High school basketball: Six Rowan teams home for 1st round

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 22, 2022

By Mike London

SALISBURY — Eight Rowan County teams are in the basketball state playoffs that begin Tuesday, including five girls teams.

Six play at home.

Doubleheaders (girls, followed by boys) are on tap at Salisbury and North Rowan.

Also at home are Carson’s girls and West Rowan’s girls. Standard starting time is 6 p.m.

The only underdogs are West Rowan’s boys (at East Lincoln) and South Rowan’s girls (at North Buncombe).

• • •

(32) West Charlotte at (1) Carson, 3A girls

West Charlotte (7-17) doesn’t have a good record, but the Lions were automatic qualifiers as the top 3A in the mostly 4A Queen City Athletic Conference.

West Charlotte lost to the strong Chambers team 74-9 in their conference tournament — yes, 74-9 —  but West Charlotte also beat Mallard Creek 54-52 in that tournament, and Mallard Creek has a winning record.

Catawba signee Mary Spry (15.9 points per game) and Hannah Isley (13.6) lead the Cougars (22-3), who have won 13 in a row and earned the No. 1 seed.

• • •

(21) Ledford at (12) West Rowan, 3A girls

The South Piedmont Conference team most comparable to Ledford (14-10) is Lake Norman Charter.

Ledford doesn’t score a lot (44.4 points per game), but the Panthers defended well enough to beat a 20-5 Oak Grove team in their conference tournament.

Morgan Harrison, a 5-foot-4 guard, is the leading scorer for Ledford with 10 points per game, while Aramy Grier leads the rebounding.

Sophomores Lauren Arnold (17.0), De’Mya Phifer (16.1) and Emma Clarke (10.2) lead the Falcons. West expects to have No. 4 scorer Makaylah Tenor back tonight. She sat out four.

• • •

(31) South Rowan at (2) North Buncombe, 3A girls

It’s a tough assignment for the Raiders (10-13) as they travel to Weaverville to face one of the favorites in the 3A West bracket.

Bethany Rymer (19.9) and Mackenzie Chabala (10.1) lead the Raiders.

North Buncombe (19-6) played in a wicked mixed 3A/4A league in the Asheville area and won nine out of 12 conference games. The Blackhawks have won their last eight outings.

North Buncombe’s standout is Karlyn Pickens, one of the nation’s top high school softball pitchers and a Tennessee recruit. She’s a shot-blocker like the Raiders haven’t seen in the South Piedmont Conference.

• • •

(29) Hayesville at (4) North Rowan, 1A girls

North Rowan’s girls got the worst deal in history last season when the pairings were drawn out of  a hat. They got Murphy, the eventual 1A champs, in the first round and it didn’t go well.

It’s a much kinder draw this year.

Hayesville (7-15) is a mountain team with a power rating similar to East Rowan and West Davidson, opponents the Cavaliers (18-8) handled pretty easily.

Hayesville scores 42 points per game. Lila Payne leads the Yellow Jackets with 13 per game.

North has two of the county’s top scorers in Bailee Goodlett (18.2) and Hannah Wilkerson (16.7). Brittany Ellis (11.6) had a huge game in the semifinals of the Central Carolina Conference Tournament.

• • •

(31) Surry Central at (2) Salisbury, 2A girls

Surry Central (8-14) got in the playoffs despite winning two of 12 conference games and finishing last in a seven-team league.

The NCHSAA’s system for determining playoff participants is all about strength of schedule, and the Golden Eagles play in a stout league with the likes of North Surry, Forbush and Wilkes Central.

Surry Central does have a special athlete in Mia McMillen, a 5-foot-10 All-State volleyball player who uses her hops well in hoops. She averages 21.5 points and 9.1 rebounds and lit up Forbush recently for 36 points.

Kyla Bryant (17.7) and Rachel McCullough (13,8) lead the scoring for the Hornets (22-1), who have won 21 in a row. Bryant has been hot and has put together a string of 20-point games.

• • •

(19) Queen’s Grant at (14) North Rowan, 1A boys

Queen’s Grant (19-7) has a great record for a No. 19 seed and plays in a charter school league that was ruled by Carolina International.

The Stallions are from the Mint Hill/Matthews area. They average 71 points per game and have four men averaging in double figures, led by 6-foot-3 Jaidyn Covington.

It figures to be a fast-paced game against a deep, balanced North squad.

North (17-5) is led by Quashawn Carpenter (12.7), Derrick Hanson (10.0) and Amir Alexander (10.0).

• • •

(28) Reidsville at (5) Salisbury, 2A boys

Reidsville played a classic against the Hornets two seasons ago, winning 92-90, but the Tigers had an amazing player then in Breon Pass. Pass scored 50 against the Hornets on 17-for-27 shooting. He made six 3s and 10 of 11 free throws.

Reidsville (10-10) isn’t the same now, but it’s still one of the most athletic schools in 2A, so this should be a good game.

Reidsville averages 61 points per game, with three players averaging double figures. Cam Peoples, a 5-foot-9 guard, is the leading scorer.

Salisbury (18-4) has Rowan’s top two scorers in Juke Harris (23.7) and Cam Stout (19.7).

The Hornets also got big performances in the conference tournament from Deuce Walker, Mike Geter and Dashawn Brown.

• • •

(22) West Rowan at (11) East Lincoln, 3A boys

How good is East Lincoln? Well, the Mustangs went 12-2 in a league that also includes Hickory and North Iredell.

MaxPreps rates East Lincoln (22-5) as an equal match for Salisbury, but not as strong as Concord.

That’s good news for West, which beat the SHS Hornets and had two scraps with the Spiders.

More good news. Four of East Lincoln’s five losses have come on its home floor.

Drew Bean, a 6-foot-1 senior, averages 15.5 points and leads East Lincoln.

The scoring leaders for West (11-10) are Will Givens (13.8) and Athan Gill (10.6).

• • •

(27) Davie at (6) East Forsyth, 4A boys

Led by point guard Zaharee Maddox, Davie (13-10) heads to Kernersville to take on its Central Piedmont Conference rival for the third time.

East Forsyth (20-5) has won 57-54 and 43-39 against the War Eagles.