High School Sports

Previewing Saturday’s high school basketball state championships


Charlotte Catholic’s bid for history: Charlotte Catholic, which opened in 1955, is in the state basketball finals for the first time. The Cougars (31-1) will play Cary (31-1) at 7:30 p.m. at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

Charlotte Catholic’s bid for history II: The Cougars’ football team was 15-0 and won the N.C. 4A title in December. Four months later, the boys’ basketball team will try to win a matching state ring. The last 4A school to hit that double in the same school year? Rocky Mount won the 4A state football championship in 1962 and won the 1962-63 N.C. 4A basketball title. Greensboro Page won the 1982-83 state basketball championship and the 1983 state football championship, but they were not in the same academic school year.

Hayden Duggins, East Lincoln: Sprained his ankle in the final practice before the 2015 2A state basketball championship game, which the Mustangs lost to Kinston. He sat out the game. East Lincoln returns to the championship on Saturday, and Duggins will start against Farmville Central.

Concord Robinson: Bulldogs in the state finals for the first time and can become the first public school from Cabarrus County to win a state title since Concord in 2007.

Area championship previews

4A: Charlotte Catholic (31-1) vs. Cary (31-1), 7:30 p.m., Smith Center, Chapel Hill: Led by point guard Josh Brodowicz, the SoMeck 8 Player of the Year, Catholic set a school record for wins. Three in the starting the lineup are three-year starters: Brodowicz, Jack Larkin and Justin McKinstry. Cary gets a combined 36 points per game from Donte Tatum and Cory Gensler.

3A: Concord Robinson (28-3) vs. Fayetteville Sanford (29-1), 7:30 p.m., Carmichael Auditorium, Chapel Hill: Robinson has won 18 in a row. Sanford, the reigning state champion, is led by brothers Telligence Johnson, a junior (12 ppg), and sophomore Malik Johnson (11.4 ppg), along with 6-2 senior center Justin King (10.7 ppg). Sanford, 1-2 in state finals, is making its fourth appearance since 2009.

2A: East Lincoln (28-0) vs. Farmville Central (27-0), 2:30 p.m., Smith Center: East Lincoln was 24-1 last season, losing to Kinston 60-43 in the state final. East Lincoln is led by Duggins and junior Sage Surratt, who are shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range. Surratt, who averages 31 points, is one of the nation’s top 10 scorers. Farmville, in the final for the first time in 23 years, is led by Tyler Maye (23.5 ppg). Farmville is 3-1 in state finals, last winning in 1993 over Monroe.

Three to watch

Lavar Batts Jr., Concord Robinson: The state’s consensus top college recruit for the 2017 class, Batts, a 6-2 point guard, averages 21 points and 5.2 rebounds.

Cory Gensler, Cary: Gensler, a 6-4 senior center, averages 18 points, nine rebounds and 4.5 assists. His step-back 3-pointer beat reigning state champion Garner 71-69 in last week’s state semifinal. He also was part of a school-record comeback in the fourth round against Wilmington New Hanover. Cary trailed by 19 in the fourth quarter before winning 58-49 in overtime. This season, Gensler has sent two games to overtime with 3-pointers, won an overtime game with a buzzer-beater and made the winning shot against Garner last week.

Chazz Surratt, East Lincoln: Parade Magazine’s national football player of the year is also a pretty good basketball player. Surratt, who will play football next fall at North Carolina, averages 16 points, 8.5. assists and 6.4 rebounds.

Saturday’s championship games

At Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill

(Time Warner Cable Channel 323)

Noon: 2A girls, East Davidson vs North Pitt

2:30 p.m.: 2A boys, East Lincoln vs Farmville Central

5 p.m.: 4A girls, Northwest Guilford vs Raleigh Millbrook

7:30 p.m.: 4A boys, Charlotte Catholic vs Cary

At Carmichael Auditorium, Chapel Hill

(Time Warner Cable Channel 324)

Noon: 1A girls, Winston-Salem Prep vs Plymouth

2:30 p.m.: 1A boys, Winston-Salem Prep vs Voyager Acad.

5 p.m.: 3A girls, Freedom vs Northern Guilford

7:30 p.m.: 3A boys, Jay M. Robinson vs Terry Sanford