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Ladies’ night: Ardrey Kell, Indy get upset wins in CMS finals. Mallard Creek avoids one

All three Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ conference tournament championships came down to the wire Friday night.

In the Southwestern 4A, Independence upset Charlotte Catholic.

In the SoMECK 4A, Ardrey Kell upset Myers Park.

And in the Queen City 3A/4A, Mallard Creek just avoided an upset, beating rival North Mecklenburg by a single point.

Southwestern 4A: Independence upsets Catholic

Independence Gets A Buzzer Shot Taking Them Into Overtime With Charlotte Christian
Independence Gets A Buzzer Shot Taking Them Into Overtime With Charlotte Christian

Kaylee Carson’s 23rd point of the night lifted Independence to a 69-68 overtime victory Friday over Charlotte Catholic in the Southwestern 4A tournament girls’ championship game.

The second-seeded Patriots, who lost a pair of close decisions to regular-season champ Charlotte Catholic, needed some dramatics to pull off the victory.

Perhaps the most dramatic moment came in the final seconds of regulation: The Patriots got the ball with eight seconds left, after the Cougars made a free throw for a 60-57 lead. Independence junior Kamryn Kitchen dribbled across the time line, and with the clock about to hit zero, she unleashed a 30-foot shot that hit nothing but net.

The teams then traded the lead eight times in overtime.

Carson, named the tournament’s most valuable player, finished with 23 points.

Kitchen scored 22.

Cougars center Blanca Thomas topped her team with 21.

— Steve Lyttle

Mallard Creek holds off North Meck upset bid

Mallard Creek’s My’Asia Young, center, exchanges high fives with her teammates during pre-game introductions for the Queen City 3A/4A tournament girls championship game against North Mecklenburg on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, at Harding University High School in Charlotte, N.C. (CREDIT: BILL KISER/SPECIAL TO THE OBSERVER)
Mallard Creek’s My’Asia Young, center, exchanges high fives with her teammates during pre-game introductions for the Queen City 3A/4A tournament girls championship game against North Mecklenburg on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, at Harding University High School in Charlotte, N.C. (CREDIT: BILL KISER/SPECIAL TO THE OBSERVER)

Alana Biosse came up with four clutch points in the final 13 seconds as the Mavericks edged the Vikings, 60-59, in the Queen City 3A/4A tournament championship game at Harding University High.

Biosse made a pair of free throws with 13.2 seconds remaining to put Mallard Creek (24-3) ahead 58-57. After North Mecklenburg went back up 59-58 on Lenise Joseph’s layup with five seconds remaining, Biosse took a pass and drove for a layup, which rolled in as the buzzer sounded.

Elle Stone, named the tournament’s most valuable player, scored 22 points for the Mavericks, who won their third conference tournament title in the past five years. Lili Booker added 12 points, My’Asia Young had 11 points and Biosse finished with eight points.

Joseph led the Vikings (22-5) with a game-high 23 points in losing to Mallard Creek for the fourth straight game, including last year’s tourney final.

— Bill Kiser

SoMECK: Ardrey Kell upsets Myers Park

Ardrey Kell players celebrate their win against Myers Park at Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, February 23, 2024.
Ardrey Kell players celebrate their win against Myers Park at Ardrey Kell High School in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, February 23, 2024.

Ardrey Kell upset top-seeded Myers Park to win the SoMeck 4A conference championship, winning 53-51 in overtime thanks to a pair of last second free throws by point guard Skyler Fleck.

“I really can’t explain how I truly feel,” Knights’ coach La’Tavia Dixon said. “I’m just glad our girls came out as a team and beat a team like Myers Park and a coach like Barbra Nelson. Watching her, she is my mentor. The way she gets her girls to compete at a high level, and for my girls to do the same, I’m very proud of them.”

Stepping to the line, only needing to hit one free throw with 0.1 seconds on the clock, Fleck was trying to calm her emotions and knock the free throws down.

“I was honestly just trying to ask coach if I should make the first one and miss the second so they couldn’t get a timeout,” Fleck said. “Once I made the first one I got too nervous to miss the second. There were a lot of nerves but they were good nerves.”

After falling twice to the Mustangs in the regular season, Fleck said beating Myers Park on the big stage meant everything.

“This feels so good,” Fleck said. “I haven’t beaten those girls since seventh grade. This gives us motivation to get further (in the playoffs) than we ever have.”

— Cameron Williams

PHOTOS: CMS girls’ conference finals