High School Sports

West Charlotte boys advance in basketball playoffs, but who will the Lions play?

Don’t ask West Charlotte coach Baronton Terry who his team will face next in the state playoffs.

After the Lions throttled MECKA 4A conference rival J.M. Robinson 84-64 in a second-round win Saturday, they get a few days off before playing their next opponent.

The question is, who will that be?

“I’m so confused with the new system because of all the snow days,” Terry said. “Some teams are playing their first games (Saturday).

“But our guys have been here. The last couple years, we’ve been to the big games. They kinda know what to expect, and what’s at stake.”

West Charlotte (22-3), ranked No. 3 in the Sweet 16 and seeded third in the 32-team 4A Western draw, will host either sixth-seeded Watauga (18-6) or 11th-seeded Northwest Guilford (22-3) on Tuesday night.

The winner goes on to the NCHSAA Western Regional tournament in Winston-Salem, which opens play in the 4A boys bracket Friday.

To get to this point, however, the Lions had to rely on their depth against the 19th-seeded Bulldogs (19-7).

Isiah Blackmon scored 21 points to lead five players in double figures for West Charlotte, and also pulled down 10 rebounds. Simieon Carter added 17 points and nine rebounds, Michael Boone 13 points, and Malik Massey and Nakia Rivers had 12 each.

The Lions went 10 players deep against Robinson, which lost twice to West Charlotte in MECKA 4A play – by 17 and 12 points – this season.

But in the first half, it looked like the Bulldogs would give the Lions a tough fight, clawing back from a 15-2 deficit in the first quarter to take a 37-36 halftime lead.

Robinson was up 41-38 with 6 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third quarter when the Bulldogs ran out of gas. West Charlotte responded with a 17-4 run over the next five minutes to take control of the game.

“Our lack of size and depth really caught up with us,” Robinson coach Lavar Batts Sr. said. “We were going to have to have a great game to hold these guys off. But I was worried about our fatigue, and how we would finish them off.”

Lavar Batts Jr. led the Bulldogs with 20 points, 14 coming in the second quarter. Daniel Spencer added 14 points and Jordan McKenzie 12.

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