North Meck gets its act together, beats Chambers in Queen City tournament final

North Mecklenburg’s boys’ basketball team — and the Vikings’ star player — finally got their act together in the Queen City 3A/4A tournament final.

Isaiah Evans scored a game-high 25 points as North Mecklenburg pulled ahead in the second half to beat Chambers, 67-55, on Friday night in the tournament’s championship game at Harding University High School.

The 6-foot-7 Evans — named the tournament’s most valuable player — hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished with 19 points over the third and fourth quarters as the Vikings (24-3) overcame a 34-27 halftime deficit to win their second straight Queen City title and fourth tournament championship in the past five seasons.

“We just weren’t doing a good job of rebounding,” said Evans, a McDonald’s All-American and Duke recruit. “We weren’t playing our game, we weren’t playing like ourselves. We didn’t play with a lot of energy, we weren’t swinging the ball, we weren’t playing our (isolation) game — and a lot of that fell on me.”

Chadlyn Traylor added 17 points — 12 coming in the second half — and Ashton Pierce made three 3-pointers and scored 13 points for North Mecklenburg, which has now won four straight over the Cougars (19-8) — three this season and the Queen City tourney title last year.

“They were playing hard, and they were controlling the pace,” Vikings head coach Duane Lewis said. “I didn’t think we were playing as hard as we needed to play. They’re a really good team; luckily, our guys stepped up — not just Isaiah, but all of them. That’s what its all about being a team.”

Still, Chambers made life difficult for North Mecklenburg in the first half. After a slow start — the Cougars led 11-10 after the first quarter — they went on to pull ahead by as many as 10 points in the second quarter before ending the half ahead 34-27.

It was a different story for North Mecklenburg in the second half. The Vikings outscored Chambers 25-14 in the third quarter to take a 52-48 lead, then outscored the Cougars 15-7 in the fourth quarter to cap their tourney title run.

Maurio Hanson II led Chambers with 22 points, but only seven in the second half, with Markus Kerr adding 13 points and Tarris Bouie scoring 10 points.

“They just made some baskets,” Cougars head coach Brian Frasier said of North Mecklenburg. “I thought we played hard, they just made some tough baskets and changed the course of the game a little bit.

“We just played more physical in the first half, and executed a lot better than we did in the second half. They made some tough shots, and we didn’t.”