High School Highlights

East girls All-Stars have heavy Cumberland County flavor

19DavidMayKendalMooreThis summer’s East All-Star girls basketball team will have a strong Cumberland County flavor. The head coach and three players on the team hail from Fayetteville.

Pine Forest’s David May will serve as head coach for the East team in the annual East- West All-Star game. It will be played Monday, July 15, at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The girls will play at 6:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 8:30 p.m.

Joining May as members of his East girls team will be Alex Scruggs of E.E. Smith, Kendal Moore of Pine Forest and Kate Perko of Terry Sanford.

Scruggs was the Player of the Year in the Patriot Athletic Conference while Moore made first team all-conference. Scruggs is going to Wake Forest, and Moore is headed for North Carolina State.

Perko was a second team All-Patriot Athletic Conference selection. She will be playing for Meredith College.

The East All-Star boys basketball roster was announced earlier, and there is one Cumberland County player on the squad. Brion McLaurin of Seventy-First, Player of the Year in the Sandhills Athletic Conference, will perform for the East squad.

L to R: David May and Kendal Moore

South View program aims to keep rising

18MatthewPembertonEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

Rodney Brewington was a player on the 1991 South View High School football team that won the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A state championship. Last year, his Tigers got a taste of that kind of success as they finished in a tie for second place in the Patriot Athletic Conference, one game back of regular-season champion Pine Forest.

But Brewington has a big rebuild to do on offense, and it involves replacing his son, four-year Tiger quarterback Donovan Brewington.

“The biggest thing we are looking for now is guys who have to step up and lead,’’ Brewington said.

They’ll also need to replace his son’s favorite target, Emery Simmons, one of the best deep threats in Cumberland County, who’s now playing for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

One player who will be counted on heavily is running back Matthew Pemberton, the secondleading rusher in Cumberland County Schools last season with 1,667 yards and 23 touchdowns, the latter the most in the county. “Matthew Pemberton is going to carry a heavy load,’’ Brewington said.

On the defensive side of the ball, Brewington thinks the Tigers have players who can fill the positions, they just need to step up and show what they can do to make big plays.

Offensively, Brewington thinks this will be the year of the running back in Cumberland County. Nearly every school will have a talented runner in the backfield who can take the ball the distance whenever it is handed to them, he said.

South View’s best, Pemberton, is hoping to get a lot of college looks while doing all he can to help his teammates be winners.

“We have the players this year to do the same or better than we did last year,’’ Pemberton said. “We just have to be disciplined and listen to coach.’’

Pemberton said he expects to be called on to do more things to fill some of the void left by the departed seniors. “I have to do more to help the younger kids understand what they need to do in game situations,’’ he said.

Photo: Matthew  Pemberton

Herz leaning toward signing after being picked by Chicago

16DJHerzSince his earliest days playing any sport, Terry Sanford baseball standout D.J. Herz has always played at the highest level. Now that he’s been drafted by the Chicago Cubs to play Major League Baseball, his father, John Herz said, that’s likely to continue. 

While a final decision hasn’t been reached, the senior Herz, who is also representing his son in negotiations with the Cubs, said both are leaning toward signing a contract and starting D.J.’s professional career in the minor leagues as soon as possible.

D.J. was the 252nd player chosen in the draft, going to the Cubs in the eighth round.

“He’s really ready to get started,’’ the elder Herz said of his son. “That’s just D.J.’s makeup. He’s always played up, always played with the best. He’s ready to continue that trend.’’

D.J. was a three-sport athlete during the majority of his high school career at Terry Sanford, starting at quarterback in football, playing guard in basketball, and pitching and playing in the field for the baseball team.

This past season, the young Herz was voted Player of the Year in the Patriot Athletic Conference. He led Terry Sanford to the regular-season title, a 24-3 record and the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs. For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs were eliminated by the eventual state champion, New Hanover.

On the mound, Herz was 8-1 with a 0.51 earned run average and a Cumberland County Schools best of 106 strikeouts in 56.1 innings. At the plate, he batted .419 and drove in 26 runs. He had a county-best 13 doubles and tied for the lead in home runs with four. He also shared the lead in triples with three.

Herz’s father said the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursued his son hard and was still hopeful of getting him to play for the Tar Heels this fall.

But the senior Herz indicated the preference is to focus on professional baseball and forego a college career.

Once D.J. makes a final decision to sign, he will likely be assigned to one of Chicago’s rookie league teams, which are located in Arizona.

Bears seek to replace large graduating class

17KendallEvansEditor’s note: This is part of a series on Cumberland County high school spring football workouts.

A big senior class entering a football season is a plus, but when that year is over, it can be a major liability. Gray’s Creek football coach David Lovette is dealing with that harsh reality as his Bears lost 20 players who played a variety of key roles last season.

The good news is there were a lot of youth in the offensive line. Most of them return this year, along with the quarterback, who just happens to be Lovette’s son Ben. Ben threw for 729 yards in the Bears’ runoriented Wing-T offense.

Another key player returning is promising running back Jerry Garcia, who saw a lot of playing time last season and rolled up 529 yards and five touchdowns.

“It’s not like the cupboard is bare,’’ Lovette said of the graduation losses. “We’ll miss those guys, but a lot of them (the returners) have seen playing time.’’

Garcia has been timed electronically at 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. “He’s one of those kids that if the weight room is open, he’s there,’’ Lovette said. “He’s a hard worker.’’

The Bears used much of the spring to put in a few changes to their system. “We’re doing the same things, just doing them differently,’’ Lovette said. Some changes are being made in the defense, and Lovette is still searching for a punter to complete the special teams.

One of the top defensive players back for the Bears is defensive end Kendall Evans. At 6-foot- 3 and 240 pounds, he’s being recruited by such schools as Wake Forest, North Carolina A&T, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State.

“I just want to work on my technique, my speed and my strength,’’ Evans said of the summer and fall workouts.

He feels the Bears need to focus on working together better as a team. “I think we did a lot better last year than we did previous years,’’ he said. “We didn’t have anyone selfish on our team. We were selling out for each other.’’

Last season the Bears were 7-5 and lost to Northern Durham in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A state playoffs.

Photo: Kendall Evans

Sandhills All-Conference softball

Here is the Sandhills Athletic Conference softball team as chosen by the league’s head coaches.

Pitcher of the year: Morgan Britt, Lumberton and Greyson Way, Richmond Senior

Player of the year: Carlie Myrtle, Jack Britt

Coach of the year: Wendy Wallace, Richmond Senior

First team:

• Richmond Senior — Savannah Lampley, Taylor Parrish, Aliyah Swiney, Payton Chappell, Kayla Hawkins

• Jack Britt — Jessica McRae, Alyssa Brown, Catie McGrath

• Lumberton — Madison Canada, Ashley Prevatte, Kasey West

• Purnell Swett — JaiLeana Deese, Chandra Locklear, Katlyn Jones, Trinity Locklear

• Scotland — Olivia Hyatt, Taylor Whitley

• Hoke County — Ina Womack, Kiya Locklear

• Pinecrest — Katelyn Chisholm, Hannah Spinali

• Seventy-First — Lacey Henry

Photo: Carlie Myrtle

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