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95th ANNUAL MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS• 38th ANNUAL WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK
tidbits of information and other minutiae from the 2009 NCHSAA Basketball Championships
• EAST vs. WEST: For the ninth time in 10 years, the Western representatives held the edge over the Eastern champions in the NCHSAA state basketball championships. This year 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.
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 29-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 East Bladen by 64-33 in the state 1-A women’s final at Reynolds Coliseum continued a solid trend for the Western champ in that classification. The West has now won 22 of the last 24 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 fourth consecutive title for Bishop McGuinness in the women’s championships. The longest string of state titles in that department is owned by Hayesville, which won six under coach Darryl McClure from 1988 through ’93.
• GREAT COMEBACK: Winston-Salem Mount Tabor threatened to blow the NCHSAA 4-A championship game wide open early as the Spartans scored the first seven points of the game and raced 25-8 lead after one quarter over Fayetteville Terry Sanford. But the Bulldogs battled back and got to within three points with 33 seconds remaining before falling 60-55. Terry Sanford’s defense was a key, limiting Mount Tabor to 20 percent shooting in the second half after the Spartans fired away at a 52% clip in the opening 16 minutes.
C.J. Harris of Mount Tabor was the Wendy’s Championship MVP, scoring 20 points, including 12 of 14 from the foul line.
• GOING FOR TWO: Gastonia Forestview, in its 10th year of existence, was going for a fairly rare double on Saturday as the Jaguars had both their women’s and men’s teams in the championship game. Forestview fell to Greensboro Dudley in the women’s final in a taut 60-58 battle that featured 17 ties and 14 lead changes and no more than six points ever separated the two. Northern Guilford beat Forestview in the 3-A men’s final, 66-54.
In the history of NCHSAA postseason play, there have been nine schools that have won a women’s and men’s state title in the same year, the most recent being Thomasville in 2005.
Dudley had several stellar performances in the 3-A women’s final, led by Wendy’s MVP Helen Terry with 16 points, five assists and five steals. Desiree Drayton hauled down 18 rebounds, one of the 15 best rebounding games in the last 24 years of the women’s finals, and Breonna Patterson led the Panther scoring with 23 points, including three three-pointers.
• BIG POINT TOTAL: Aaron Toomey scored 35 points for Bishop McGuinness as the Villains defeated Weldon 72-56 to earn its first NCHSAA men’s 1-A basketball championship. It was the sixth highest point total in the finals by a men’s player since 1986, and the best in a men’s championship since Michael Joiner poured in 36 for Fayetteville Seventy-First in the 2000 4-A game against Winston-Salem R.J. Reynolds.
Toomey hit 19 of 21 foul shots en route to his 35 points.
• 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 second consecutive state crown, third in the last six years and ninth title in the last 15 seasons. Salisbury defeated Graham 56-41 as Wendy’s MVP Shanequa Phifer scored 15 points for Salisbury.
The Hornets had to defeat league rival and previously unbeaten East Davidson, the defending state champs and CCC regular-season and tournament champs, in the Western Regional to advance to the state championship game.
Graham was making its third consecutive trip to the state finals but is still looking for its first women’s title since 1979 when the Red Devils won the 3-A crown over Davie County at Hickory High School.
• 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 1234.
• A FIRST: Northern Guilford earned its first team title in any NCHSAA sport in its second year of existence as the Nighthawks beat Gastonia Forestview for the 3-A crown. Chris McCain scored 25 points en route to earning the Wendy’s MVP, hitting 10 of 12 shots from the field. Northern shot 57.1 percent from the floor in the second half.
Northern is in its second year of existence and there are no seniors at the school so the team should be very strong next year.
• BLEW OPEN A CLOSE ONE: The Lions of West Charlotte blew open a close game in the final period of the 4-A women’s championship battle with Durham Hillside. The game was tied at 50-50 with 7:23 to play and it was 62-59 West Charlotte with 3:36 remaining before the Lions outscored Hillside 16-1 in the final three and half minutes.
Christal Caldwell of West Charlotte earned the Wendy’s MVP with 19 points, 12 rebounds and three steals while Asia Williams of Hillside led all scorers with 20 points.
• FOOTBALL POWER: Shelby has been known as an outstanding football school but now the Golden Lions have added a basketball state title as the Golden Lions overcame Pittsboro Northwood 62-50 in the 2-A men’s championship. Coach Aubrey Hollifield guided Shelby to the state title but also coaches on the football staff.
Eric Mayo led Shelby with 15 points and earned the Wendy’s MVP while Nick Stamp added 15. Jake Houck paced Northwood with 15 points while Terrance Hackney had 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. The win by Shelby narrowed the Eastern representative’s margin over the past 24 years in this classification to 13-11, and the Western team has won five of the last eight championships.
• OTHER RANDOM NOTES: Wendy’s is the presenting sponsor for the NCHSAA sports program…the two sites for the championships (Smith and Reynolds) was the seventh 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 championships… Nationwide Insurance made a $40,000 donation to the NCHSAA in a presentation at the Smith Center; it sponsors the “Buckle Up for Safety” campaign with the schools…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 23 years.