Four Mecklenburg County teams will play for N.C. Independent Schools state championships Saturday.
Providence Day’s boys and girls are going to the N.C. Independent Schools 3A state finals. Davidson Day’s girls qualified in 2A and will try to win the first state title in school history. Northside Christian’s boys are in the 2A finals for the sixth straight season and will try to win their fourth state title.
Davidson Day’s girls beat rival Northside Christian Friday and will play either Carolina Day (24-3) or Fayetteville Christian (24-3) at 2 p.m. at Raleigh Ravenscroft School. Davidson Day lost 57-36 to Carolina Day in the 2014 state finals.
Northside got 15 points each from Nate Hinton and Evan Umstead and held off Raleigh St. David’s 57-48. The Knights (21-6) will face Fayetteville’s Village Christian Academy (25-5) in the 4 p.m. championship at Ravenscroft.
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The Chargers girls (26-2) beat Rabun Gap 41-24 in a rematch of the 2015 state championship game. Providence Day ranked No. 2 in the Observer’s Sweet 16, earned its 12th straight finals berth and will try to win the title for the seventh straight season Saturday. Providence Day will play Raleigh Ravenscroft (24-4) in the final. That game starts at 6 p.m. Saturday.
It’s a familiar spot for Providence Day’s girls. They’ve won 10 of the last 11 state championships, including six in a row.
“It says that we’ve had a lot of good players come through Providence Day School. I can tell you that,” coach Josh Springer said.
Providence Day’s boys, No. 1 in the Sweet 16 and as high as No. 9 nationally, beat Raleigh Ravenscroft 84-78 on the Ravens’ home floor. The Chargers (29-3) are in the championship round for the first time since 2000 and will try to win their first state title since 1999. Providence Day will face High Point Christian (24-5), which beat nationally ranked Greensboro Day 51-50 Friday night on a shot from McDonald’s All-American Bam Adebayo with two seconds left. Adebayo, a 6-10, 260-pound center, has signed with Kentucky.
The Providence Day-High Point Christian game will start at 8 Saturday.
In Friday’s semifinals, Providence Day maintained a solid lead for much of the game despite a torrid shooting performance from Ravenscroft (23-6), which made 12 3-point shots, many of them well-contested. With 6-4 junior point guard Michael Okauru (17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists) leading the way, the Ravens closed the lead to 73-69 with 66 seconds left.
But after Josh Howard missed a free throw, senior Grant Williams jumped over two Ravens for the rebound, turned and scored. Okauru fouled him and fouled out. Williams’ free throw put the Chargers up 76-69 and effectively ended the game.
All of Providence Day’s starters scored in double figures. Williams finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds, five rebounds and four blocks. Sophomore point guard Devon Dotson had 21 points and four assists. Sophomore shooting guard Trey Wertz had 10 points, five rebounds and two assists. Senior forward Isaac Johnson had 13 points and five assists. And senior forward Josh Howard had 20 points and eight rebounds.
Providence Day’s girls didn’t have to work quite as hard. The Chargers led 23-9 at halftime and a brief run in the third quarter where their concentration dropped and saw the lead cut to 27-19 to start the fourth quarter.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first half,” Providence Day coach Josh Springer said. “I don’t know if we relaxed a little being up 14 at halftime, but no doubt we got a little stagnant in the third quarter offensively and consequently, our defense let down some, too. But in a state tournament, you’re going to face some adversity. This isn’t cupcake city.”
Providence Day responded to adversity in the fourth quarter, limiting Ravenscroft to 1-of-8 shooting and putting the game away.
Sophomore point guard Kennedy Boyd had eight points with three assists, senior guard Tori Powell had eight points, and Vanderbilt signee Erin Whalen had six points, four rebounds.
Junior center Janelle Bailey, who has more than 50 major college offers, finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds. Bailey said her team has no plans of letting up now.
“We started to rest a little today and in this type of environment, you can’t do that. This is the states and you’re not playing teams that you can beat by 40 like in conference sometimes. But we started to get stops and defensive rebound. We did what we needed. I think this team knows what we came here to do. Coach always says take it one day at a time, one play at a time. We’ve only got one day left.”