The Lake Norman Wildcats avoided a third matchup with Hopewell, the only team they had lost to this year, when West Charlotte upset the Titans in the semifinals of the boys' I-Meck tournament last week.
The Wildcats swept West Charlotte in the regular season beating them 89-78 on the Lions' floor Jan. 8 before winning at home 71-66 Feb. 4.
But the West Charlotte Lions pulled off the upset this time, beating Lake Norman 75-70 in the finals.
Lions star J.T. Terrell had 20 points to lead West Charlotte, but got a lot of help from his friends, as Brandon Richardson (18 points), Jacoby Davis (14 points) and Anthony Estes (11 points) all had double figures to make a balanced attack.
"I really deferred to my teammates in the second half," Terrell said, who scored 16 points in the first half but only four in the second 16 minutes. "I knew that I couldn't force anything, because we had a lead. My teammates did a great job of making plays."
Terrell, who will play at Wake Forest next season, made most of the plays over the three-game tournament, scoring 44 points Tuesday night against Mallard Creek, 45 points against Hopewell Thursday night, for a total of 109 points in the event. The Lions beat the top two seeds (Hopewell and Lake Norman), who are also No. 2 and No. 3 in the state, respectively, in consecutive nights.
After starting the season 21-0, the Titans have lost two games in the last two weeks.
Lake Norman (20-3) was impressive in the first two rounds, rolling past Mooresville 78-55 before taking out No. 9 (in the state) Vance for the third time this year. Senior Matt Eller led the way with 26 points, while Reggie Price and Kevin Canevari had 16 points, apiece.
Lake Norman made their second consecutive conference tournament final after winning the North Piedmont Conference (NPC) conference tournament championship last year.
The Lions (19-9) move into the No. 2 seed in the I-Meck with the win, which could earn them up to two home games in the state playoffs if they advance. Lake Norman slides to the No. 3 seed, which will force them to go on the road.
Hopewell remains the top seed because they won the regular season title.
Hopewell won the girls' I-Meck tournament title 56-49 over Lake Norman. The Titans (21-4) earn the conference's No. 1 seed in the playoffs, breaking the three-way tie between Lake Norman, Hopewell and Mallard Creek in the regular season standings.
The Titans got 20 points from Margaret Spaulding in the title game and 15 points apiece from Sharee Boyd and Hannah Early.