Undefeated East Carteret faces a major test Saturday against two-time defending 1A boys champion Winston-Salem Prep in the state basketball title game at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill.
Two of Winston-Salem Preps four losses were to 4A schools. The Phoenix has a big size advantage inside with four players 6-foot-6 or taller, including 6-foot-8 Coye Simmons. Senior Mike Hughes has been the MVP in the state finals the last two years.
East Carteret averages 25 three-point attempts per game. Junior Jacque Brown leads the Mariners with 18.9 points and 7.9 assists per game. Sam Johnson averages 17.6 points.
Nine straight: Martin County Riverside will try to end Kernersville Bishop McGuinness eight-year reign as the 1A girls champion. Riverside (29-0) is led by 6-foot-1 freshman Kayla Jones (18.6 points, 8.6 rebounds). McGuinness Julia Brown (12.9 points) is the only Villain averaging in double figures.
Defense wins: The Bandys girls have held 17 opponents to 17 or fewer points. The Trojans (31-0) play High Point Andrews (24-5) for the 2A girls title.
Kinston back: Kinston (25-4) is the two-time defending state 2A boys champ. The Vikings have been in the state finals in six of the past eight years. Kinstons Brandon Ingram, a 6-foot-8 junior, averages 19.6 points and 9.0 rebounds. North Rowan won its five playoff games by a total of 28 points, including two games by three points.
Hunt balance: The Wilson Hunt boys (25-3) have great balance with four players averaging between 13.4 and 11.3 points. Morganton Freedom won state titles in 1994 and 1998 and has had 20-win seasons 21 times since the school opened in 1973.
Out-of-state losses: Southeast Raleigh and Charlotte Myers Park, which will play for the 4A girls title, have not lost to an in-state school this year. Southeast lost to Parkview, Ga., 39-35, and to Elizabethtown, Ky., 40-38. Myers Park lost to Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman, 70-58.
Finals on TV: The championship games will be telecast live Saturday on Time Warner Cable. The 1A and 3A games will be on TWC SportsChannel 323. The 2A boys and girls game will be on channel 324.
The 4A games involving the Southeast Raleigh girls and the Apex boys will be on Channel 14 or SportChannel 200.
Private all-stars: Rebekah Banks of Cary Academy helped the East to a 69-66 victory over the West in the 2014 Upward N.C. Private School All-Star Basketball Game at Charlotte Providence Day last weekend. Banks had 13 points and 7 rebounds.
Providence Days Jatarie White, a South Carolina recruit, led the West girls with 17 points.
The West won the boys game 136-92. Ravenscroft point guard Chris Corchiani had four points.