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Earl's Pearls 11/13

By Earl Vaughan Jr.
There were some nervous hours for the state’s high school volleyball coaches and players on Tuesday and Wednesday after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced he was dropping the number of people who could gather in groups indoors to 10 because of a recent rise in COVID-19 cases.
But Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for the Cumberland County Schools, said he received notification from Commissioner Que Tucker of the N.C. High School Athletic Association late Tuesday indicating the new change does not impact the number of athletes that can be competing indoors during high school events.
The N.C. High School Athletic Association did make one change for volleyball earlier this week, announcing that masks will be required during matches and practices. Players who have a medical condition that would make wearing a mask a problem will need to get documentation to prove it.
During a press conference Friday, Cumberland County Schools’ associate superintendent of auxiliary services Joe Desormeaux confirmed other changes for volleyball, which will begin regular-season matches Monday.
No spectators will be allowed from the visiting team at each match. The home team will be limited to a maximum of 25 spectators, primarily the parents of the players. The matches will be live-streamed on YouTube.
Four of Cumberland County’s top athletes confirmed their college choices this week, finally getting the opportunity to sign a national letter-of-intent binding them to the school of their choice.
Westover basketball standout D’Marco Dunn sealed his deal with the University of North Carolina.
The COVID-19 pandemic cut the Wolverine basketball season short this year, so Dunn and his teammates had to settle for a share of the state 3-A basketball championship.
Dunn led Cumberland County Schools in scoring last season with 20.8 points per game. He was also tops in 3-point goals with 70.
He pulled down 7.3 rebounds and handed out 2.1 assists per game.
A pair of Jack Britt athletes were among the signees.
Softball standout Carlie Myrtle, the daughter of former Methodist University baseball All-American Joe Myrtle, also signed with the Tar Heels.
Last season Myrtle batted .483 with two home runs, nine doubles and a triple.
She drove in 14 runs.
On the mound, she was 14-5 with a 1.82 earned run average. She led Cumberland County Schools in strikeouts with 147 in 123 innings.
Also committing was Britt’s Nyla Cooper, who signed with Howard University. Cooper, a basketball standout, averaged 12.3 points and made 35 3-point goals. She handed out 2.6 assists per game.
Jaden Pone, Gray’s Creek High School softball standout, signed with Longwood College.
In the abbreviated 2020 softball season, Pone batted .714 with two home runs, two doubles and three triples. She drove in 15 runs.
In her last full season in 2019, Pone led Cumberland County Schools with a .700 average. She also led in RBIs with 45. She hit six homers, seven doubles and six triples.
She was named the Patriot Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
Officials at Fayetteville Academy confirmed this week that the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association will continue to allow up to a maximum of 25 fans at indoor sporting events.
According to schedules posted on MaxPreps.com, local NCISAA schools will be starting the basketball season later this month.


8-man D-I playoffs
Friday, Nov. 13
(4) Trinity Christian (3-3) at (1) Christ School (4-2), 5:30 p.m.
11-man D-II championship
Saturday, Nov. 14
(3) Fayetteville Christian (4-2) at (2) John Paul II Catholic (5-2), 7 p.m.
Nov. 16
Douglas Byrd at Westover
E.E. Smith at Terry Sanford
Gray’s Creek at South View
Overhills at Pine Forest
Nov. 17
Jack Britt at Scotland
Pinecrest at Seventy-First
Nov. 19
Cape Fear at Terry Sanford
South View at Douglas Byrd
E.E. Smith at Overhills
Pine Forest at Gray’s Creek
Lumberton at Jack Britt
Hoke County at Seventy-First
Nov. 13
Grace Christian at Northwood Temple Academy
Nov. 17
New Life Christian Academy at Northwood Temple Academy
Nov. 19
Village Christian Academy at Thales Academy-Rolesville
Northwood Temple Academy at Wayne Country Day
Fayetteville Christian at Cape Fear Academy