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UNC recruit Nia Daniel is Charlotte Observer girls player of the year.

The Call with Hickory Ridge star and UNC basketball recruit Nia Daniel

Hickory Ridge star Nia Daniel, a UNC recruit, was the Observer's midseason player of the year. After she led No. 1 Hickory Ridge to a big win over No. 7 Rocky River, she discussed state titles, Tar Heels and running wind sprints.
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Hickory Ridge star Nia Daniel, a UNC recruit, was the Observer's midseason player of the year. After she led No. 1 Hickory Ridge to a big win over No. 7 Rocky River, she discussed state titles, Tar Heels and running wind sprints.

Harrisburg’s Hickory Ridge High School has produced the 2018-19 Charlotte Observer girls basketball player of the year.

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Hickory Ridge’s Nia Daniel, a UNC recruit, is a N.C. Basketball Coaches Association All-District player of the year. Observer File Photo

Nia Daniel, a UNC recruit, was named the top player in the newspaper’s coverage area which covers 162 schools across the Carolinas.

The Observer named its All-Mecklenburg boys and girls teams, for the top players in Mecklenburg County, earlier this week.

Daniel averaged 21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.1 steals this season. She was named a first-team all-state pick by the N.C. Basketball Coaches Association.

The Observer coach of the year is Mallard Creek’s Clarence Johnson. In the 2017-18 season, Johnson led the Mavericks to the N.C 4A semifinals. Johnson lost seven players off that team, including 2017-18 Observer player of the year Ahlana Smith, who is now at UCLA. In addition, the Mavericks had two players transfer and lost another for the season to a severe knee injury.

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Johnson led a nearly all-new team to a 22-6 record and 12-2 finish in the I-MECK 4A conference. The Mavericks finished a game behind Vance (26-3, 13-1) in the league standings, and Vance was nationally ranked at times this season.

Johnson — who was named Mecklenburg County coach of the year earlier this week — wins the Observer coach of the year award, the highest given by the newspaper, for the second straight season. He joins Josh Springer (Providence Day), David Elder (Hickory) and Barbara Nelson (Providence Day, Myers Park) as coaches who have won the award more than once.

All-Observer First Team

Chyna Cornwell, Newton-Conover, 6-3, Jr, C: First team all-state pick by the coaches association was also District 10 player of the year. Averaged 28.3 points, 20.5 rebounds, 3.1 blocks.

Nia Daniel, Harrisburg Hickory Ridge, 5-11, Sr., G: Daniel averaged 21.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.1 steals. Daniel was a first-team pick by the coaches association. She was also named District 9 player of the year.

Dazia Lawrence, Mallard Creek, 5-8, Sr.: Observer player of the year in Mecklenburg County; I-MECK 4A player of the year averaged 23.6 points, 2.8 assists, 2.3 steals, 1.6 rebounds.

Zyrcoria Tillman, Albemarle, 5-6, Sr, G: Averaged 16.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.1 assists for the Bulldogs, who finished 26-3. She was named District 8 player of the year by the coaches association.

Jessica Timmons, North Mecklenburg, 5-8, Soph., G: On pace to become her school’s all-time leading scorer; averaged 24.4 points, 8.0 rebounds. 2.8 steals, 2.2 assists.

All-Observer Second Team

Janiya Downs, South Rowan, 5-11, Sr., G

Shariah Gaddy, South Mecklenburg, 5-11, Sr., W

Reigan Richardson, Concord Cannon, 6-0, Soph, G

Carley Womack, Cramerton Stuart Cramer, 5-4, Sr., G

Nevaeh Brown, Davidson Day, 5-9, Jr., G

All-Observer Third Team

Hannah Clark, Kings Mountain, 5-3, Sr., G

Mallorie Haines, Davidson Day, 5-9, Soph, G

Kate Hollifield, Shelby, 5-9, Fr., G

Summer Schloss, Gastonia Ashbrook, 6-2, Sr., F

Briana Tadlock, East Lincoln, Height NA, Jr., G

Previous Winners

Year, Player, Coach

2018-19: Nia Daniel (Hickory Ridge); Clarence Johnson (Mallard Creek)

2017-18: Ahlana Smith (Mallard Creek); Clarence Johnson (Mallard Creek)

2016-17: Janelle Bailey (Providence Day); Josh Springer (Providence Day)

2015-16: Erin Whalen (Providence Day); Josh Springer (Providence Day)

2013-14: DD Rogers (Myers Park) and Jatarie White (Providence Day); Barbara Nelson (Myers Park)

2012-13: Jatarie White (Providence Day); Ina Thompson (Porter Ridge)

2011-12: Tiffany Mitchell (Providence Day); Anthony Jones (Harding)

2010-11: Cierra Burdick (Butler): Chris McNeil (Salisbury)

2009-10: Cierra Burdick (Butler); Stephanie Butler (Butler)

2008-09: Christal Caldwell (West Charlotte); Reggie Mobley (West Charlotte)

2007-08: Christal Caldwell (West Charlotte); Angela Morton (Concord)

2006-07: Tiffany Whiting, South Iredell; Barbara Nelson (Providence Day)

2005-06: Joy Cheek (South Meck); Troy Gaston (South Meck)

2004-05: Joy Cheek (South Meck); Larry Ross (East Rutherford)

2003-04: Kyria Buford (Victory Christian); Jennifer Shoaf (Salisbury)

2002-03: Ivory Latta (York, S.C.); Gary Richmond (Vance)

2001-02: Ivory Latta (York, S.C.); Jamie Smith (Freedom)

2000-01: Natasha Brackett (Providence Day); Barbara Nelson (Providence Day)

1999-00: Natasha Brackett (Providence Day); Bob Angley (Charlotte Christian)

1998-99: Alicia Abernathy (Hickory); David Elder (Hickory)

1997-98: Alicia Abernathy (Hickory); David Elder (Hickory)

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