Swannanoa Valley basketball teams off to strong start

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News

The arrival of basketball season in the Swannanoa Valley was heralded by highlights from local teams.

Teams from Montreat College, Warren Wilson College and Owen High School turned in notable performances in the first few opening games.

Montreat College junior Jeron Hemphill throws down a dunk at home against Toccoa Falls College in a 117-85 win at home for the Cavaliers. Montreat won its first eight games to start the season.

The Cavaliers opened their season with 101-71 win at home over Bob Jones University in route to winning their first eight games. The Montreat men's team, which came into the season ranked 23rd in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II, was 3-0 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference going into the team's Nov. 21 home contest with St. Andrews College (results not available as of deadline). 

On the opposite side of the Valley, the men's basketball team at Warren Wilson College started 2-2 before a record-breaking performance on the road in Powell, Tennessee against Crown College Nov. 14. 

The Owls put up 144 points against the Royal Crusaders, the most in Warren Wilson basketball history. Sophomore Jordan Gant, of Waynesboro, Georgia, who scored a career-high 30 points Nov. 11, led the Owls with 45 points against Crown College, a school record. 

Gant also knocked down 12 three-pointers for Warren Wilson, setting another mark for the school.

Just down the road, the Owen Warlassies opened the season with three wins under new coach Aaron Fernandez. 

 The Warlassies picked up victories away from home against North Henderson, Asheville and Enka. Owen outscored its first three opponents 166-109. 

The Warlassies played Smoky Mountain High in Sylva on Nov. 21 (results not available as of deadline) and were scheduled to take on Triton High in the Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout at the Kimmel Arena in Asheville on Saturday, Nov. 25. 

Owen plays its first home game of the season on Wednesday, Nov. 29 against Enka.