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Sandhills looks to repeat as national champs

The best part of my week was photographing an entire college basketball game without publishing a single action-shot:

By Scott Fowler – Staff Columnist —

PINEHURST — When you think of college basketball in North Carolina, you think first of the ACC. Famous coaches. Future NBA stars. Packed arenas. ESPN telecasts. National championships.

You won’t see a bit of that at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst – except for the “national championship” part.

Sandhills is college basketball at its purest and starkest level. The school grants no scholarships. Its on-campus gym was built only two-thirds regulation size, so for the past five seasons it has played its home games at a local middle-school gym. The Sandhills coaches do the team’s laundry after every game.

And yet, in 2012, Sandhills was the first men’s team from North Carolina to win a junior-college national championship. At 20-5, the team has a chance to repeat in 2013.

Read more here:

Freestyle phenom

Sixteen-year-old Indi Cowie of Cary is considered by many to be the best female soccer freestyler in the world. Watch as Cowie performs some of her mind-blowing tricks.

The Forgotten All-Stars

Playing in a time of segregation, some of the best basketball players in the nation starred in relative obscurity. With blacks shut out of North Carolina universities, many went on to success out of state or in other fields. These are a few stories of a handful of African-American basketball players who, in another time, might have become national athletic heroes. Few of their victories and great moments were recorded by the mainstream press. Now, a half century later, we tell you about some of the greatest high school basketball players to ever play in North Carolina: The Forgotten All-Stars.

Footage, interviews, stills and editing: Travis Long

Read the stories:
Lawrence Dunn: In the limelight at last
Paul Grier: The best in his city
Reginald ‘Hawk’ Ennis: ‘The greatest’
Harvey Heartley: Denied a chance to go to NCSU
John ‘Goat’ Bullock: A champion, a mystery
Stephens-Lee High: Led by star trio to title

Airborne With Stunt Rider Kenny Steinke

Professional freestyle motocross rider Kenny Steinke of Melbourne, Fla. performs aerial stunts during the King Action Sports Stunt Show during the 2010 North Carolina State Fair.

Footage and editing: Travis Long

Cameras: Go Pro Hero and Canon 5D Mark II

Fans Erupt as Duke Wins National Title

Following a nail-biting game, Duke fans erupt inside Cameron Indoor Stadium after winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship against Butler 61-59. The celebration quickly moved outdoors where a large bonfire was set.

Footage and editing: Travis Long

The Legacy of Frank Weedon

For five decades, Frank Weedon has been the conscience of N.C. State sports as sports-information director and an athletic administrator. Now, as his memory starts to fade, alumnus and former sportswriter Tim Peeler is in a race against time to document what Frank knows and what Frank has collected over the years for posterity.

Footage and editing: Travis Long
Still photos: N.C. State University

Lessons of Coach Yow

A tribute to the late Kay Yow, head coach of the NC State Wolfpack women’s basketball team from 1975 to 2009. A member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, she had more than 700 career wins. She also coached the U.S. women’s basketball team to an Olympic gold medal in 1988 despite having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. Yow, 66, lost her battle with cancer in January 2009. But in the teachings she left behind, for interim women’s coach Stephanie Glance, the players, the staff, her friends and those who learned from her on and off the court, she left a legacy.

Read the story.

Footage and editing: Travis Long
Additional footage: provided by Kay Yow
Interviews: Edward Robinson
Still photos: Travis Long, Corey Lowenstein, Ethan Hyman, News & Observer archives
Music: The Grains of Time (recorded on location)

From the Sidelines

Aside from rushing, interceptions and touchdown passes, a secondary drama is played out each fall Friday night on the sidelines of North Carolina’s high school football fields. It’s the place were plays are conceived, victories are realized, and tears are shed. Football above all other high school sports has a culture and drama that extends beyond two end zones.