Saturday, March 6, 2010

Live reports from today's regional championships

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2A BOYS: West Caldwell's boys win regional title

West Caldwell (27-2) beat Smoky Mountain (24-5) 57-53 in the N.C. 2A Western Regional championship.

Smoky Mountain shot 4-for-24 from three-point range and didn't use 6-7 center Jackson Simmons (9 points, 9 rebounds) against a smaller team.

West Caldwell's K.J. Jones, the tournament MVP, had 23 points and four rebounds. Tylor Witherspoon had 10 points and 6 rebounds and Zahkiya Steptoe had 12 points and 3 rebounds for West Caldwell, which will play Kinston in next week's 2A state championship game in Raleigh.

4A Boys: Lake Norman rallies -- 3 times -- to stop W. Charlotte

GREENSBORO – Lake Norman coach Brandon Jolly thinks his basketball team, which beat West Charlotte 82-73 in overtime Saturday and advanced to the state championship game, is a team of destiny.

Well, the Wildcats were down 15 points to the Lions in Saturday’s Western Regional championship game at three different points. Each time, Lake Norman (25-3) buckled down and worked its way back into the basketball game.

The Wildcats led 7-5 less than two minutes into the game, and didn’t lead again until there were 39.1 seconds left in regulation.

Lake Norman qualified for its first state championship next week at N.C. State and will face unbeaten Fayetteville Sanford (31-0). Sanford beat Durham Riverside 51-44 in the Eastern Regional championship Saturday.

The Wildcats will get a chance to play Sanford because they never gave up hope.

“I told them to keep playing hard,” Jolly said. “I’d been telling them the whole time that if we out-rebound them, we’ll beat them. We finally started rebounding and our big players stepped up huge.”

Paul Larsen, a 6-6 center heading to Mercer, had 20 points and 13 rebounds, helping his team out-rebound the Lions 39-36. Reggie Price, the Wildcats’ 6-3 senior guard, had the game of his life.

Price finished with 25 points and 5 rebounds, but scored 13 of his team’s 16 points in overtime. He scored nine straight at one point and he made all 11 of his free throw attempts in the extra period. In overtime, the Lions shot 1-for-5.

“I had to step up for my team,” Price said. “They needed me.”

West Charlotte (22-10) was denied its first trip to the state finals in 11 seasons. J.T. Terrell scored a game-high 27 points. He made 7-of-13 field goals and scored 22 points in an electric first half. He shot 1-for-9 in the second half as his teammates didn’t look to him as much.

After his team took a 49-34 lead early in the third quarter, Terrell took just three shots for the remainder of regulation.

Brandon Richardson had 13 points and 5 rebounds for the Lions, Anthony Estes had 10 and point guard Jacoby Davis had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. But the Lions made just 2-of-5 free throws in the final two minutes of regulation, a stat that may’ve cost them the game.

“It was a great game,” Jolly said, “and we’re happy to be moving on.”

W. Charlotte 25 17 16 9 5 -- 72
Lake Norman 12 21 21 13 16 -- 83
W. CHARLOTTE 72 – Brandon Richardson 13, Jacoby Davis 10, JT Terrell 27, Hamilton 6, Anthony Estes 10, White 2, Meeks 3
LAKE NORMAN 83 – Canevari 7, Brian Whalen 12, Reggie Price 25, Eller 9, Paul Larsen 20, Weston 1, Patterson 7
All-Regional Team: P.J. Hairston, Greensboro Dudley; Justin Cheek, Ardrey Kell; Paul Larsen, Lake Norman; J.T. Terrell, W. Charlotte; Brandon Richardson, W. Charlotte; Reggie Price, Lake Norman (MVP)

4A GIRLS: Butler rallies, stops East in 4A regional championship

GREENSBORO – When East Mecklenburg beat Butler’s girls twice earlier this season, Bulldogs junior All-American Cierra Burdick said the Eagles had more heart than her team, plain and simple.

Saturday, in the N.C. 4A Western Regional championship, Butler showed its heart – and its championship mettle.

The Bulldogs (24-4), No. 1 in the Sweet 16, smothered No. 2 East Meck (27-3) with defense, especially in the second half of their 49-35 win. Championship MVP Clair Watkins had 21 points and 11 rebounds. She made 10-of-15 attempts on a night when her team shot just 40 percent.

“It helps when you’re two feet from the rim shooting shots,” said Watkins, a 6-foot-4 senior committed to Vanderbilt. “But my team had my back. It was a great team effort.”

Four months after her school’s football team won its first state championship, the girls will go for theirs at N.C. State next week.

“We wanted it more,” Butler junior All-American Cierra Burdick said. “We weren’t going to lose this one. We got this win and I’m happy.”

Burdick, a 6-2 guard committed to Tennessee, missed nine of her first 10 shots, and early on, East looked strong. The Eagles’ full-court pressure produced a 11-3 lead. East relented on the pressure, though, and Butler slowly worked its way back.

The taller Bulldogs challenged Eagles shots, forcing East into 23 percent shooting for the game. Burdick’s two free throws with 4:05 left in the third quarter gave Butler its first lead, 25-23 – and the Bulldogs didn’t give it up.

Burdick also decided to take her game into the post. She made 4-of-5 shots to finish the game. Butler’s last nine field goals were all point-blank layups. East, meanwhile, went five minutes of the fourth quarter without scoring. Butler’s 33-31 lead grew to 10. After losing to West Charlotte in last year’s regional championship, Butler pulled through this season. With heart.

“This is the state playoffs,” Watkins said. “If you don’t have heart now, you never will.”

East Mecklenburg 12 8 7 8 -- 35
Butler 5 10 16 18 -- 49
EAST MECK 35 – Allan 9, Kilpatrick 4, Fisher-Davis 2, Coleman 4, Monet Tellier 12, Knox 4
BUTLER 49 – Sanders 2, Cierra Burdick 14, Clair Watkins 21, Blandon 2, Barrino 5, Dunovant 5
All-Regional Team: Xandi Gellman, McDowell; Monet Tellier, East Meck; Aliyah Kilpatrick, East Meck; Quay Barrino, Butler; Cierra Burdick, Butler; Clair Watkins, Butler (MVP)

3A BOYS: Concord goes to third state final in five years

GREENSBORO – Concord High coach Scott Brewer said he wasn’t surprised that Lenoir Hibriten tried to run with his team in Saturday’s 72-52 N.C. 3A Western Regional win.

Most teams don’t try to run with the Spiders, who love to play high-speed and high-scoring games.

“They play fast,” Brewer said. “I didn’t think they’d change, but I think they saw we were a little bit quicker than the teams in their league.”

Concord (27-5) will play Rocky Mount in next week’s state final in Chapel Hill. It’ll be the Spiders third trip in five years. In 2006, Concord lost 79-75 to Greensboro Dudley. In 2007, Concord upset Kinston 85-79.

The Spiders got back to the final round with a fierce push in the first quarter and another in the third.

Concord started the game with a 10-2 run and maintained a double-digit lead for most of the game. In the fourth quarter, Hibriten got to within nine, at 56-47 with 7:23 to play, but Brewer called timeout, made some adjustments, and Concord went on an 8-0 run and busted the game open.

Hibriten shot 33 percent for the game -- compared to 54 for Concord -- and the Panthers’ starting guards shot 7-for-30.

Championship MVP Jacquise Moore of Concord had 20 points, 11 rebounds, 7 steals and 2 assists. The Spiders had five guys in double figures: Moore, Darren Black (11), Jalen Cannady (10), Will Vanderburg (10) and Xavier Stywall (13).

“We’re averaging five guys in double figures,” Brewer said. “That’s been our mantra all year. Jacquise has really stepped up in the playoffs. His scoring had been a little down during the season, but it didn’t hurt us much because we had so many guys who can score.”
Concord 16 21 17 18 -- 72
Newton-Conover 15 12 15 10 -- 52
CONCORD 72 – Knorr 2, Jacquise Moore 20, Templeton 6, Darren Black 11, Jalen Cannady 10, Will Vanderburg 10, Xavier Stywall 13
NEWTON-CONOVER 52 – Burgess 9, Josh Dula 17, Lipford 6, Pearson 9, Isbell 4, Davenport 6, Harshaw 1
All-Tournament Team: Darius Lipford, Hibriten; Kajuan Phillips, West Rowan; Josh Dula, Hibriten; Xavier Stywall, Concord; Will Vanderburg, Concord; Jacquise Moore, Concord (MVP)

1A BOYS: Monroe runs to finals

Monroe's Quontez Threatt had 27 points and five rebounds, Jamison Crowder had 18 points, five assists and three rebounds and Issac Blakeney had 17 points and 19 rebounds in an easy 88-73 win over Hendersonville that sent the Redhawks to the 1A state final.

Hendersonville got 23 points from Desmond Whiteside.

2A GIRLS: Salisbury girls, stay perfect, go back to state finals

GREENSBORO – At the start of the season, Salisbury’s girls basketball team, the reigning 2A state champions, set one goal and one goal only: go undefeated and win another state title.

Saturday, the Hornets put themselves in position to make their dreams come true, beating Newton-Conover 43-32 in the state semifinals to run their record to 28-0.

Salisbury, which has won 34 straight games dating to last season, will play East Bladen in next week’s 2A state championship at N.C. State. Salisbury will try to win its third state title since 2004 and finish its second perfect season in that span. The 2004 team went 31-0.

“Unless we win state,” coach Andrew Mitchell said, “we feel like it’s a missed (opportunity) for us.”

In two regional games this week against two of the best four teams in the western half of the state, Mitchell’s team put on a defense clinic. In the 45-31 semifinal win over Catawba Bandys (26-4), Salisbury allowed 19 first half points and limited Bandys to 26.7 percent shooting.

In Saturday’s final, Newton-Conover (28-4) to 33 percent shooting and only nine first half points. Good thing because Salisbury only shot 29.4 percent for the game.

Newton-Conover got 11 points and 7 rebounds from Kadesha Gibbs. Regional MVP Bubbles Phifer had 15 points and 8 rebounds for Salisbury. Jessica Heilig had a game-high 12 rebounds.

“When you get in a big open coliseum like this, you will struggle some on offense,” Mitchell said. “We said if we had to play ugly that was OK, but we wanted to make them play a little uglier and if we did that, we’d be OK.”

Newton-Conover 4 5 13 10 -- 32
Salisbury 15 8 9 11 – 43
NEWTON-CONOVER 32 – Littlejohn 9, Whitener 6, Kadesha Gibbs 11, Lewis 4, Pitts 2
SALISBURY 43 – Holmes 9, Shanequa Phifer 15, Holmes 2, Olivia Rankin 12, Heilig 3, Miller 2
All-Regional Team: Olivia Rankin, Salisbury; Ashia Holmes, Salisbury; Kadesha Gibbs, Newton-Conover; Shynese Whitener, Newton-Conover; Matrice Sweezy, Shelby

3A GIRLS: Smith near perfect in Forestview rout

North Carolina recruit Shannon Smith will play her final high school game at her future school.

Smith scored 38 points in Gastonia Forestview's decisive 63-48 win over North Iredell in the N.C. 3A Western Regional at UNC-Greensboro Saturday. It was the second most points ever scored by a girl in regional play, trailing only Smoky Mountain's Cetera DeGraffenreid, who scored 41 in 2007.

Smith and DeGraffenreid will be teammates at North Carolina next season.

Forestview (26-2), which lost in the 3A finals last season to Greensboro Dudley, will play the 3A Eastern regional champion in Chapel Hill next Saturday for the state title. The Eastern regional finals are scheduled for Sunday.

Smith's teammate, Elon-bound Kelsey Harris, had 15 points for Forestview.


Wildcat fan said...

Looks like the unstoppable JT ran into Lake Norman's RP . . . Reggie! Reggie! Reggie! Way to go Wildcats!