GREENSBORO Hough High boys basketball coach Justin Batts knows his players arent satisfied with their longest playoff run in the schools three-year history.
The first year, we went 5-20 so our guys have a chip on their shoulder, Batts said. As a group, theyre tired of being looked at as second-rate. Thats helped them, because they feel like theyve got something to prove.
We kind of look at ourselves as the underdogs. Even though weve beaten some good teams this year, they still feel that way.
The Huskies (23-5) will make their first appearance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Western Regionals, facing Olympic (27-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the 4A bracket at the Greensboro Coliseums Special Events Center.
Hough and Olympic ranked No. 1 in the Observers Sweet 16 are two of six teams from Mecklenburg County and 14 Observer-area teams to advance to this weeks Western Regionals, which will begin Tuesday night.
• In 4A girls, North Mecklenburg (26-3) will face Porter Ridge (25-3) at 7 p.m. Friday at the Greensboro Coliseum SEC.
The winner will take on either Greensboro Page (26-1) or Southeast Guilford (23-6) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, also at the SEC.
• In 3A boys, Harding (16-10) will play Statesville (23-3) at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the SEC.
The winner will face either Gastonia Ashbrook (21-8) or Gastonia Huss (24-3) which will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday for the regional title at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the SEC.
• In 3A girls, defending state champion Harding (21-4) will play Ledford (26-3) at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at UNC Greensboros Fleming Gymnasium. The winner will play either Tuscola (22-7) or Franklin (24-6) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the SEC.
• In 2A boys, Shelby (26-3) will play Smoky Mountain (26-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, followed by Cuthbertson (27-3) against Trinity (22-4) at 8:30, both at the SEC. The winners will play for the regional title at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the SEC.
• In 2A girls, Bandys (27-2) will face Canton Pisgah (24-6) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Fleming Gymnasium. The winner will play either Thomasville (20-5) or East Davidson (20-9) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Fleming Gymnasium.
• In 1A boys, 2011 state champ North Rowan (27-3) will face defending state champ Winston-Salem Prep (29-2) at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Fleming Gymnasium.
The winner will play either Hendersonville (24-3) or East Surry (18-11) for the regional title at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Fleming.
• In 1A girls, Lake Norman Charter (24-5) will play seven-time and defending state champ Kernersville Bishop McGuinness (22-7) at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Fleming Gymnasium. The winner will face Cherokee (27-2) or North Wilkes (25-2) at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
While Hough might think of itself as the underdog heading into its first regional playoff game, the Huskies opponent doesnt look at them quite the same way.
We know one thing theyre very good, said Olympic coach Ty Baumgartner, whose Trojans are the only undefeated team in the state in the 4A boys bracket.
To beat a team like West Charlotte twice and do it the second time on Wests home court means we cant take them lightly.