High School Sports

Three Observer-area teams to play for high school basketball state championships Saturday

Cox Mill coach Jody Barbee will lead his team into Saturday’s N.C. 3A state championship team
Cox Mill coach Jody Barbee will lead his team into Saturday’s N.C. 3A state championship team dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Three Observer-area teams will play for N.C. High School Athletic Association state championships Saturday.

It’s the first time since 2004 that no Mecklenburg County boys or girls team has qualified for the 4A finals.

In Cabarrus County, two local teams will play for championships.

Cox Mill (26-6) plays Eastern Guilford (29-3) at 7:35 p.m. at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill. Cox Mill will try to win its first state title and bring Cabarrus County its first ever back-to-back state championships. Cox Mill’s rival, Concord Robinson, won the 3A championship last year.

Hickory Ridge’s girls (31-0) play Northern Guilford (30-1) at 5:05 p.m. in Chapel Hill. Hickory Ridge is looking to bring Cabarrus its first girls state championship since Concord in 2008.

Hickory Ridge is led by 6-foot-1 junior forward Gabby Smith, who averages 14.9 points and 9.1 rebounds, and sophomore Nia Daniel, who averaged 15.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and three steals.

And in 1A, Lincoln Charter (29-4) plays Kestrel Heights Charter from Durham (31-10 at 2:35 p.m. Lincoln Charter hunts its first state championship. The Eagles are also trying to win Lincoln County’s first state title. East Lincoln lost in the 2016 and 2015 championship games. Lincolnton lost in 1993.

Lincoln Charter, which doesn’t have a senior in the starting lineup, averages 78 points per game, led by junior point guard Koby Shubert (20.4 points, 6.8 assists).

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