Shining at the Next Level: November 25-December 1, 2019

New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties produce a large number of athletes that continue their careers at the next level.  Each week, this list will feature a number of area athletes who are finding success in the college ranks.

Check back for weekly updates each Monday.


***Full list of area football players in college*** 

Ashley graduate Alex Highsmith now plays football at Charlotte. [Charlotte Athletics]

R-Sr. DE Alex Highsmith, Charlotte (2015 Ashley grad): Was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of Week helped the 49ers earn a fifth straight victory by finishing with a career-high 12 tackles, including a school-record 4.5 sacks, in Saturday’s 38-22 win at Old Dominion. Highsmith is currently tied for second in the nation in sacks with 14.


***Full list of area men’s basketball players in college***

Sr. C AJ Frye, N.C. Wesleyan (2016 Hoggard grad): Finished with eight points and eight rebounds in a 78-54 loss to Averett on Tuesday.

Fr. G Matt Kiatipis, Simon Fraser (2019 Cape Fear Academy grad): In his third collegiate game, Kiatipis scored 13 points by going 5 of 8 from the field (2 of 2 from 3) in a 111-59 home victory over Langara on Friday.

Cape Fear Academy graduate Matt Kiatipis now plays basketball at Simon Fraser. [Tim Hower/Coastal Preps]

Sr. F/C Mitch Layton, N.C. Wesleyan (2016 North Brunswick grad): In Tuesday’s home loss to Averett, Layton scored six points and grabbed five rebounds. 

Fr. G Chance Poole, Johnston CC (2019 Pender grad): Scored five points and added four rebounds in a 95-80 loss at Brunswick CC on Tuesday.

Soph. G Ramello Williams, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (2018 New Hanover grad): Finished with four points, six rebounds and five steals in a 121-67 victory over Southwest Christian JV on Tuesday.


***Full list of area women’s basketball players in college***

R-Sr. G Jada Bacchus, Mount Olive (2015 Ashley grad): Helped the Trojans pick up a pair of victories by averaging 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, three assists and three steals. 

Fr. G Blair Barefoot, Lenoir-Rhyne (2019 Hoggard grad): In losses to Tusculum on Tuesday and Queens on Saturday, Barefoot scored 16 points to go along with five assists and three rebounds in a total of 36 minutes.

New Hanover graduate Ayonna Cotten now plays basketball at Mississippi Valley State. [Mississippi Valley State Athletics]

Jr. G Ayonna Cotten, Mississippi Valley St. (2017 New Hanover grad): Averaged 19 points and shot 56 percent from the field (14 of 25) and 67 percent from 3-point range (6 of 9) in losses to Southern Miss and Omaha on Friday and Saturday. Cotten scored 16 points and dished out six assists in Friday’s 84-80 loss to Southern Miss.

Soph. G Azariah Fields, Mount Olive (2018 New Hanover grad): In wins over Chowan on Tuesday and Francis Marion on Saturday, Fields averaged 13 points, five assists, 4.5 rebounds and three steals.

Soph. F Kapria Pressley, Brunswick CC (2014 New Hanover grad): Scored a game-high 20 points and added eight rebounds in a 72-46 home loss to USC-Salkehatchie on Tuesday.


Jr. Jonathan Miller, UNC Pembroke (2015 Laney grad): Picked up an important second period pin at 141 points to help the Braves earn a 20-19 victory over limestone on Tuesday.