• 79°

Western Regional Final: North boys, Salisbury girls go for titles today

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
GREENSBORO — It’s hard to say who was more impressive in the 1A boys Western Regional semifinals on Tuesday.
North Rowan destroyed Murphy 76-55 with a dazzling display of athleticism and nine 3-pointers, while Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy chewed up Cherryville 89-67 with swarming defense in a game that was supposed to be a tossup.
North (25-5) and Winston-Salem Prep (24-9) collide today at noon at UNC Greensboro’s Fleming Gym to decide the Western Regional championship and a berth in the state-title contest in Raleigh against Pender or Red Springs.
At 4 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum’s Special Events Center, the Salisbury girls (25-1) will continue their goal of winning their third straight state championship when Chris McNeil’s Hornets take on the No. 1 seed from the Catawba Valley Conference, Newton-Conover (25-3).

A balanced North team, under first-year coach and former Cavalier Andrew Mitchell, has put up the third-highest win total in school history. Only the 1986 state champs (29-2) and the 2001 team that won its first 27 games before losing in a regional final in Hickory, won more often than Mitchell’s exciting group.
North got double-figure scoring from seniors Sam Starks and Javon Hargrave, junior Pierre Givens and 6-foot-7 sophomore Malik Ford to flatten Murphy.
Starks and Givens shot the ball extremely well against Murphy, and when the Cavs are making outside shots, on top of all their other assets, they’re hard to beat.
North lost overtime games in December to West Rowan and Salisbury but learned valuable lessons. The Cavaliers currently have a nine-game winning streak.
Winston-Salem Prep is a magnet school that attracts some of the top students in Forsyth County. It opened in 2004 and has quickly become a force in 1A basketball.
The Phoenix won the 2008 state championship behind towering Reggie Johnson, who went on to Miami, and they were 25-3 last season, finally bowing out against eventual champion Monroe.
Despite nine losses, mostly to 3A and 4A schools, Winston-Salem Prep has an impressive roster with a lot of size.
Greg McClinton, a long, athletic, 6-6 sophomore wing player is a Division I prospect and averages 18.4 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Jerron Foster, a 5-6 fireball, is the engine for the team. He poured in 26 points against Cherryville, matching the output of Cherryville star Terry Whisnant, who is headed to Florida State.
This should be an even game. North had three scraps this season with YVC rival Albemarle, winning two, and W-S Prep prevailed in a tight game with Albemarle in the sectionals.

Winners of 25 straight since an opening loss to 4A Butler, the Salisbury girls face a rematch with Newton-Conover today at 4 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center.
Salisbury defeated the Red Devils 43-32 in the regional final last season, with Bubbles Phifer and Olivia Rankin combining for 27 points.
Phifer is the key ingredient missing from last season’s squad, but veterans Rankin, Ashia and Ayanna Holmes and Jessica Heilig are still on board for first-year coach McNeil.
The Hornets got a career-high 21 points from freshman Brielle Blaire in a 61-44 win against Bandys, the runner-up team in Newton-Conover’s conference on Thursday and also benefited from the return of Doreen Richardson, who missed seven games with a foot injury.
Newton-Conover beat CCC club Thomasville 58-37 to advance to the regional final.
Newton-Conover is a well-balanced team, scoring nearly 60 points per game and with four girls averaging double figures.
Shynese Whitener (13.7 points per game) is the leading scorer for the Red Devils.
Syn-quasia Tipps scored 14 against Thomasville, while Kadesha Gibbs had 13. Tiana Littlejohn is the other starter averaging double digits.
Salisbury, which will enjoy a height advantage against the Red Devils, is playing in its ninth consecutive Western Regional and is seeking its third straight 2A championship.
Besides winning a 2010 matchup with N-C, the Hornets beat the Red Devils in a regional matchup in 2003.
If Salisbury wins today, it may be looking at a state-championship game rematch with East Bladen, which plays Graham today for the Eastern crown. That game would be played in Chapel Hill.

Comments

Comments closed.

Coronavirus

N.C. lawmakers advance bill barring mandatory COVID-19 shots

Local

Rowan Public Library joins initiative to help people with digital connectivity

Local

Mocksville to dissolve police department

Crime

Blotter: May 5

Local

Salisbury’s McElroy named top city, county communications professional in state

Local

Locals condemn use of force during 2019 traffic stop of Georgia woman

Kannapolis

Back and better than ever: Cannon Ballers kick off inaugural season in Atrium Health Ballpark

News

NC police reform package approved by Senate committee

News

Rowan County Health Department receives $5,000 grant to fund prenatal oral health program

Local

City outlines use of federal HUD funds, approves NCDOT project to create U-turn bulb near Morlan Park Road

Local

Salisbury VA staff make the day for veterans with visitation parade

Kannapolis

Minor League baseball: Wood Ducks top Cannon Ballers in season opener

News

NC Senate eases caps on income, grants for K-12 scholarships

Nation/World

Biden aims to vaccinate 70% of American adults by July 4

Local

Cheerwine now accepting entries for festival’s T-shirt design contest

Coronavirus

North Carolina reports fewer than 1,000 COVID-19 positives

Local

Post accepting submissions for Mother’s Day photos, stories

Business

Perkins Cafeteria plans for July opening, looks to provide ‘wholesome, quality meals’

Local

Commissioners finalize grant application for Woodleaf Community Park

Landis

Landis board gets first look at budget that decreases town’s residential electric rates

Local

City to discuss two traffic-related measures, hold public hearing for use of federal funds

Local

Summer Fun: In-person camps are back this year

High School

High school baseball: South’s Deal will play at Methodist

Coronavirus

Vaccinations not counted in state data improve Rowan’s numbers