As both the Lake Norman Wildcats and Mooresville Blue Devils walked off the floor after the Wildcats’ 69-53 win on Thursday night, an unfortunate reality was setting in - both of these teams no longer have any games scheduled between now and their next meeting on February 9.
“It’s kind of a bummer,” Lake Norman head coach Joseph Hodges said. “I told them to look at it as you never know when you’re last game is going to be.”
The reason for the sudden change in the schedule was a decision on Wednesday night at an emergency board meeting for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to come to the decision to pause all athletic activity until February 15, effectively ending the basketball season for those schools.
Both LNHS and MHS are, for the remainder of this athletic year, in a conference made up of predominately CMS schools, so both coaches and athletic directors are now scrambling to piece together a 14-game schedule.
Only two other 4A high schools in the area, Hickory Ridge and Porter Ridge, are facing similar situations with their schedules. Both programs have already attempted to contact those schools and are in the beginning stages of scheduling games.
“The guys were texting me all day, wondering if we were going to get any games,” Hodges said. “They know we’ll try our best to do that.”
Until then, both teams will just have to be ready to play whenever a game may come available.
On the court, both the Wildcats and Blue Devils played as if it could be the last game they play this season, scraping over loose balls, drawing fouls, and putting on a good show for those in attendance. But it was Lake Norman that ultimately cruised to victory behind stellar performances from their big men Seth Aeschliman and Davis Wagner.
“We knew we would have a size advantage,” Hodges said. “We wanted to get the ball inside to Seth - and Davis really stepped up huge.”
Aeschliman finished with a team-high 15 points on the night and was a nightmare for the Blue Devils to defend in the paint. The 6-foot-5 senior had a noticeable height advantage over every player that Mooresville could throw at him and had the post moves to get easy buckets down low.
“He’s a big, strong player,” Hodges said.
Davis added 14 points of his own, connecting on a few reverse layups in the paint for some extra style points.
Both players stepped up in the second half to help put the game out of reach for Mooresville, combining for 23 of the Wildcats’ 35 points after halftime.
Most noticeably, their game featured solid passing in the post, often leading to an open shot for one of them.
“We work on that (post passing) a lot,” Hodges said. “It gets some movement between the post guys and both Davis and Seth are really good passers.”
The Wildcats had two other players finish in double figures on the night with Mekhi Goree and Christian Taylor both finishing the game with 10 points, but going about it in vastly different ways. Goree knocked down a trio of three-pointers while Taylor was able to finish at the basket with great success.
For almost the entire second half, the Wildcats led by double digits and pushed their lead out to as much as 24 early in the fourth.
Mooresville was paced on the night by K.C. Shaw, who finished the game with a game-high 18 points. Paxton Broadway also finished in double figures with 10 points, but the rest of the team struggled to put the ball in the hoop all night with no other player totaling more than four points in the game.
But now, for both teams, the waiting game begins.
With no games on the schedule as of Thursday night, the Wildcats and Blue Devils enter a sort of limbo where they will keep practicing not knowing when their next game will tip-off.