Weddington boys’ basketball team to feature new faces

Caleb Dixon

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Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of previews of high school basketball teams in the Tri-W area.

Weddington High

Coach: Gary Ellington

2016-2017 Record: 21-8 overall, 9-1 Southern Carolina Conference

Notable: Weddington won 42 games the last two seasons and were back-to-back SCC champions. … The Warriors have just four seniors on the roster.

It’s back to go for the Weddington High boys basketball team.

Graduation hit Weddington hard after the Warriors finished 21-8 overall and 9-1 in the Southern Carolina Conference in a season that ended in the third round of the Class 3A State Basketball Tournament.

But Weddington head coach Gary Ellington is optimistic that the Warriors will find their groove come the start of conference play. Weddington has just four seniors on the roster.

“We lost a lot of good players, and, obviously, that senior class was very good,” Ellington said. “When you win almost 100 games in four years you have done something. But we have a system in place and it is just a matter of plugging the right kids into the right spots.”

Senior Caleb Dixon is the Warriors’ top returning scorer as the 6-foot-5 post player averaged 2.2 points a game a year ago. Dixon scored 15 points in a preseason scrimmage against Ashbrook.

“Caleb got more and more minutes at the end of last year,” Ellington said. “Caleb is a back to the basket guy.”

Charles Pinner also gives Weddington good size and the 6-8 senior will play at the four spot. Pinner played in just two games last season before his junior season was cut short because of a back injury. Pinner is getting some interest from Division II and Division III college basketball programs.

“Dixon and Penner, those two, in my opinion, are two of the best big guys in the county,” Ellington said. “To me, there are not many guys in the county that have size that like to play in the post. Those two can really dominate a game with their size. Our two bigs really compliment each other.”

Senior Brock Peeler, who played soccer this past season, logged time last season and is expected to contribute. Senior George Holevas is playing high school basketball for the first time and has shown promise.

“We are really young,” Ellington said. “We have four seniors on the team. When two of your seniors didn’t play last year and the other two played limited minutes, you are relying on some really young kids.”

Junior Max Brimigion will play guard when he joins the team following football season and the Warriors have several talented underclassmen.

“Our young players, I like them,” Ellington said. “They work hard and there is some talent there, but they don’t have varsity experience. We are not going to be at the beginning of the season where we have been the last few years. We are not going to be bad, it is just going to take some time. We will continue to get better, and hopefully, in January and February we are playing our best basketball.”

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at