Wrapping up the year in review stories for Record schools, Western Harnett, Hobbton, Overhills and Cape Fear Christian Academy all contributed to an entertaining 2018-2019 campaign.
Football season saw some ups and downs for Record teams. Overhills started off hot, winning the first three games of the year, including routs over Harnett Central and Western Harnett. The Jaguars ran into some trouble during conference play, including one stretch in which they played three conference opponents in nine days. But they remained competitive throughout the year, thanks to leadership from seniors Zion Gilliam, Ulysses Dashawn Lewis, Josiah Gadson, Zion Hayes and several others.
Hobbton made a very solid rebound in the first year under head coach Joe Salas. The Wildcats fell to some tough competition early, but picked up impressive wins over Smithfield-Selma, Union and North Duplin. And they nearly upset Sampson County rival Midway, falling 44-38 in an exciting shootout. Hobbton qualified for the NCHSAA state playoffs for the first time since 2015, and will return a strong core of players, headlined by rising seniors Grayson Rogers, Brayden Herring and Dacorris Morrison.
Turning the corner
After going winless in 2017, Western showed signs of turning the corner in 2018. The Eagles finally got the breakthrough they were looking for when they upset Triton on the Hawks’ homecoming night. Western rode that emotional high and used it to blow by Harnett Central to give them a 2-1 record against Harnett County teams. The Eagles lose some talented seniors, including Tamarius Davis, Kentarius Thompson and Lance McLean. But they also bring back rising junior quarterback Tristin Ung and rising senior running back Ky’lim Moore, along with some other solid players.
The most successful Record team in the fall was without a doubt Hobbton’s boys soccer team. The Wildcats won 16 games and went 12-0 in the Carolina Conference, earning them a first round bye in the NCHSAA playoffs. They topped Raleigh Charter in the second round before eventually falling to state champ Voyager Academy in the third round. Hobbton was led by a trio of seniors: Uriel Cruz, Allan Martinez and Francisco Rosas.
Overhills had a solid boys soccer season too. The Jaguars finished with a winning record, picking up impressive wins over Harnett Central, Douglas Byrd and Westover. Though they missed out on the playoffs, senior captains Iann Morales, Ethan Arney and Joed Caamano can take pride in contributing to the first winning season in program history.
Overhills kicked off the winter season in style, with both the girls and boys basketball teams sweeping the Harnett County Tipoff. The girls started off strong with wins over Harnett Central and Western Harnett, and finished fourth in a tough Patriot 3A/4A conference. That was good enough to earn them a bid into the NCHSAA state playoffs. The Jaguars lose a couple of key seniors in Kiana Jones and Jada Yon, but they also return some key players, including the HC Tipoff MVP in rising junior J’Kyah Kelley, as well as rising juniors Iyonnah Council and Maaika Dones.
Overhills’ boys team started off strong as well, picking up wins over Harnett Central and Triton to take the county trophy. They tied for fourth in the conference, but made an improbable run all the way to the conference tournament championship game, knocking off top-seeded Pine Forest in the semifinal. That late push helped them sneak into the state playoffs. Overhills was led by three seniors: Lexuus Fasce, Jaylen Moore and Carlos Ramos.
Cape Fear Christian Academy’s basketball teams also both had solid years. The boys finished with a winning record, notching 19 wins. They remained competitive in the Sandhills Conference, one of the toughest leagues in the entire state. And they advanced to the NCISAA 1A state quarterfinal before losing to No. 2 Trinity Christian by five points. They were captained by seniors E.J. Bethea and Riley Adams.
CFCA’s girls were one of the youngest teams in the area, sporting several freshmen and eighth-graders. But they fought hard to compete and finish fourth in the conference, which bodes well for the program’s future. The Eagles did not have a single senior on the roster, and were led by juniors Kristen Bass and Meghan Taylor.
Western’s basketball teams both saw some ups and downs, but had all-around solid seasons. The girls posted a winning record for the first time since the 2010-2011 season, racking up 13 wins. They had a rough stretch in the middle of the year, but they capped of the season with wins in each of their last three home games. The Eagles were led by seniors Lahaina Bell, Taija Pruitt, Kaile McLean and Javona Farrington.
Western’s boys had a tough start, but they remained competitive throughout the year and picked up a pair of wins over Triton in Tri-County Conference play. They came up one point short of knocking off Harnett Central in the conference tournament semifinal. The Eagles were led by seniors Tre’ Richardson and Tobias Dillard.
Western also had a successful winter on the wrestling mat, as the Eagles had four wrestlers compete at the state meet. Fred Lewis (120) came in as the No. 2 seed out of the Mideast Regional and finished as the state runner-up. Will Lewis (132) came in as the No. 3 seed and won two matches before falling in the semifinal. Jack Taylor (138) came in as the No. 3 seed, and Khamani Holmes (145) came in as the No. 4 seed.
Overhills had two wrestlers qualify for the state meet. John Moshman (152) came in as the No. 3 seed out of the Mideast, and Joshua Oates (285) came in as the No. 4 seed.
Moving into spring, all four schools had teams qualify for the state playoffs. Leading the way was CFCA’s softball team, which hosted this year’s NCISAA 1A final four. That homefield advantage was huge for the Eagles, who blew through the competition to win the state championship. Without a single senior on this year’s team, they’ll be favorites to repeat next year behind rising seniors Kristin Bass, Meghan Taylor, Paige Jeffries and Jada Horne.
Western Harnett’s baseball team was one of the most talented in the area. The Eagles posted 18 wins this season, winning eight of their first nine games. Though they hit a rough patch in the middle of conference play, they went on to win the Tri-County Conference tournament title, earning them a home game in the first round of the state playoffs in which they topped Clayton. Western was led by seniors Bradley Wilson, Collin Welch, Noah Kessler, Chase Holder, Collin Smith and Dustin Lund.
Hobbton had three teams qualify for the state playoffs. Baseball finished second in the Carolina Conference and hosted a first round playoff game in which they advanced past Southside. They’ll only lose one senior: Jackson McLamb. Softball and soccer both finished fourth in the conference, good enough to qualify for the state playoffs.
Overhills’ softball team posted a winning record, finishing fourth in a strong Patriot 3A/4A Conference to qualify for the state playoffs. They were led by seniors Kiana Jones, Taylor Nunn, Bailey Neel, Megan Meurer and Jordan Anderson.
Kids in the paper
The four schools combined for five Student-Athlete of the Week winners: E.J. Bethea (CFCA, boys basketball), Lahaina Bell (Western, girls basketball), Cinque Lemon (Overhills, boys basketball), Fred Lewis (Western, wrestling) and Kristin Bass (CFCA, softball). The Record also did a feature story on Hobbton football’s female kicker, Jovanna Zapata, as well as three CFCA basketball players from Uruguay: Marcus Owens, Lucas Capalbo and Ramiro Arrilaga.
The four schools also combined for 10 All-Record selections. Western’s Lahaina Bell and Overhills’ J’Kyah Kelley both made the girls basketball team. Western’s Tre’ Richardson and CFCA’s E.J. Bethea both made the boys basketball team. Hobbton’s Grayson Rogers was the Offensive Player of the Year and Western’s Bradley Wilson was the Pitcher of the Year for baseball. Western also had Collin Welch on the baseball team. Overhills’ Kiana Jones, Hobbton’s Kameron Lee and CFCA’s Kristin Bass all made the softball team.