↑Sun Valley: Spartans lost 72-68 to Kings Mountain in a second round playoff Thursday but future is bright. The team loses three seniors and one starter. Coach Keith Mason returns 6-4 junior PG Hughston Finklea (14 ppg, 7 rpg, 4 apg), who has interested from Charlotte, Catawba, Elon and Limestone, and 6-6 junior forward Anthony Brown (10 ppg 8 rpg, 4 apg)
↑Mecklenburg County-Guilford County: Each of the 4A West boys matchups Saturday involves teams from the two counties.
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↑Queens Grant: Mecklenburg County charter school will play Winston-Salem Prep at Butler Saturday night at 6 to try to reach the Elite 8 in the 1A class.
3 To Watch Saturday
Gerrale Gates, Butler: The 6-5 sophomore post will need to control the inside for Butler, ranked No. 8 in the Observer’s Sweet 16 pol, in Friday’s sectional final with Northwest Guilford. Butler has never been past this round. Gates had nine points, a career-high 16 rebounds and four blocks in a win Thursday.
Justyn Hamilton, Independence: 6-9 junior center will be key in Patriots’ upset chances at Southwest Guilford (26-2). The Patriots should enjoy a significant size advantage. Southwest has terrific guards, led by 6-1 junior guard Kameron Langley, but no player taller than 6-5.
Jalen Knight, West Charlotte: Led the Lions past Hoke County, ranked No. 7 in the Fayetteville Observer’s power rankings. West Charlotte, seeded No. 23, is the lowest remaining seed in the West 4A playoffs, but Knight and the Lions are one more upset away from a sixth Elite 8 appearance in seven years under coach Baronton Terry.
Saturday’s Key Games
Greensboro Dudley (18-6) at No. 2 North Mecklenburg (25-2), 7 p.m.: The Vikings have won 13 straight games and are 24-0 against N.C. teams this season. North has won its last five games by an average of 31.4 points. Dudley, a perennial power, has won four of its last five and eliminated South Meck in a second round home win Thursday.
West Charlotte (15-10) at No. 4 Charlotte Catholic (28-1), 7 p.m.: Catholic hasn’t reached the Elite 8 since 2009 but can go there – which as far as Catholic has ever been – with a win Saturday. Catholic beat West Charlotte 66-46 in December.
No. 7 Myers Park girls (22-5) at Alexander Central (23-6), 6 p.m.: Myers Park has won seven straight games and hopes to reach the state finals for a third straight season under coach Barbara Nelson. The Mustangs need three more wins to get there. Alexander Central is led by junior Abby Cook (17 ppg, 11 rpg, 2 bpg).
No. 10 Ardrey Kell girls (23-6) at South Caldwell (23-4), 7 p.m.: The Knights hunt a repeat Elite 8 appearance and the third in school history. South Caldwell chases its first in 16 years.
Charlotte Catholic (19-9) at Southwest Guilford (20-9), 6 p.m.: Charlotte Catholic last made the final eight in 2010. Catholic is led by forward Carrie Eberle (11 ppg, 10 rpg).