Basketball

3 Scenarios Before the NCHSAA Basketball Regional Finals

3 Scenarios Before the NCHSAA Basketball Regional Finals

After an entire regular season and four playoff series in eight total brackets, we’ve finally made it to the regional finals with 16 games taking place Saturday at eight neutral high schools.

The 32 teams still standing have had great accomplished seasons, but they all have their eyes on the big state championship stage at NC State or UNC next Saturday.

Now that there’s only one day left to find out which teams will face off on the Raleigh and Chapel Hill courts next week, here are some of the main storylines that will be on display this weekend.

Powerful clash in 4A East

We’ll start with the Girls’ Regional Finals in 4A East, which is a one-on-two matchup between the top-seeded Apex Friendship Patriots and the Millbrook Wildcats.

This game is headlined by arguably the two best players in the state in Apex Friendship senior, McDonald’s All-American and Stanford hire Indya Nivar on one side and Millbrook junior Reychel Douglas on the other.

The Friendship went to a 28-2 season with conference misses against Panther Creek and Green Level, but the Patriots have been dominant this season, led by Nivar, her sister Jasmine and Victoria Sagne.

Millbrook, meanwhile, is 23-3 with two one-point losses and a 16-point loss to those same Patriots in Game 2 of his season.

The Wildcats topped the conference draw and knocked out the other two toughest teams in this bracket in Garner and Panther Creek in the previous two rounds.

Friendship’s guards and wings led by Nivar and a host of other strong players are terrific, but the Patriots could be vulnerable against a team with a high-end post presence.

Enter Douglas, whose height at six feet tall as well as his versatility could pose problems for Friendship. Millbrook freshman goaltender Sanai Cole is also a player to watch as the Wildcats attempt to fire what would be a slight upset.

Elite Offense vs Stingy Defense in 3A West

Can anyone in the state stop Central Cabarrus? We’ll find out on Saturday when the Vikings take on West Charlotte in the 3A Western Men’s Regional Final.

The Vikings had a season-long tear in which they went 30-0 while averaging 85.3 points per game. Arguably the best part of the program? Their top four scorers are set to return next season, you might want to get used to Central Cabarrus being this good.

West Charlotte has been strong for years now, with an appearance in the 2019 4A State Title game with Patrick Williams on the team standing out.

The Lions are tough on defense, allowing just 57.2 points per game this year. They also saw two of the West’s other top offenses in Chambers and North Mecklenburg, but they lost both of those games by double digits.

The Vikings have set off a running clock in all four games so far this playoffs, and while that may not happen against West Charlotte, the Lions will need to be in top form to avoid an upset.

Both Farmville Central teams are back…

Deaths, taxes, Farmville Central arrives at regionals.

The girls are back after a loss in last year’s 2A State Championship game to Shelby. The Jaguars went 26-4 in the regular season, but they will face a tough test in this year’s regional final against a 27-1 St. Paul’s side on Saturday.

Amiya Joyner has been a mainstay at Jaguar for years and had a stellar season averaging 17.8 points and 12.4 rebounds per game in her senior season.

The boys are coming off another state championship last year, but they came back this time even after current NC State rookie Terquavion Smith graduated.

This year’s core of junior Jah Short, junior Jayden Pitt, senior Derrick Cox and sophomore Alex Moye will lead the Jaguars into Saturday’s tantalizing regional final game against a Kinston side also preparing for a storybook season after having gotten his own major talent in current UNC freshman Dontrez Styles.

Kinston and Farmville Central are, of course, basketball institutions in their common general area, and major bragging rights are up for grabs.

The Jaguars eliminated the Vikings from the playoffs in 2020 in the regional semifinal.