High School Sports

Three Mecklenburg County teams hope to punch tickets to NCHSAA regional finals Tuesday

Butler and guard Zane Rankin will play in an NCHSAA state quarterfinal game at home Tuesday
Butler and guard Zane Rankin will play in an NCHSAA state quarterfinal game at home Tuesday

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.