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4A WEST MEN’S REGIONAL FINAL: Charlotte Catholic comes back to beat North Meck

CHARLOTTE CATHOLIC TACKLES NORTH MECK 46-41 TO WIN 4A WEST REGIONAL

Charlotte Catholic is headed to their first Men’s Basketball State Championship game appearance after knocking off North Mecklenburg 46-41.

North Mecklenburg started off ice cold from the field, missing their first 10 shots from the field. Meanwhile, Charlotte Catholic jumped out to a 8-0 first quarter lead before the Vikings were able to break the ice on a 7-0 run of their own to trim the deficit to 1 late in the first quarter. The Cougars led 11-9 after one quarter.

North Mecklenburg took their first lead of the game when Jaylen McManus drilled a left wing three in the first minute of the second quarter. McManus finished with 17 points and seven rebounds on the day. The Vikings and Cougars traded buckets with three more ties in the quarter which the Vikings led at the half 23-19.

In the third, the Vikings stretched their lead to six briefly before the Cougars managed to slow the game down in the final two minutes of the quarter. A mini-run 6-1 got the Cougars within 1 at the close of the quarter, 30-29.

Greg Joyner opened the fourth with a three to give the Vikings a 4-point cushion, but the Cougars managed to score, get a stop and Jimmy Abate laid in a bucket on their next possession to force the fourth tie of the game at 33.

North Mecklenburg’s Kendall Coles broke the tie slashing to the basket with just over four minutes to play, then a McManus stick back put the Vikings back up 4, 37-33. That’s when Jack Larkin drilled a three from the left corner to trim the lead to 1 with 2:45 to go. Larkin added 19 points on the day to go along with six rebounds.

After a stop by the Cougar defense, 5’10” senior Josh Brodowicz forced his way into the paint from the top of the key to hit a fall-away jumper and give the Cougars their first lead since the early moments of the second quarter.

A long rebound led to a run-out lay up by Jack Larkin with 1:30 to go, stretching the Charlotte Catholic advantage to 3, 40-37. Sam Smith then tapped a miss back up and in to give the Cougars a 5-point lead with less than a minute to play.

McManus was fouled on the other end and dropped in 1 of 2 to trim the lead down to 4. Abate stepped to the line for the Cougars and matched the one for two effort.  The Cougars forced a turnover on the next two Viking possessions and were able to bleed out the clock for the win.