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• PERFECT SLATES: There were only two NCHSAA teams, a pair of women’s squads, among the over 700 which began play this season which finished with unblemished records after the weekend’s NCHSAA state championship games.
Bishop McGuinness (31-0) of Kernersville defeated another team that entered the finals with a perfect record, Southeast Halifax, 54-31 for the women’s 1-A title at the Smith Center. Wilson Beddingfield (30-0) capped a perfect campaign in the 3-A women’s final, also at the Smith Center, defeating Fred T. Foard from Catawba County 64-53.
• EAST vs. WEST: For the first time in seven years, the Eastern representatives held the edge over the Western champions in the NCHSAA state basketball championships. 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 at the Smith Center and Reynolds Coliseum took five of eight championships during the 2005 Super Saturday activities.
Western teams took 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 27-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.
• STRING SNAPPED: The victory by Wallace-Rose Hill over North Stokes in the NCHSAA state 1-A men’s final at the Smith Center snapped a string of eight consecutive wins by the Western representative in that classification. Roanoke was the only Eastern school to break through since 1993, when the Redskins took back-to-back crowns in 1996 and ’97, before the Bulldogs scored their title triumph, their second since 1998 when W-RH won the 2-A title with a perfect 31-0 mark, beating North Stanly 78-56 in that championship.
• ZULLOS ARE TOUGH: Twin sisters Megan and Kimberly Zullo were key players as Farmville Central won its first NCHSAA women’s basketball crown in five title appearances. Megan, bound for N.C. State, was the Wendy’s Most Valuable Player with 17 points, 12 assists and three steals. She was a perfect seven for seven from the foul line and had the assist that led to the winning basket in Farmville’s 56-55 overtime victory. Kimberly poured in 20 points and tied a women’s championship game record by hitting six three-pointers. Deborah Cherry of Roanoke hit six threes in the 2001 state 1-A championship against Chatham Central.
• MVP: William Graves of Dudley was the Wendy’s MVP in the men’s 3-A championship as the Panthers got past Concord 79-75 in a game in which Dudley never trailed but could also never put away the pesky Spiders. Graves was playing at the Smith Center, which will be the site of his collegiate career since he has signed with North Carolina. Graves scored 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Dudley, which was making its third consecutive appearance in an NCHSAA final.
• ROBINSON BOYS DO WELL: Three of the 16 coaches in the NCHSAA finals have the last name “Robinson”, and all three of them earned state title. Steve Robinson guided Wallace-Rose Hill to the men’s 1-A title, George Robinson coached Burlington Cummings to the men’s 2-A crown, and Brian Robinson led the Bishop McGuinness women to the 1-A championship.
• CHAIRMEN/WOMEN OF THE BOARDS: Several players in the NCHSAA state championships accumulated outstanding rebounding totals. April Whitaker of Southeast Halifax grabbed 18 rebounds in her team’s loss to Bishop McGuinness in the 1-A women’s final. Saybah Sammy of Salisbury hauled down 19 boards in the overtime loss to Farmville Central in the 2-A women’s championship. In men’s play, Wendy’s MVP Dwight Jones of Burlington Cummings collected 16 rebounds and scored 24 points to lead the Cavaliers past Shelby 68-65 in the men’s 2-A championship.
• TOUGH DAYS SHOOTING: Neither Southeast Halifax or Bishop McGuinness could find the range on the Smith Center basket in the 1-A women’s game. Both teams shot under 15 percent from the floor in the opening half, with Bishop hitting just five of 37 and Southeast only four of 30. Southeast wound up shooting just 17.2 percent from the floor for the game.
Fred T. Foard shot only 23.9 percent from the field, including 16.2 percent in the second half, in the Lady Tigers’ loss to Beddingfield. North Mecklenburg was the only team among the 16 finalists to shoot better than 50 percent from the field during the game, hitting 51.4 percent for the contest (18 for 35) in the two-point loss to Raleigh Wakefield
• OTHER RANDOM NOTES: Wendy’s and the Carolinas Ford Dealers once again served as the presenting sponsors for these championships… the Western representative has now won 16 of the last 21 men’s state 4-A championships after Raleigh Wakefield’s second crown in three years, denying North Mecklenburg back-to-state championships…the two sites for the championships (Smith and Reynolds) was the fourth 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…the crowd for the men’s 4-A championship was one of the largest at the finals in the last several years…Southern Durham and Garner High Schools served as the official hosts for the championships.