1. West Charlotte, 1999: All-American Jason Parker is one of the best players ever from this state, winning back to back Associated Press player of the year awards. This team was seriously deep, with Division I college talent coming deep off the bench and two future college stars — Justin Gray (Wake Forest) and Curtis Withers (Charlotte 49ers — had to stay on jayvee. Withers was voted one of the Observer’s top players of the Sweet 16 era this week.
2. South Mecklenburg, 1972: Sabres coach Dave Price was born on Christmas Day 1929 and grew up wanting to be a football coach. His Sabres teams dominated the ’70s, winning titles in 1970, 71, 72 and 76. In 1969, the Sabres won Price his first conference championship and the team lost in the playoffs to Greensboro Smith and future NBA and North Carolina star Bob McAdoo. In 1970, Bobby Jones developed into the state’s best player and the Sabres (26-2) beat Wilmington Hoggard 59-58 for the state title. But in 1971 and ’72, the Sabres lost one game, in 1971 to Hickory. The ’72 team went unbeaten (26-0) and that’s the best of the three.
3. Winston-Salem Reynolds, 2001: The school has won five state titles including three in a row from 2000-2002. I think the 2001 team was the best of the bunch. The team finished 28-3, led by Charlotte 49ers recruit Mitchell Baldwin. In 2001, Baldwin was runner-up to Raleigh Broughton’s Shavlik Randolph for N.C. Associated Press player of the year. Reynolds beat Raleigh Leesville Road 94-73 in the state final.
4. Greensboro Page, 1983: Led by All-American Danny Manning, the team rolled to a 73-55 win over Goldsboro in the state final. Manning moved with his family to Kansas before his senior year of high school and eventually played at Kansas, where his father, Ed, later became an assistant for the Jayhawks. Ed Manning played for four NBA and two ABA teams. In 1983, Danny Manning averaged 18.9 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for a 26-0 team that also featured NFL star Haywood Jeffries.
5. North Mecklenburg (31-1), 4A, 2005: Led by junior All-American Jamie Skeen, a top 15 player from the past 25 years, the Vikings held 17 opponents to 50 points or less and finished with a 20-game win streak and a No. 15 national ranking. After starting out No. 1 in the Sweet 16 in 2004 and 2005, the Vikings – who won by an average of 23 points – finally brought home the school’s first Sweet 16 and state championship.
6. Wilmington New Hanover, 1962: The last of three straight state championship teams beat Rocky Mount 42-40 in the 1962 state finals. The previous two teams, coached by the legendary Leon Brogden(Brogden’s grandson Adam is currently on the Grimsley Whirlies 2009-2010 team), won by 12 (66-54 over Myers Park in 1961) and 34. New Hanover absolutely dominated the state in the ’60s. The team lost to Ashley in the 1967 state finals and beat West CHarlotte 61-58 in the ’68 championship round.
7. West Charlotte, 1966: The team, which wasn’t yet in the N.C. High School Athletic Association, finished 19-1 and won a state title for legendary coach Charles McCullough. Center C.J. Montgomery, a 6-6 center, led a talented Lions team, along with Daryl Cherry, who some believe was the best high school football, basketball and baseball player in Charlotte — all in that same year.
8. Greensboro Dudley, 1996: Led by N.C. Associated Press state player of the year Vincent Whitt, who averaged 21 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, the Panthers (29-2) beat Richmond Senior 76-68 in overtime. Dudley rallied from 9 points down in the fourth quarter. Whitt, who played at Clemson, was joined on the team by future North Carolina center Brendan Haywood and sophomore Braxton Williams, who scored 24 in the championship final and was named most outstanding player of the final. Haywood led the state in 1996 with 186 blocks.