on Feb. 21 in what can be expected to be a capacity crowd.

Scoring Summary

Carmel Christian 14 12 20 20 — 66

Charlotte Latin 9 11 9 21 — 50

CARMEL CHRISTIAN 66: Cash 26, Mustaf 16, Freeman 11, Wertz 4, Smith 5, Silver 4

CHARLOTTE LATIN 50: Hull 17, Jones 7, Levy 6, Pence 3, Rose 15, Swimmer 2

Saturday’s #BIG5 Top Performers

Lili Booker, Cannon School girls: game-high 19 points in a 73-24 win over Charlotte Country Day in the NCISAA 4A quarterfinals.

Bryce Cash, Carmel Christian: 26 points, the most he’s had at Carmel, in a 66-50 win over Charlotte Latin in the NCSISAA 4A quarterfinals. Cash crossed the 1,500 career-point mark.

Jordyn Latter, Providence Day girls: team-high 18 points in a 70-47 win over Metrolina Christian in the NCISAA 4A quarterfinals.

Evan Montanari, Gaston Day: 18 points, 10 steals, five rebounds and five assists in a 77-56 win over Grace Christian. He was 5-of-9 from 3.

Trajan Thompson, Providence Day: 17 points, seven rebounds in a 49-44 upset at Rabun Gap (GA) in the NCISAA 4A quarterfinals.

Saturday’s Boys Boxscores


Carmel Christian 14 12 20 20 — 66

Charlotte Latin 9 11 9 21 — 50

CARMEL CHRISTIAN 66: Bryce Cash 26, Jaeden Mustaf 16, Brett Freeman 11, Wertz 4, Smith 5, Silver 4

CHARLOTTE LATIN 50: Ned Hull 17, Jones 7, Levy 7, Sean Rose 13, Hendley 4, Swimmer 2


Concord Academy 14 13 14 27 — 63

Forsyth Country Day 14 18 13 12 — 57

CONCORD ACADEMY 63: JJ Moore 12, Avion Pinner 18, Isaiah Tate 8, Magnus Swinger 5, Noah Van Bibber 14, Jake Benham 6

FORSYTH COUNTRY DAY 57: Iverson King 20, Jahon Foster 10, Draven Pilson 12, Q Williams 11, Germinski 4

Notable: CA Played without 6’10 Petar Asceric (out with injury).


Westminster Catawba 16 7 10 16 — 49

Caldwell Academy 13 11 14 16 — 56

WESTMINSTER CATAWBA 49: Tim Hall Jr 27 Points, 15 Rebounds, 5 Blocks, Booker 4, Derek Bradley 10, N. Hamrick 8

CALDWELL ACADEMY 56: Goodman 5, Jaylen Cross 16, Ayden Johnson 11, JJ Swindell 19, Neal Swindell 4, O’Neil 1

Notable: In the Sweet 16 of the NCISAA 2A state playoffs (3rd Round) Westminster dropped a tough loss to Caldwell Academy (Greensboro). In his last high school game Tim Hall Jr had 27 points, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks). Hall finished his high school career with over 2,000 points and over 1,000 rebounds.


Gaston Day 17 23 21 16 — 77

Grace Christian (Sanford) 11 10 11 24 — 56

GASTON DAY 77: Evan Montanari 18, Callum Richard 17, Kurt Hunter 10, Chase Owens 9, Colin Fayed 6, Ayron Jackson 5, Braylen Todd 4, Griffen Simpson 4, Deshawn Coulter 2, Jack Horgan 2

GRACE CHRISTIAN 56: Streeter 18, Butler 10, Hodges 10, Hodges 5, Zimmerman 5, Stokes 4, Zingelmahn 4

Gaston Day Record: 17-9

Next Game: Tuesday, 2/21 @ Trinity Academy of Raleigh 5:00pm (NCISAA 2A state quarterfinals)


Providence Day 8 15 12 14 — 49

Rabun Gap 13 12 11 8 — 44

PROVIDENCE DAY 49: Riley Allenspach 12, Nick Hailey 11, Trajan Thompson 17, Appling 3, Winston 2, Youakim 4

RABUN GAP 44: Theo Antinori 19, Onduso 4, Madiluirs 3, Mendez 2, Earnhardt 7, Sianshurli 2, Kauzonas 2

Notable: Sophomore Trajan Thompson led the Chargers with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Senior Riley Allenspach added 12 points and 8 rebounds. The Chargers also got 11 points and 8 rebounds from sophomore Nick Hailey, while sophomore Braxton Winston contributed 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Providence Day will travel to Carmel Christian on Tuesday for an NCISAA State Semi-final game at 7 p.m.

Records: Providence Day 20-12; Rabun Gap 22-9


Ravenscroft 22-18-16-15 — 71

Cannon 12-14-10-28 — 64

CANNON 64: Austin Swartz 26, Isaiah Henry 18, Sean Birmingham 11

Saturday’s Girls Boxscores


Cannon School 28 18 17 10- 73

Charlotte Country Day 7 9 2 6- 24

CANNON SCHOOL 73 — Maya Mccorkle 8, Kierra Morrow 6, Ashley Fowler 11, Jamyrah Cherry 8, Samyha Suffren 13, Lili Booker 19, Khloe Thompson 8, Trinity Mathis 2

CHARLOTTE COUNTRY DAY 24 — Blythe 2, Vanderhave 13, Brown 2, Smith 2, Bigham 2

Records: Cannon School 23-5, Charlotte Country Day 11-22

Notable: Todays playoff win gave Coach Kelvin Drakeford his 100th win as a head coach. He is currently 100-49 in his 6 seasons at Cannon School.2017-2018: 4-152018-2019: 15-82019-2020: 17-92020-2021: 20-52021-2022: 21-72022-2023: 23-5


PDS 16-10-18-26 — 70

Metrolina 3-17-11-16 — 47

PDS 70: Jordyn Latter 18 Jaida McClure 12 Lauren Jensen 11 Clark 7 UpDyke 4 Ramsden 5 Levine 7 Glosson 2 Swinson 4

METROLINA CHRISTIAN 47: Metrolina Hannah Sorrentino 20 Alaina Grisson 11 Honeycut 4 Reynolds 3 White 3 Carlson 1 Rodden 2 King 3

Record 22-6

Notable: Providence Day Girls advances to 4A NCISAA state semifinals and will host TBA on Tuesday, Feb 21 at 6 p.m.

PHOTOS: Carmel Christian vs. Charlotte Latin in NCISAA quarterfinals

Langston Wertz Jr. is an award-winning sports journalist who has worked at the Observer since 1988. He’s covered everything from Final Fours and NFL to video games and Britney Spears. Wertz — a West Charlotte High and UNC grad — is the rare person who can answer “Charlotte,” when you ask, “What city are you from.”
Support my work with a digital subscription

Source link

Leave a Comment