GREENSBORO Saturday morning at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center, two of the top junior guards in North Carolina will try to lead their teams to the 2A state championship game.
Led by 6-foot-3 Division I recruit Gabe DeVoe, Shelby High beat Smoky Mountain 84-46 in one N.C. 2A Western regional semifinal Tuesday. Led by 6-3 Wake Forest recruit Shelton Mitchell, Waxhaw’s Cuthbertson High beat Trinity 46-30 in the other.
That sets up Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. regional championship game. It will be a rematch of last year’s final that Cuthbertson won before losing to Kinston in the 2012 N.C. 2A state championship.
Shelby didn’t sweat much in its semifinal, shooting 62 percent, including 76 percent in the second half. The Golden Lions (27-3) had a huge size advantage and took full advantage, outrebounding Smoky Mountain 49-27, blocking nine shots and limiting their opponents to 28 percent shooting.
“I told them, ‘When we played here in ’09, everybody had a 6-7, 6-8 or 6-9 (player),’ ” Shelby coach Aubrey Hollifield said. “I looked across the state, and we’re the big team this year.”
Cuthbertson (28-3) enjoyed a similar height advantage in its semifinal, shooting 78.6 percent. Trinity played a stall offense designed to shorten the game and prevent a runaway. Cuthbertson shot the ball 14 times and made 11. The Cavs were 3-for-3 in the second half.
Mitchell had 20 points, courtesy of 12-of-16 free throw shooting. Trinity shot 38 percent and was outrebounded 17-10.
In its game, Shelby simply overwhelmed Smoky Mountain with speed, size and athleticism.
“We came out great,” senior forward Chris Wray said. “I expected a little bit more (competition) because it was a regional semifinal. But our size bothered them a great deal, and their shots weren’t falling.”
Wray finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and six blocks. Donte Falls had 20 points, on 9-of-16 shooting, to go with eight rebounds and three assists.
DeVoe, bothered by foul trouble all game, finished with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Hollifield said he was concerned about Smoky Mountain’s rebounding. He wanted his team to focus on rebounding, and he got his wish.
“I’d seen them a little bit,” Hollifield said, “and I knew we had a big height advantage. Everybody we talked to said how good a rebounding team they were and we stressed rebounding.”