Every one of the N.C. High School Athletic Associations 396 member schools has a chance to win a state basketball title as league tournaments begin this week.
The NCHSAA uses a 64-team bracket in each of its four classifications in the state tournament. Most of the berths are reserved for the top regular-season finishers, but every conference tournament champion also is given a spot on the bracket.
In theory, a team could lose every regular-season game and advance to the state playoffs by winning the league tournament.
Each conference tournament champion advances as the leagues No. 2 seed into the state tournament, unless the regular-season champion wins the conference tournament.
The regular-season winner advances as the leagues No. 1 team.
Teams can become ineligible for the playoffs if enough players are ejected during the season for fighting, but this year no team crossed the threshold to become ineligible, said Rick Strunk, an NCHSAA associate commissioner.
NCISAA playoffs: The N.C. Independent School Athletic Association boys and girls basketball tournaments begin Tuesday night and wrap up Saturday at Charlotte Providence Day.
Raleigh Word of God is the top seed in the NCISAA 1A boys tournament and the Cary Academy girls are No. 4 in 2A. No other area team is among the top four seeds in their brackets.
TISAC finals: The Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Association league tournament championship games on Friday were close. The top-seeded Cary Academy girls needed two overtimes to top Durham Academy 54-52 and Ravenscroft, the top boys seed, held off North Raleigh Christian 46-41.
Ravenscroft took the lead for good, 42-41, with 1:15 left.
Carolina Classic roster: Oxford Webbs Isaiah Hicks, a University of North Carolina basketball recruit, is among the area players who have been selected to play in the Carolina Classic All-Star Game on March 23 at Socastee (S.C.) High. The boys and girls games match an all-star team from North Carolina against a team from South Carolina.
Joining Hicks on the North Carolina team are Devonte Graham of Broughton and Tyrone Outlaw of Person.
The North Carolina girls roster has Rocky Mounts JKyra Brown, Bunns Whitney Bunn, Green Hopes Ashley Williams and Millbrooks Briana Day and Mykia Jones.
No senior night: The Athens Drive boys and the Cary girls missed their senior nights last Friday when Cary had to forfeit its last regular-season games.
The final games would have put Cary over the maximum number of games that can be played in a season. The N.C. High School Athletic Association limits teams to 23 games, plus an endowment game. An endowment game is just like any other regular-season game except a portion of the proceeds goes to the NCHSAA endowment.
The NCHSAA had approved Cary playing two endowments this season, which is unusual but not unprecedented, and Cary officials interpreted the NCHSAA rules to mean that neither game would count against the season limit.
Spring sports: The NCHSAA spring sports season begins Feb. 27.
The News & Observer will have its annual preseason coverage Feb. 24 with stories and lists on baseball, softball, girls soccer, boys golf, boys and girls lacrosse, boys tennis and boys and girls track and field.