↑ NCHSAA state finals: One of the biggest days of the prep calendar. This year’s finals are March 16. The 1A and 3A boys and girls play at N.C. State; the 2A and 4A finals are in Chapel Hill.
↑ Mecklenburg County basketball: 12 teams in sectional finals Friday. Impressive.
↑ Independence: Won two games last season and 24 this season under coach Preston Davis. One more win and Independence is in the regionals for the first time in 11 years.
↑ Ardrey Kell coach Mike Craft: Craft left 90 minutes before Monday’s win over South Mecklenburg when his mother suddenly took very ill. Just before Wednesday’s 57-55 loss at Greensboro Dudley, Craft surprised the team by showing in the locker room, unannounced, pre-game. Just five hours earlier, his mother passed away. The Knights nearly rallied for a huge upset.
Friday’s Featured Games
No. 3 Hough at No. 2 West Charlotte, 7: The teams split two regular-season meetings. Hough has won eight of its past nine games, led by Luke Maye (19 ppg, 14 rpg) and Drexler Clark (15.1 ppg, 2.3 spg). West Charlotte hasn’t lost since Jan. 21, led by All-American center Kennedy Meeks.
Mallard Creek at No. 1 Olympic, 7: Mallard Creek’s Dominique Henderson and Dupree Potter average more than 30 points combined. The nationally ranked Trojans beat Garinger 105-53 in their second-round win Wednesday.
No. 9 Independence at Mount Tabor, 7: Independence has won 10 straight. In that run are three by the identical score of 71-56. Three Patriots average double figures – Tayon Gleaves (13.6), Marcus Graves (12.6) and Deion Lane (12). Mount Tabor’s Deion Robinson had 33 points and 16 rebounds in Wednesday’s 75-66 win against Greensboro Page.
Harding at No. 7 Concord, 7: Since a three-game losing streak late in the regular-season, Harding has won three of four games, including a win at Southern Carolina co-conference champ Marvin Ridge Wednesday. The Rams will try to qualify for their first regional. Concord features Connor Burchfield (18.8 ppg), Darren Black (15.0 ppg) and Reid Aube (12.3 ppg).
Lake Norman Charter at Winston-Salem Prep: Lake Norman Charter has won 20 straight games and hasn’t lost to a 1A team all season. Friday, the Knights will face the reigning 1A state champion. Winston-Salem Prep beat North Moore 97-43 in its second-round game.
Southeast Guilford girls at No. 1 Myers Park, 7: In the past two seasons, Myers Park is 60-1, with the one loss coming in the 2012 Western regional championship game. Southeast Guilford upset Ardrey Kell 41-38 Wednesday.
West Mecklenburg girls at No. 9 North Mecklenburg, 7: West Mecklenburg has won six of its past seven games to get one win away from its first regional berth since 1990. Jasmine Gray (14.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 5.4 apg, 4.9 spg) and T’Nyah James (10.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg) lead the Hawks. North Meck beat West Meck 54-41 Nov. 27. The Vikings are led by Destiny Barrino (12.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.6 spg, 1.6 apg)
Carson girls at Harding, 7: The Rams, reigning N.C. 3A champions, have won 15 straight games. Carson is in the sectional finals for the first time in school history.
Lake Norman Charter at South Davidson: Since an 0-3 start, Lake Norman Charter is 23-2 and is winning by nearly 25 points per game. Alex Busch (14.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Ezinne Mbamalu (11.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 3.0 spg) lead the team. South Davidson (25-2) has tied a school record for wins.
Wednesday’s Top Performers
Kelly Dulkoski, Carson girls: 30 points in a 59-57 win against Concord’s Robinson High. Dulkowski scored 11 of her team’s final 12 points.
Marcus Graves, Tayon Gleaves, Independence: Led the way in Patriots’ 74-66 win against Davie County. Graves had 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Gleaves had 22 points and three assists.
Abrea Harris, Brianna Hamrick, Harding: 28 points, four assists two rebounds for Harris and 21 points, 18 rebounds for Hamrick in 82-69 win against Southwest Randolph.
Jevon Patton, Olympic: 32 points, including 26 in the first half, of a 105-53 win against Garinger.
Madi Suddreth, Alexander Central girls: 25 points, seven rebounds in a 64-57 win against Mallard Creek. Teammates Marie Richie (14 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) and Maty Setzer (17 points) also had big games. Mallard Creek’s Whitney Walker had 24 points.
Stephanie Watts, Weddington girls: 24 points, nine rebounds, six steals, two assists in 55-50 loss to North Iredell.
By The Numbers
27: Rebounds for Hough’s Luke Maye in a 76-53 win over McDowell. Maye also had 28 points.
15: Steals for Mallard Creek in a 55-41 win vs. Watauga. Dominque Henderson (21 points, four rebounds, two assists) had four steals.
31: Points for North Iredell’s Mariah Johnson in a 55-50 win vs. Weddington.