• EAST vs. WEST: For the 11th time in 12 years, the Western representatives held the edge over the Eastern champions in the NCHSAA state basketball championships.
In the 2011 championships, the Western representative took seven of the eight title games, with only Winterville South Central breaking through with a 61-58 overtime victory at Reynolds Coliseum over Hickory for the 3-A women's crown.
In 2010, for the second straight year, the Western representative took six of the eight title games, with Kinston in the 2-A men and Rocky Mount in the 3-A men breaking through for the East.
In 2009, the Western representative took six of the eight championship games, with only Dudley in the 3-A women and Northern Guilford in the 3-A men winning out of the East, but later Northern Guilford had to vacate its title.
The West took five of the eight championship games in 2008, and the 2007 count had the West winning five of eight, but in 2006, the East representatives took six of the eight titles, with only Bishop McGuinness in the 1-A women and South Mecklenburg in the 4-A women’s games winning for the West.
Western teams took five of eight championships during the 2005 Super Saturday activities, six of eight titles in 2004 and seven of eight championships during the 2003 finals. Only Fayetteville Seventy-First, with its 4-A women’s triumph over Charlotte Zeb Vance by a 50-47 count, able to give the East a victory in 2003.
The 2002 championships represent the only time that one side of the state has swept the other in the 30-year history using the regional format, as the Western champions captured all eight of those NCHSAA title games, four men’s games and four women’s games. In 2001, the West went 6-2, with only East Bladen in the 2-A men’s title game and Winston-Salem Carver in the 3-A women’s championship breaking through for the East. In 2000, seven of the eight championships went to Western representatives, with only Whiteville’s narrow victory over Pittsboro Northwood in the 2-A men’s final preventing a complete sweep by the West over the East.
• DOMINATION CONTINUES: the victory by Kernersville Bishop McGuinness over Southwest Onslow 57-43 in the state 1-A women’s final at Reynolds continued a solid trend for the Western champ in that classification. The West has now won 23 of the last 25 titles in the 1-A classification for women. The only Eastern teams to break through during this time were Union in 1998 and Lakewood in 1994.
It was also the sixth consecutive title for Bishop McGuinness in the women’s championships. It ties the longest string of state titles in that department that is owned by Hayesville, which won six under coach Darryl McClure from 1988 through ’93.
Megan Buckland of Bishop earned her third consecutive Most Valuable Player championship game award, grabbing 15 rebounds to go with seven points, five assists, three blocks and three steals.
• POWER CONFERENCE: that is a term that has been bandied about a lot as the NCAA brackets were established, but it is a term that could be used to describe the Central Carolina 2-A Conference when it comes to NCHSAA women’s basketball.
Salisbury from the CCC earned the league its fourth consecutive state crown, fifth in the last eight years and 11th title in the last 17 seasons.
Salisbury defeated East Bladen 76-44 for the 2-A championship this year after taking a 49-37 decision in the 2-A final last year over that same opponent. In 2009 Salisbury beat Graham 56-41 in the final.
• STATISTICAL ODDITY: How about this for some strange numbers in a box score? Raleigh Millbrook lost a tough 78-69 victory to West Charlotte in the NCHSAA 4-A men's championship at the Smith Center on Saturday night but observers had to note that Millbrook attempted 39 more (that's right, 39) shots from the field than the victorious Lions. West Charlotte outrebounded Millbrook 51-38, but was guilty of 27 turnovers.
• TOP PERFORMANCES: among the outstanding individual performances in the state high school basketball championships on Saturday: Kennedy Meeks of West Charlotte was the Wendy's Charlie Adams Most Valuable Player in the 4-A championship as he hauled down 19 rebounds to go with 12 points, while Mike Brown scored 23 for the victorious Lions…Addison Spruill of Pender poured in 32 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, but North Rowan rallied from 19 down in the second quarter to beat the Patriots 64-57 in the 1-A men's title game at Reynolds…Ayanna Holmes had 11 assists for Salisbury in its 2-A women's championship win over East Bladen…Jada Payne of Hickory had 29 points, including 10 of 13 from the charity stripe and five three-pointers, in the Red Tornadoes' overtime loss to South Central in the 3-A women's final…freshman Kerrion Moore of Gastonia Hunter Huss was named the Wendy's Charlie Adams Most Valuable Player with 24 points in his team's 63-62 triumph over South Central in the 3-A men's championship, a game that featured eight ties and 16 lead changes.
• BALANCE: East Rutherford won its first NCHSAA men's basketball championship by downing Pittsboro Northwood 58-56 in the 2-A championship at the Smith Center. The Cavaliers, as they had all season long, showed excellent balance. Devince Boykins of East was the Wendy's Charlie Adams MVP with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Zack Price scored 14 and T.J. Watkins 13 for the winners.
• TIME WARNER TELEVISION: all eight of the state championship basketball games are available to Time Warner Cable subscribers across the state on Carolina Video on Demand, on channel 199 or 1047. For the first time, they were all available on live television on the Time Warner system on Saturday.
• NO DOUBLES: Raleigh Millbrook and Winterville South Central qualified both men's and women's teams to the state championship games in their respective classifications, but neither was able to complete the state title sweep. Millbrook lost to Southwest Guilford 44-35 in the 4-A women's game and then dropped a 78-69 decision to West Charlotte in the 4-A men's final. South Central's women captured the 3-A title with its overtime victory over Hickory but the South Central men lost to Hunter Huss 63-62. Since the advent of the women's championship 40 years ago, there have 10 occasions where both men's and women's teams from the same school earned state hoop crowns.
Bishop McGuinness in 2009 is the last school to do it, and that was at the 1-A level, where it has occurred six times. The most recent 4-A sweep occurred in 1994 when Freedom High School of Morganton took both crowns in that classification.
• OTHER RANDOM NOTES: AAA was the presenting sponsor of the state basketball championships for the first time and had representatives participating in the post-game ceremonies in all eight contests... Wendy’s is the presenting sponsor for the NCHSAA sports program…the two sites for the championships in 2011 (Smith and Reynolds) represented the ninth time two sites have been used since 1998, when the women’s games were played at Carmichael Auditorium and the men’s games were held at the Smith Center …Northern Durham and Garner High Schools served as the official hosts for the championship…the Bouncing Bulldogs, the famous rope-skipping demonstration team from Durham, provided the halftime entertainment at the men’s 4-A final on Saturday night and got their customary standing ovation from the crowd. The Bouncing Bulldogs, under the direction of Ray Fredrick, have become one of the highlights for fans attending the championship games and have come to the championships for the last 25 years.