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ALL AREA: Chris Cherry, South Central

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Chris Cherry.

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Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, April 7, 2019

South Central head coach Chris Cherry continues to push the Falcons to new heights, earning a state championship this year that has eluded his Falcons in previous seasons.

The 4-A title, combined with national recognition and a dominating showing against in-state teams, earned Cherry The Daily Reflector’s All-Area boys’ basketball coach of the year honor.

“This season was simply mission accomplished,” he said. “We’ve worked so hard these past few years trying to reach the pinnacle, and to finally do it was an awesome feeling.”

Despite his squad containing a vast array of talent, which included highly recruited guard Shykeim Phillips, North Carolina commit and All-Area player of the year Day’Ron Sharpe, East Carolina football recruit Jeremy Lewis and postseason leader Jahzeer Baker, Cherry never allowed his Falcons to slack or become complacent with where they stood in conference, state or national rankings.

“(The intensity) is pretty much the culture of the program,” Cherry said. “We try to build that culture up of working hard every day, competing every day, nothing is more important than today. We did an outstanding job of that, and that’s a credit to the kids.”

Like many other successful squads, Cherry prides himself on his team’s defensive play. The Falcons used their intense zone defense to cause issues for even the best shooting opponents.

They made a statement in the postseason, entering with just one loss on their record. That defeat came to Ranney School (N.J.) in the national John Wall Invitational. As the East No. 3 seed, SC dominated every team in its way, including both teams ranked above it in two-seed Wakefield and No. 1 Millbrook from Wake County.

South Central then beat West Charlotte, 72-46, in the 4-A final.

Contact Jake Keator at jkeator@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.

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