Northwest Girls, Southwest Boys Advance to State Championship – Wyatt Smith Reporting

Lindsay Gauldin Makes Shots Down the Stretch to Lead Vikings to Win

Liz Kitley and Lindsay Gauldin stepped up and answered the call to help Northwest beat previously undefeated Mallard Creek 59-58 Saturday in the NCHSAA 4-A West regional final at Fleming Gymnasium on the campus of UNCG.

It was a fiercely-fought contest between the two schools, made even more so by the late absence of Viking leader Cayla King, who was disqualified on a controversial intentional foul call in the fourth quarter.

The two teams went back and forth in the first quarter with Northwest taking the lead with 50 seconds remaining and Gauldin adding a jumper to beat the buzzer and give the Vikings a 15-11 lead.

The two teams continued to battle in the second quarter, but the Vikings took over and increased their lead to ten, the biggest of the game to that point, to lead 30-24 at halftime.

Mallard Creek continued their physical play in the second half, and began to press full-court to try to rattle the Viking guards. Their attempt was unsuccessful, and the Vikings broke through and continued to dominate. The score after three quarters was 43-35 in favor of Northwest.

The Vikings ran into a brick wall in the fourth quarter when their leader on the floor and in the locker room, Cayla King, was disqualified from the game with approximately five minutes remaining. The Vikings began to have more trouble with the press, and Mallard Creek went on a searing 19-6 run in the final five minutes to eliminate the Viking lead.

It was Northwest’s Gauldin who scored five of the last six Viking points, including the two most important of the night: two free throws that put Northwest up by a score of 59-55. Then Mallard Creek’s Dazia Lawerence hit a three pointer that made the score 59-58 with 8.9 remaining to play. Gauldin took the inbounds pass up the court until the last second ticked off the clock and the horn sounded, signaling Northwest’s return to the state championship game for the second year in a row.

Cayla King called it the most physical game of the team’s career, other than last year’s state championship game.

“I’m really proud of my team right now,” she said. “It was a tough game. We had some tough calls, but (the team) just did it.”

Bria Gibbs spoke about how good it felt to win after losing the regional final in her freshman season.

“We faced a lot of adversity,” the junior forward said. “I went down with a shoulder injury in the third quarter, Cayla (King) had a bad call. We all got shook. The fact that we kept it cool and we ended up pulling out the win . . . it’s one of the best feelings in the world to know we have each other’s backs like that.”

Lindsay Gauldin also spoke to the toughness and how great it felt for the team to come together as they faced adversity losing King.

“This is our time to take it all,” the junior said. “We’re going to practice hard next week and when it’s time for the state championship we’re going to show up as a team and come together.”

Liz Kitley had no doubt her team wouldn’t fold with the loss of King.

“We knew it wasn’t over,” Kitley said. “We knew we had to step up, play as a team and we knew we could do it. There wasn’t a doubt. We’re still a good team without her, even though she is amazing.”

The Vikings, hoping  to snag the trophy that eluded them last season, will need all of the talent they can muster Saturday as they return to the state championship game in Chapel Hill at the Dean Smith Center against undefeated Southeastern Raleigh.

**From JP Mundy with the News and Record- Northwest Athletic Director John Hughes confirmed postgame on Saturday that Cayla King was disqualified and not ejected, therefore she will be able to play in the state championship game without appealing her case.**

Big and good news for Northwest and Cayla.



Elizabeth Kitley: 17 pts, 12 reb played all 32 mins

Lindsay Gauldin: 16 pts, (10-14) from the Foul Line, 4 reb, 2 asst, stl

Bria Gibbs: 11 pts, 9 reb 

Cayla King: 9 pts, (5-6) FT, 6 reb, 2 blk, 4 asst,  

Thalia Carter: 6 pts


                   1     2     3     4    

NWG:       15  30   43   59

MLC:        11  24  35   58

Cooper Cunningham Drains Three with One Second on the Clock to Beat Butler, Advance to ‘Ship

The Southwest Cowboys advanced to the state championship game after defeating previously undefeated David Butler High School on a last second three-pointer by Cooper Cunningham at Fleming Gymnasium on the campus of UNCG Saturday night.

The first half of the game was give and take, with neither team having the edge to pull away. The biggest lead was right before halftime when Butler led by four points.

Things changed after halftime. The Bulldogs came out ready for a dog fight, and it became a game of strength versus speed. For most of the second half, strength won. The Bulldogs dominated and began to pull away. At the end of the third quarter, Butler led 43-34. The lead had grown to nine points, and it was going to take a big effort for Southwest to pull off a comeback.

That’s exactly what they did: the comeback of the season.

The Cowboys went on runs throughout the fourth quarter and took the lead for the first time since they led 19-18 with 3:43 left in the first quarter when Kam Langley made a basket that gave Southwest a one point lead, 53-52. There was 4:14 left in the game.

The last 4:14 was exciting as it could be, as each team tried to pull away. Neither could do it, however.

It was Kam Langley, who Coach Guy Shavers called “the glue of this team”, who scored the basket to tie the game with 1:27 left.

The Cowboys had the confidence it took, and after two missed shots, Shavers called a timeout with 19 seconds left to draw up the final play.

Little did anyone know that Cooper Cunningham would be the hero, but Cunningham hit a three pointer with 1.7 seconds on the clock to win the game and send his team to the state championship.

“This is amazing,” said an elated Shavers.

“I think that the boys showed the fortitude and character that they’re made of when we got down and the game looked like it was getting away,” he added.

“When Keyshaun (Langley) kicked it to me, I trusted my shot and knocked it down,” Cunningham said of the game-winning shot.

The Cowboys have advanced to Saturday’s state championship to play the No. 17 ranked Leesville Road team who upset No. 2 ranked South Central in the East Regional final.