Wednesday, 08 January 2014 15:51

Bryce comfortable in new shade of blue

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North Meck’s C.J. Bryce earned MVP honors and led the Vikings to the championship at the Statesville Record & Landmark Holiday Classic. North Meck’s C.J. Bryce earned MVP honors and led the Vikings to the championship at the Statesville Record & Landmark Holiday Classic.

It may seem odd for some folks to see C.J. Bryce in the royal blue and red of the North Meck High Vikings this basketball season. And for good reason. For two years, he was a standout in the light blue and silver of the Hopewell Titans, the Vikings’ rivals. Those colors don’t mix.

Bryce, though, has ties to North Meck that go beyond the handful of games he’s played so far this winter. His father, Clarence, a football and basketball standout in his day, was North Meck’s Athlete of the Year in 1984. He’s also a cousin of one of the best female basketball players of all-time, 1987 North Meck graduate Andrea Stinson.

“I love it at North,” says Bryce, who along with Hopewell teammate Taj Middleton, transferred to North over the summer. “I feel like I’m carrying on a tradition.”

Bryce has adjusted quickly and turned into the key player on a team that is trying to return to the state playoffs after missing the postseason a year ago. Bryce leads the Vikings in scoring with 21 points per game.

“He’s so efficient shooting the ball, and if you foul him, he makes his free throws,” says North coach Duane Lewis. “He’s so unselfish, passes so well.”

The Vikings have Bryce listed as a forward, but the 6-foot-4 junior is versatile. He can lead the fast break, handle the ball on the perimeter, defend in the post or as he did against West Meck in the Nov. 18 season opener, slice in from the baseline to dunk a rebound. Lewis says he’s a complete player.

“He can play (positions) 1 through 4, really,” says Lewis. “He can play anywhere you want in the high school game.”

The most valuable player of the inaugural Leroy Holden Classic at North over Thanksgiving break, Bryce likes the up-tempo style the Vikings are playing. It’s where he shines.

“We have a long team that’s athletic,” says Bryce. “We’re doing well at running against teams and keeping the pace up.”

Lewis says the elder Bryce played primarily in the post, but the two Bryces have similar characteristics. Clarence went on to play football at Mars Hill College. C.J. Bryce is drawing recruiting interest from the basketball programs at schools such as East Carolina, Winthrop and VCU.

For now, though, Lewis is pleased with how he’s leading the Vikings, who are 12-1 overall and 3-1 in the MECKA Conference entering Friday's home game with Vance.

“He cares so much about the team and winning,” says Lewis. “That’s a great trait to have.”


Vikings win Record & Landmark Classic

Bryce and the Vikings did something over the holidays that no other team had done: beat Lake Norman.

The Vikings downed their former I-Meck Conference foes 65-55 in the finals of the Statesville Record & Landmark Holiday Classic. Bryce scored 21 points and had seven boards to earn tournament MVP honors. Nolan Beasley and Davion Mintz added 12 points each for the Vikings.

North also earned a 62-49 win over nine-win North Iredell in the event and returned to MECKA play Tuesday with a 91-61 win over Robinson.


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