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2023 MLK Dream Jam highschool basketball highlights

Some highlights from three highschool basketball video games on the 2023 MLK Dream Jam showcase.

Rodd Baxley, The Fayetteville Observer

Monarchs is a becoming moniker for New Life Christian Academy boys basketball. 

With an 84-79 win in opposition to Seventy-First on the third annual MLK Dream Jam showcase on Monday, the Monarchs strengthened their case because the kings of the courtroom in Fayetteville. 

In a matchup that featured the squads with the perfect resumes within the metropolis, New Life (22-9) and Seventy-First (14-2) lived as much as the hype with a back-and-forth battle within the high recreation at Terry Sanford’s two-day occasion. 

Each groups earned trophies on the Cumberland County Vacation Basic and the Falcons rode a 12-game profitable streak into Monday’s matchup. 

However the Monarchs have essentially the most victories, together with wins in opposition to Seventy-First and E.E. Smith (11-3) – one other Fayetteville group in rivalry for a convention championship.

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“We proved that we will hoop with anyone. We are able to hoop with anyone, particularly within the metropolis,” mentioned senior guard Malachi Travis, who had 14 factors in opposition to the Falcons. 

“I believe we’re the highest faculty in Fayetteville and I stand by that.” 

Total, Cumberland County’s public colleges had a 6-3 benefit within the showcase to earn bragging rights over non-public colleges for the second 12 months in a row. However the boys cut up six video games Monday. 

After incomes a 61-44 win in opposition to New Life Christian final season within the Vacation Basic, Seventy-First ended the season with a state championship look as Fayetteville’s high program. 

New Life coach Aaron Parker has respect for the Falcons and what they’ve completed, however he needed his group to embrace the chance that Monday offered. The Monarchs didn’t let him down, notably senior wing Jakwon Moore, who scored 29 factors for the occasion’s high efficiency. 

“We needed to are available and get the job completed,” Moore mentioned. “They mentioned we’re the perfect in Fayetteville if we win that recreation, so we’re the perfect, for certain.” 

As a member of the Carolina Athletic Affiliation for Colleges of Alternative, New Life has the advantage of enjoying a college-like schedule. Winston-Salem Christian, High quality Training Academy and Piedmont Classical are among the many different CAASC packages. 

“We do have guidelines – I do know individuals suppose we don’t. … The principle distinction that I see is the variety of video games and who we’re allowed to play,” Parker mentioned. 

“Apart from that, we have now the age limits, we have now convention and state championships. We have now grade necessities, all of that.” 

Along with high-profile groups in North Carolina, the Monarchs have traveled to Georgia, Maryland and Virginia this season. 

“One of many largest benefits is we will play whoever we would like, every time we would like, wherever we would like,” Parker mentioned.  “We’ve performed 30 video games and it’s January. We’ll most likely find yourself enjoying near 40-45 video games. We play public, non-public, it doesn’t matter.”

And New Life’s objectives transcend difficult for the highest spot in Fayetteville. With six gamers averaging double figures, the Monarchs may problem for his or her first CAASC state championship since 2018. 

“I nonetheless don’t really feel like we’re enjoying our greatest basketball proper now, and that’s the scary half for lots of colleges we may even see sooner or later,” Parker mentioned. 

“We’re not gelling but like we needs to be … however we’ll get there.” 

Workers author Rodd Baxley will be reached at rbaxley@fayobserver.com or @RoddBaxley on Twitter.

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