CHARLOTTE — Myles Pierre delivered when Carmel Christian needed it most.
Pierre hit two free throws to send Saturday’s N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 2A state championship game to overtime. The 6-foot-3 junior then hit the game winner with five seconds left in the second overtime as the Cougars defeated Gaston Day 74-72 on Feb. 23.
Pierre finished with 28 points while junior Donovan Gregory and Ford Cooper added 19 and 13 points, respectively, for Carmel. Carmel was the state runner-up in 2017.
“Myles was very determined, and it showed because he wasn’t going to be denied,” said second-year Carmel coach Byron Dinkins. “Myles defended, he made plays and, obviously, he made the shot at the end. He was a leader and a great teammate.”
Carmel Christian started its run to the title with a 71-57 victory over St. David’s School in the quarterfinals before defeating Village Christian Academy 92-80 in the semifinals.
Carmel trailed Gaston Day 37-27 at halftime and the Cougars twice trailed by 12 points – 39-27 and 41-29 – in the third period.
But Pierre and Gregory would score all 20 of Carmel’s third period points as the Cougars cut the Gaston Day lead to 51-47 going to the fourth period. Pierre hit two free throws with 4.4 seconds left in regulation that tied the game at 64-64 and sent the contest into overtime.
Both teams traded baskets in the first overtime to send the game to a second extra period tied at 66-66. The Spartans’ Nate Hinson tied the game at 72-72 with a basket with 39 seconds left in the second overtime but Pierre delivered the win with a short basket off the glass to give the Cougars the school’s first boys’ basketball championship.
“The kids made plays that needed to be made,” Dinkins said. “They held together and they made shots. They defended well.”
During the regular season, Carmel (24-4) defeated undefeated Southwestern 4A Conference regular season champion Charlotte Independence 61-55. Independence (29-1) is playing in the Class 4A West Regional Finals on March 3 in Winston-Salem.
Pierre, Gregory and Cooper all will be back next season but Dinkins isn’t looking that far ahead right now.
“We just want to enjoy what happened last weekend,” Dinkins said.
Latin girls fall at state
The Charlotte Latin girls’ basketball team’s season ended in the semifinals of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 3A Tournament on Feb. 23 when the Hawks fell to eventual state champion Wesleyan Christian Academy 70-42.
Latin defeated Greensboro Day 46-34 and North Raleigh Christian Academy 62-30 in the first two rounds of the state tournament.
Latin earned a share of the CISAA Conference Championship with Providence Day after the Hawks defeated Chargers 71-57 on Jan. 26. That victory snapped Providence Day’s 110-game CISAA winning streak.
During the season, two players – senior Claudia Dickey and junior Kathryn Vandiver – surpassed the 1,000-point scoring mark in their careers at the school. Dickey and Vandiver were named to the All-State team.
Dickey was the only senior on the roster. She ended her career with 1,153 points, 659 rebounds, 521 assists and 329 steals.