By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Johnniyus Sharpe has put together some strong scoring performances in his 1½ seasons with the Cummings boys’ basketball team.
Then came Friday night vs. visiting North Moore.
Sharpe, a sophomore guard, poured in a career-high 35 points as the Cavaliers won 79-56 in the Mid-Carolina Conference.
Sharpe said it wasn’t necessarily his best game.
“It’s bigger than points,” Sharpe said. “My teammates were passing me the ball, and they did great. Fortunately, it was my game.”
Buoyed by two 3-pointers, Sharpe posted nine points in the first four minutes as Cummings went up 13-5.
“He shot it from 3 really well and that helped,” coach Chas Criss said.
In the second half, Sharpe cranked out 10 points – aided by a pair of 3s – in the opening three minutes on his way to 31 points through three quarters. He didn’t play in the game’s final 3:59.
Cummings (8-6, 4-1 Mid-Carolina Conference), which won its third game in a row, was without injured starters Jamarion Sellars and Ja’kari Dobbins.
Freshman A.J. Gillespie continues to shine despite missing a game in the first week of the month because of illness. He finished with 17 points.
Criss said the Cavaliers need continuity more than anything amid players missing time for various reasons.
“They’re trying,” he said. “We haven’t been whole enough in practice.”
Because of that, Gillespie has been thrust into numerous roles in his first season. He has played everywhere from guard to center.
“He’s super talented,” Criss said. “He has probably been hurt more than anything because of guys being out. He ends up playing so many positions.”
Sharpe, whose previous high point total was 32 in the season opener at Williams and again last month in a victory against Durham Jordan, said Gillespie has been crucial to the team’s success.
“He’s going to be really scary,” Sharpe said. “He’s athletic. He’s a slasher. He’s an all-around player.”
North Moore (5-2, 1-1) had a late start to its season because of the football team’s state-playoff run and then had several December games postponed because of the power outage in Moore County.
In the girls’ game, Cummings recovered after a double-digit lead vanished to win 44-40 for its third victory of the season.