Sports 2012: Webb standout picks Heels

Jan. 09, 2013 @ 06:00 AM

The atmosphere for Northern Vance-J.F. Webb basketball games is always intense and emotion-filled.

That only begins to describe the air in Viking Gymnasium on the third Friday night in January. Isaiah Hicks was back in uniform for Webb, having watched more than half of the season from the sidelines after transferring back to Webb from Body of Christ Academy in Raleigh.

Hicks didn’t disappoint when the ball was tossed up. He sank Webb’s first basket of the game on a turnaround jumper from the elbow and electrified the capacity crowd with rim-rocking finishes and imposing blocks. 

Hicks made his college commitment official in November, signing with Roy Williams and North Carolina about a week before the start of his senior season.

Led by first-year coach Jon Russell, Webb softball claimed the first fastpitch league title in school history.

Russell, previously the head coach at Northern, left Webb in July to become the athletics director at Southern Alamance High School.

Spring, fall and winter sports combined, 27 Tri-County teams began their respective seasons with new head coaches, including three of the four area football teams.

Southern Vance started the fall with a new athletics director after Ed Wilson, who served as Raider AD for about 18 years, announced his retirement in August.

Mike Rotolo, the only varsity boys basketball coach to serve under Wilson, exited the program he started when Southern was established in 1990. He concluded his high school coaching career by leading the East team in July’s N.C. Coaches Association East-West game in Greensboro.

Rotolo was named the head coach at Vance-Granville Community College, which was forced to cancel its fourth season (2011-2012) in January due to lack of players.

Kerr-Vance produced the area’s only team or individual state champion of the year when senior Ben O’Geary claimed the NCISAA 2-A title in Pinehurst. Just a few weeks before the championships, O’Geary fired a remarkable round of 61 in a KVA match at Henderson Country Club.

KVA soccer’s run at a state title ended in the 2-A semifinals after an unbeaten conference season. Tommy Farmer’s Spartans finished 22-2-1 overall.

Coach Razvan Tegean led Northern soccer to its first state playoff appearance since 2007.

Northern baseball snapped a longer drought, earning its first postseason bid in 10 years. With a loaded senior class and junior pitching ace Nate Arrington returning, coach Benji Nelson’s bunch is poised for another special season in 2013.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.