‘We’re attacking the title.’ Myers Park, chasing history, blows by Ardrey Kell, 65-28

Before Myers Park’s boys beat Ardrey Kell 65-28 in front of a packed gym Friday night, Mustangs coach Scott Taylor told his team that it had a job to do.

Myers Park (26-2) won its first N.C. 4A state championship last year and is trying to become the first 4A boys team from Mecklenburg County to repeat in more than 30 years.

Taylor wants to make sure his team stays locked in on its goal.

“We are not not defending the title,” Taylor said. “Nobody is taking that one away from us. We are attacking the title.”

Myers Park, playing at home, came out on a mission against the same Ardrey Kell team that nearly beat the Mustangs in the SoMECK conference tournament championship game a week ago.

From the start on Friday, Myers Park erased all doubt.

From three minutes left in the first quarter to less than seven minutes left in the third, Ardrey Kell (20-9) didn’t score a point.

During that time, Myers Park led 37-9.

Junior center Sadiq White said it’s important in the postseason for the Mustangs to assert themselves early in games, regardless of who they are playing.

“Just knowing that when we defend and get after it like we’re supposed to, whether it’s a rival, in-state team, any team,” White said. “When we do what we’re supposed to, we win big.”

White had 16 points Friday. Sir Mohammed, the Notre Dame recruit had 17, and Tennessee recruit Bishop Boswell added 13.

Myers Park now has won 22 straight games, including four against Ardrey Kell, which was 20-5 against teams not ranked No. 4 in the nation.

And now, Myers Park is three wins away from playing for a second state title.

“It’s about embracing the target,” Taylor said. ”We know everyone is going to play their best game against us, so we just run our stuff and execute.”

But Taylor said the experience his team has — from winning the title last season to playing arguably the toughest schedule in the state this season — has helped it get ready for a playoff push.

“This group is different,” Taylor said. “There is a benefit of having guys with the experience of going through it, but that doesn’t always mean it will carry over.”

Next up for the Mustangs? A home game Tuesday with another past N.C. state champion. Myers Park will host Independence (20-8) Tuesday.

“Now, we’ve got a Charlotte Mecklenburg team,” Taylor said, “somebody we’ve had a lot of battles with in the past, looking for a spot to get to the Final Four in the West.”

PHOTOS: Ardrey Kell at Myers Park