After becoming the first basketball team in the school’s 21-year history to finish with a perfect record (18-0 in 2020-21), the Weddington boys are moving up to 4A, which means they won’t get a chance to defense their 3A state title. Practice started on Monday (Nov. 1) and Weddington’s first game is Nov. 23.

Weddington head coach Gary Ellington (has a 199-127 record in 15 seasons. His team won the program’s first state title with a 57-46 win over Northwood in the 3A state title game. There is no doubt that four of Weddington’s most experienced players include: seniors Chase Lowe (14.5 points per game, 7.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists), A.J. Cook (13.8 ppg, 2.7 assists per game) and Kyle Frazier (9.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.9 apg), along with junior Evan Morton (6.5 ppg).

The Warriors open the season against N.C. powerhouse Freedom on Nov. 23. The Warriors are 0-3 all-time against the Patriots in postseason play.

Forest Hills (10-3, 8-1 RRC in 2020-21) is under new direction under former assistant coach Danny Bailey Jr. Bailey replaces Matt Sides, who led the Yellow Jackets to six conference championships, two state title appearances and the 2018 2A state title. The Yellow Jackets graduated two seniors, Jamylan Blakeney and Mashad Hester. Forest Hills, which lost to Rutherford-Spindale Central in the first round of the 2A state tournament last season, will host Apprentice Academy on Nov. 23.

The Monroe Redhawks finished 9-4 in last season’s COVID-shortened schedule.) are expecting to be a major force as they return to the 2A/3A Rocky River Conference. The Redhawks are eligible to return 6-2 senior forward Shaleak “Punch” Knotts (17.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists), along with juniors Khamoni Robinson (10.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists), and Bryce Davis (8.8 points, 5.8 rebounds). Monroe is scheduled to begin the season at home game against Union Academy on Nov. 30.

Cuthbertson (7-7 record in 2020-21) has improved under second-year head coach Chris Caputi. The Cavaliers are eligible to return senior Christian Alston, Christian Haggarty, and sophomore Parker Burke. The Cavaliers haven’t made the playoffs since 2016.

Under the leadership of head coach Garrett Malone, the Porter Ridge Pirates (5-5 record in 2020-21) will play in a Union County-only conference. Porter Ridge has not won a playoff game since 2007.

The supporting cast for the Pirates this Winter includes seniors Aaron Hough (12.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists), Greg Wenger, Jr. (7.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists), and Isaiah Williams (14.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists). They open with a home game against West Cabarrus on Nov. 22.