Playoff berths and scenarios
By Mike London
Coming down the stretch …
The CCC gets four berths in the 2A state playoffs. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds are home for the first round of the playoffs, while No. 3 and No. 4 seeds go on the road.
There are also four wild-card berths available in the West bracket, and it’s conceivable the CCC’s fifth-place team could land one.
North Rowan (7-11, 6-3) is one game back of league-leading Central Davidson (16-5, 7-2) with three left to play, but winning the CCC is now a longshot. The Cavs have lost leading scorer Winslow Cherry and his 13.9 points a game, and the schedule is difficult the rest of the way ó at Central tonight, plus games with Salisbury and Lexington next week.
n Salisbury (13-9, 7-3) is at home against fifth-place Ledford (8-13, 5-5) tonight.
The Hornets lost at Ledford, so they should be hungry for the rematch. If Salisbury wins tonight and next week against North it can still share the league title, but it needs help. Either North or Lexington has to knock off Central.
West Davidson (5-13, 4-5) has emerged as the likely No. 4 team behind co-leaders Salisbury and East Davidson and third-place Ledford.
Salisbury’s girls (20-1, 9-1) are ranked second in 2A and can secure a share of their fifth straight CCC title by beating Ledford tonight and North next week.
Ledford (14-7, 8-2) got spanked by an emotional Salisbury team at home, but the Panthers are better than they looked in that one. They played fourth-ranked North Stanly tough on Wednesday.
North Rowan’s girls (2-17, 0-9) want a league victory, and they have a shot against Central (2-19, 1-8) tonight. The Spartans’ only CCC win was a 39-37 verdict over the Cavs.
The NPC gets six state playoff berths, but that’s the last favor the league got from the bracket-builders.
The league’s No. 1 seed will be home for the first round of the 3A state playoffs, but everyone else is on the road.
Seeds 3-6 will travel to face No. 1 seeds. The NPC’s No. 2 seed, because of the NCHSAA’s seeding priority plan, will travel to face the Catawba Valley Conference’s No. 2 seed in the first round.
The NPC’s No. 5 seed gets to face the SPC’s top seed. There’s a 99 percent chance that’s going to be Concord.
The playoff brackets make tonight’s East Rowan-Northwest Cabarrus game that much bigger. East (18-3, 14-2) wraps up the league’s No. 1 seed if it wins tonight because it will own a sweep of the Trojans (18-4, 14-2).
To nail down the top seed, Northwest has to beat East tonight and a talented Lake Norman team next Tuesday.
West Rowan (17-5, 12-4), Mooresville (13-7, 11-5) and Lake Norman (13-7, 9-7) are assured of playoff berths.
Statesville (9-12, 6-10) clinches sixth if it beats Carson (6-15, 4-12) at home tonight. If Carson wins, it can still tie the Greyhounds. Statesville won the first meeting 66-59.
South Rowan (5-17, 4-12) was swept by the Greyhounds, so it’s out of the playoff picture barring a miraculous run in the NPC tournament. The Raiders will be playing for pride when they make the short trip to Mount Ulla tonight. South matches up well with the Falcons. The Raiders beat them in the Christmas tournament and lost 48-46 at South.
West junior K.J. Sherrill has 930 career points.
South senior Derek Davis has 656 career points. He ranks 16th in South history.
Five of the six playoff berths have been secured by champion Statesville (20-1, 16-0), East Rowan (16-6, 13-3), Lake Norman (16-5, 12-4), South Rowan (13-9, 10-6) and North Iredell (12-7, 10-6).
West Rowan (13-9, 8-8) is in fine shape to lock up the last playoff spot because seventh-place Northwest (8-13, 7-9) has to upset East or Lake Norman to earn its eighth victory.
West, which should handle Mooresville (5-15, 3-13) next week, is more likely to move up than down. It plays host to South Rowan tonight in a potentially great game. West beat the Raiders 61-56 in the Christmas tournament. South won 53-51 in Landis when West was without guard Peyton Sawyer.
North Iredell and South Rowan face each other next week in a season finale, and North Iredell also is an underdog tonight against Lake Norman.
East may be challenged at Northwest, which plays better at home, but the Mustangs have a lot of incentive. Because they swept Lake Norman, they can lock up second place with a victory.
East finishes with Statesville next week. It will be an interesting Senior Night, as the Greyhounds try to run the NPC table in Granite Quarry. That’s quite a feat in a 10-team league.
There’s little chance Davie County (11-10, 3-4) is going to miss the playoffs.
The CPC gets four playoff berths, and there are also six wild-card spots available in the 4A West bracket.
Fourth-place Davie got a boost from beating West Forsyth last week. It has a three-game lead over the No. 5 and No. 6 clubs in the CPC and could make things interesting at second-place R.J. Reynolds (15-6, 5-2) tonight.
If Davie stays fourth, it’s looking at a first-round trip to play the No. 2 team from the Queen City Conference.
Junior guard Drew Absher could reach 1,000 points tonight. He needs 20 for the milestone and scored 20 when Davie lost to Reynolds 77-68 in Mocksville.
While Davie (7-12, 1-6) is in last place, it still has realistic playoff hopes if it can complete a season sweep of Reynolds (10-10, 2-5).
The SPC gets five playoff berths, with the top two seeds at home for the first round.
Still unbeaten at home, A.L. Brown (16-4, 11-3) can’t finish lower than second. Brown plays Porter Ridge (12-9, 8-6) in Indian Trail tonight.
Mathematically, the Wonders can still tie Concord (18-3, 12-1) for first place, but they would have to beat the Spiders in Kannapolis next week and Concord would also have to be upset by either Parkwood or Piedmont ó an unlikely scenario.
Because the SPC gets five playoff spots, A.L. Brown’s girls (6-14, 4-10) aren’t out of the hunt. They’re only one game behind fifth-place Sun Valley, but they’ll be underdogs in their last two contests against Porter Ridge and league-leading Concord.
Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or email@example.com.