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Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Joe Ray will play in the 2016 Dream Bowl, which takes place on Monday, January 18, at Noon at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex.

The all-star showcase features players from FCS (formerly NCAA Division I-AA), NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III schools. The game will be broadcasted and live-streamed on the American Sports Network (ASN).

Ray, a senior offensive lineman from Atlanta, Ga., leaves Lenoir-Rhyne as one of the most decorated players in school history.

Ray is a three-time NCAA Division II All-American and three-time winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (2013-15), given annually to the top offensive lineman in the South Atlantic Conference.

Ray has anchored a line which has helped paved the way for the Bears to lead the nation in rushing the past three years including this fall (384.7 yards per game).

Ray was a key member of the 2014 team (11-1 overall) which set an NCAA Division II single-game rushing record average (416.2 yards per game) and the 2013 squad (13-2) which set an all-time NCAA single-season rushing record (5,563) on its way to the national championship game.

All told, Ray has been a part of four South Atlantic Conference Championship Teams (2011-14) and three NCAA Division II playoff squads (2012-14).

The showcase, which takes place on Martin Luther King Day, is full of weekend activities including a National Football League-style combine.

Girls basketball
North Piedmont Conference:
Alexander Central: 58
Statesville: 37

Northwestern Conference:
Freedom: 70
St. Stephens: 26

Hibriten: 43
Patton: 30

Hickory: 59
Watauga: 42

South Caldwell: 40
Fred T. Foard: 27

South Mountain Athletic Conference:
Draughn: 79
Crest: 64

Southern District 7:
Bandys: 57
West Lincoln: 33

Lincolnton: 58
West Caldwell: 51

Maiden: 66
East Lincoln: 58

Newton-Conover: 57
Bunker Hill: 32


Boys basketball
North Piedmont Conference:
Alexander Central: 67
Statesville: 42

Northwestern Conference:
Freedom: 89
St. Stephens: 54

Hibriten: 77
Patton: 62

Hickory: 80
Watauga: 65

South Caldwell: 56
Fred T. Foard: 55

South Mountain Athletic Conference:
Crest: 62
Draughn: 56

Southern District 7:
East Lincoln: 97
Maiden: 57

Lincolnton: 66
West Caldwell: 63

Newton-Conover: 54
Bunker Hill: 47

West Lincoln: 60
Bandys: 52

Lenoir-Rhyne University senior guard Keenan Palmore (Stone Mountain, Ga.) has been named to the 2015-16 Bevo Francis Award Watch List, which was announced today by Small College Basketball.

Palmore currently leads the South Atlantic Conference in scoring at 20.9 points per game in addition to averaging a team-best 8.6 rebounds per outing.

Palmore, in his first season with Lenoir-Rhyne, also ranks third in NCAA Division II in assists (8.0 per game) and already has three triple-doubles so far on the year. For his efforts, Palmore has been named the AstroTurf SAC Men’s Basketball Player Of The Week three times this season as well.

Palmore has spearheads the Bears’ scoring attack this season, which ranks third in the nation at 95.9 points per game.

The first installment of the Bevo Francis Award Watch List consists of 100 of the finest men's basketball players in the country who compete in the NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA Division I, NAIA Division II, USCAA and NCCAA as chosen by a national committee.

In the evaluation process, the committee gives consideration to season statistics, individual achievements, awards, personal character and team achievements. The next Watch List will be narrowed to 50 players and released on February 15.

Appalachian State University football will host Georgia State, Idaho, UL Monroe and Texas State and play at Georgia Southern, UL Lafayette, New Mexico State and Troy in 2016, the Sun Belt Conference announced on Friday.

After playing the same eight Sun Belt opponents in each of its first two seasons in the league, Appalachian State’s 2016 conference slate includes Texas State and New Mexico State for the first time. To make room for Texas State and NMSU, defending Sun Belt champion Arkansas State and South Alabama come off the Mountaineers’ schedule in 2016.

While Appalachian and Texas State are squaring off for the first time as Sun Belt foes, the meeting will be the second all-time between the Mountaineers and Bobcats. In the first matchup between the schools, App State beat Texas State, 41-34, in a non-conference battle on Oct. 2, 2004 at Kidd Brewer Stadium.

Appalachian State has never played New Mexico State.

While the opponents have been finalized, the complete 2016 Sun Belt schedule that includes dates for all conference games will not be finalized until March 1.

2016 Appalachian State football season tickets go on sale next week. Details will be available at appstatesports.com on Monday.

Little Rock outscored Appalachian State University men’s basketball 27-3 in points off turnovers and would win 81-55 on Thursday night.

The Mountaineers (3-13, 1-4 Sun Belt) were led offensively by Chris Burgess (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins) who finished with 17 points on 5-for-8 shooting and 3-for-4 from long range. Burgess also finished a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.

Michael Obacha (Edo State, Nigeria/High Point Christian) nearly finished with a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. Of his nine rebounds, five came on the offensive glass to lead the Apps. Matt O’Boyle (Peoria, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain/Pima Community College) finished right behind Obacha with seven rebounds - three on the offensive end.

In the early going it was a see-saw battle back and forth between the Mountaineers and the Trojans. There six lead changes in the opening 7:27 of the game with Little Rock leading 12-11. A 15-5 run from the Trojans would give them a 25-16 lead at the third media timeout of the half.

Out of the break, App State would get back-to-back threes from Bennett Holley (Roanoke, Va./North Cross) and Ronshad Shabazz (Raleigh, N.C./Huntington Prep (W.V.)) had the Black and Gold right back in the game trailing 25-22. However, a 17-4 run from the Trojans put Little Rock back in charge right before the half and they would end up taking a 46-32 lead into the locker room.

Appalachian would find themselves down by as many as 23 at 67-44 with 10:03 left in the game. App State would get to within 18 at 73-55, but the Trojans would would finish the game on a 8-0 run to win 81-55.

For the game, App State shot just 29.2 percent (14-for-48) and finished with 19 points from the free throw line.

The Mountaineers will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 16 when they travel to Arkansas State to round out their road trip. Tip time is slated for 8:05 p.m.

A sluggish first half doomed Appalachian State University women’s basketball (5-9, 2-3 SBC) in a 67-50 setback to Little Rock (5-9, 3-2 SBC) Thursday evening at the Jack-Stephens Center.

Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) led the Mountaineers with a 12 points, including an 8-for-10 performance from the free throw line. Kaila Craven (Asheboro, N.C./Southwest Randolph) scored 10 off the bench while Katelyn Doub (Asheboro, N.C./Southwest Randolph) rounded out the leading scorers with eight points.

Three different players in Bria Carter (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania), Mia Marshall (Lilburn, Ga./Parkview) and Story led the squad with four rebounds apiece, and Craven dished out a team-high three assists.

It was a game of runs to open the contest. Following a Joi Jones (Duluth, Ga./Duluth) layup on the first possession to give App State a 2-0 lead, the Trojans scored the next five points to go in front by three, 5-2. Little Rock then scored five of the next seven points to capture a 10-4 lead with 7:04 left in the period. It was App State’s turn as a 6-0 run tied the game thanks to a pair of free throws from Story and layups from Craven and Cooper tied things up, 10-all.

Little Rock responded with a 6-0 spurt to end the opening quarter and take a 16-10 lead. App State stayed on the Trojans’ heels during the first few minutes of the second quarter, as a layup from Doub to open the second quarter trimmed the deficit to four, 16-12. But the Trojans continued to prevent the Apps from going on a significant run.

The Mountaineers would once more cut the deficit to four, 20-16, with 7:49 left in the half followed by a pair of free throws from Story. From that point on, the Trojans took over going on an 8-0 run that eventually turned into a 39-18 lead going into the break. App State suffered a 5:54 scoring drought and missed 10-straight shots, which set the tone for the rest of the contest.


The second quarter proved to be the difference maker, as the Trojans outscored the Mountaineers 23-8.


Trailing by as much as 24 with 8:36 left in the third quarter, the Apps slowly started to turn things around and slice into the deficit. Appalachian cut the lead by seven points by the end of the conclusion of the third quarter to a 17-point deficit, 52-35. Craven, Jones, Doub and Carter took charge during the 17-7 run, including three-straight points from Carter and a buzzer-beater to end the period.

Appalachian wouldn’t stop there, scoring the first four points of the fourth period to dwindle the lead to 13, 52-39, thanks to a layup from Doub and another pair of free throws from Story. As the confidence was growing and some of the momentum started to shift to App State, the Trojans spearheaded an 8-1 run to stop the Mountaineer comeback.

With the Trojans leading by 17, 63-46, with 3:23 left in the game, Story and Craven scored four quick points to slice the advantage to 63-49 with just over three minutes left in the game. But it was too little, too late as LR wouldn’t trail by any less en route to the victory.

The Mountaineers did shoot better in the second half, going 50 percent from the field (10-for-20), including a 5-for-7 performance from the floor in the fourth quarter. App State outscored the Trojans, 32-28, in the second half while aside from the second quarter, the Apps were outscored by just two points.

But Little Rock forced App State into 23 turnovers and converted those miscues into 21 points. The Trojans also held a 43-33 advantage on the glass and picked up 10 second-chance points.

App State will have another tough test on Saturday, heading to Jonesboro, Ark. for a 4:05 p.m. (ET) tip against the Arkansas State Red Wolves, who were picked first in the preseason poll.

Thursday, 14 January 2016 21:43

CVCC Women's Basketball Loses to Clinton College

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Catawba Valley Community College women's basketball fell to Clinton College on the road in South Carolina Thursday night, 80-71.

Kianna Bowe and Newton-Conover grad Makenzie Eller each had a double-double for Catawba Valley Community College. Bowe had 14 points and 13 rebounds. Eller had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

The Red Hawks drop their fifth straight game to fall to 6-6 overall and 1-3 in conference play. CVCC hosts Cape Fear Sunday afternoon at 2pm.

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl hero Zach Matics (Jacksonville, N.C./Southwest-Onslow) has been tabbed as the third Appalachian State University football alumnus invited to participate in next week’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson, Calif.

Matics joins offensive lineman Davante Harris (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) and defensive back Doug Middleton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Parkland) as Appalachian State’s representatives in the 2016 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which is set for Saturday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. ET. The game will be played at Carson’s Stubhub Center and televised nationally on ESPN2. Additionally, team practices will be televised live on January 20 and 21 on ESPNU.

A first-team all-Sun Belt Conference honoree, Matics led the Sun Belt and ranked among the top 5 nationally for much of the season in field-goal percentage. He finished the campaign tied for 28th in NCAA Division I FBS by making 82.4 percent of his field-goal attempts (14-of-17).

He was 13-of-14 during the regular season before missing his first two tries in the opening quarter of the Camellia Bowl. However, he made up for the early miscues by drilling a 23-yarder as time expired to lift Appalachian State to a 31-29 victory over Ohio and give the Mountaineers a win in their first-ever NCAA bowl appearance.

In addition to finishing 28th nationally in field-goal percentage, Matics ranked second in the Sun Belt and 37th nationally in kick scoring at 7.9 points per game. He also became the first kicker in Appalachian State history to make two 50-yard field goals in a game (Dec. 5 at South Alabama) and three in a season. He made two game-winning kicks — a 24-yarder in triple overtime that gave the Mountaineers a 44-41 victory over Troy on Oct. 31 and the aforementioned 23-yard game-winner in the Camellia Bowl triumph over Ohio.

Founded in 2012, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl gives prospective National Football League players the opportunity to showcase their talents to potential employers and fans. In 2015, nearly 200 scouts, player personnel staff, general mangers and head coaches representing every NFL club and several other professional football leagues attended the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl’s practices and game.

Thursday, 14 January 2016 07:41

Alexander Central Announces Nick Bazzle Reitrement

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After four seasons at the helm of the ACHS Football Program, Coach Nick Bazzle has announced his retirement from high school football.

Coach Bazzle met with members of the ACHS coaching staff and team on Tuesday, January 12, to tell his players and fellow coaches face to face.

Coach Bazzle took over the ACHS program prior to the 2012 season and led the Cougars to back-to-back playoff appearances in his first two seasons in Taylorsville. However, the Cougars missed the playoffs in 2014 and 2015 after finishing 4-7 and 3-8 the past two seasons.

Bazzle compiled a 17-29 record in his four year tenure at Alexander Central. He retires with an overall coaching record of 129-85 in 17 years as a Head Coach.

“I guess there comes a time in everybody’s life when they realize nothing lasts forever...at least not here on this earth. For 46 years, I have reserved five months of my life in the fall, devoting all my time and energy to the game of football, everything else was put on hold. There are things that I would like to do that I’ve never done before, visit places I’ve never been, go on mission trips, and spend more quality time with my family,” Coach Bazzle commented.

“The Alexander Central HS Athletic Department wishes Coach Nick Bazzle the absolute best along with his family as he retires from a lifelong career in teaching and coaching young men. We have been blessed with Nick Bazzle at the helm of our Football program for four years at Alexander Central, and I have admired the time and passion he brought to ACHS,” ACHS Director of Athletics Joanna Crew stated.

She continued, “I will always remember Coach Bazzle as the utmost professional and truly appreciate the extra care he put into this community with the bicycle donations to the elementary schools at Christmas, continued Cougar Athletes for Reading Excellence program leadership and the countless hours he put into preparation for our young men to succeed.”

Alexander Central HS Principal Doug Rhoney commented “I want to personally thank Nick Bazzle for his commitment to ACHS over that past four years. No one knows the amount of time a head coach puts into their program. Nick worked seven days a week, made sacrifices with his family to give our program the best opportunity to be successful. I know it was a difficult decision, but respect his desires to retire.”

The search for a new Head Coach will begin immediately.

The No. 13 Queens Men’s Basketball Team (13-1, 7-1) rallied from a 24-point deficit early in the second half to defeat Lenoir-Rhyne (10-4, 5-4), 105-102, Wednesday evening in a South Atlantic Conference game at Shuford Memorial Gymnasium.

The Royals’ Rob Lewis (Houston, Texas) led all scorers with 29 points while Sean Morgan (Kennesaw, Ga.) added 23 points including 19 after halftime as Queens shot 74 percent (26-of-35) in the second half to pull off the improbable win. Queens also scored 66 points after intermission.

Lenoir-Rhyne was led by senior guard Will Perry (Wake Forest, N.C.) with 26 points in addition to a school-record 17-of-17 from the charity stripe in the setback. Perry broke his own record from a year ago.

Senior guard Keenan Palmore (Stone Mountain, Ga.) added 23 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and sophomore guard Billy Bales (Elizabethton, Tenn.) scored 20 points and hit six treys but it wasn’t enough for the home team.

The Bears took a 100-98 lead on a lay-up by Palmore with 1:50 left but the Royals responded with seven straight points including the game-winning three-pointer by Todd Withers (Greensboro, N.C.) on the following possession.

Lenoir-Rhyne led by a 59-39 advantage at halftime and extended its lead to as much as 24 points – 70-46 with 17:50 left in the game – before the Queens began its rally.

Lenoir-Rhyne hit 14 treys and finished 26-of-29 from the free throw line in the setback as well.

Lenoir-Rhyne next faces Mars Hill on the road Saturday.