There are three Mecklenburg County high school basketball teams remaining in the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoff race as state quarterfinals tip-off Tuesday.
Unbeaten Butler and the unbeaten Mallard Creek girls are joined by the Ardrey Kell girls. All three will play Elite 8 games Tuesday.
▪ At Butler, the Bulldogs (29-0) will host West Forsyth (27-2) at 7 p.m. West Forsyth lost an 18-point first half lead against North Meck at home Saturday, but held onto win 69-66. K.J. Henry, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound forward, had 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting against North Meck. Henry is a top 20 national football recruit in the class of 2018. West Forsyth won without starting point guard Justin McCluney (stress fracture in right foot). McCluney is expected to play Tuesday.
▪ At Mallard Creek, the Mavericks girls (28-0) host Winston-Salem Reynolds (24-3) at 6:30. Reynolds has won eight games in a row and will try to deny Mallard Creek a second trip to the N.C. 4A regional final.
▪ Ardrey Kell (24-6) at at Northwest Guilford (27-2). If the Knights can end Northwest’s 23-game win streak, it could set up an all-Mecklenburg regional girls final Saturday
▪ Around the area, the boys 3A bracket in the west features four Observer-area teams: Reigning N.C. 3A state champ Concord Robinson (21-7) is at Freedom (27-2). Hickory (24-6) is at Cox Mill (24-6). Hickory coach Andy Poplin is familiar with Cabarrus County schools because he won a state title at Concord.
In 2A, three of the four teams are from the Observer area: Forest Hills (25-4) at is at unbeaten East Rutherford (29-0), and Shelby (24-5) visits North Surry (25-4). North Surry, out of the Observer’s coverage zone, shocked Lincolnton Friday, winning 94-60.
In 1A, Lincoln Charter (27-4), the lone area school, is at Winston-Salem Prep (25-3).
▪ On the girls side, all four teams in 3A are from the area: Central Cabarrus (26-4) is at Freedom (28-1) at 6. Ashbrook (27-2) is at unbeaten Hickory Ridge (29-0) at 6:30. In 2A, East Burke (26-3), the lone area team, faces Smoky Mountain (27-2), and in 1A, Gray Stone Day (25-2) hosts Avery County.