The bad news for East Chapel Hill’s girls basketball team is that it loses Riley Foster to graduation this year.
The goods news for East is that Foster is one of only three seniors. Everyone else will be back next year.
Coach Michelle Wood’s Wildcats (7-15) ended their season with a 51-45 loss to Northern Durham in last week’s quarterfinals of the PAC-6 tournament.
The East Chapel Hill boys team (9-15) likewise lost in the PAC-6 quarterfinals, dropping a 68-59 decision to Hillside.
Both of East Chapel Hill’s basketball teams finished in the bottom third of the PAC-6, and neither was likely to get an at-large berth in this week’s N.C. High School Athletics Association state playoffs. First-round pairings were announced Saturday. (See www.newsobserver.com/ for a complete list.)
All PAC-6 games were played at Roxboro Person. Ironically, the East girls had their best success in conference games this season against Person, which they swept in a home-and-away series.
Playing Northern (11-12) last Tuesday at Roxboro, East got off to a good start with a 20-18 halftime lead. But Northern got 17 points from Rhianna Council and 15 from Madison Taylor as it pulled ahead 34-30 in the third quarter and advanced into the semifinals.
Guard Ali Cyr-Scully led East with 19 points, while Foster had 10.
East graduates three frontcourt players this spring – Foster, Adorable Bigelow and Jessica Nolting – but will return most of its regular lineup.
“We ended the season at 7-15 but feel like we had a good season in terms of growth as individuals and as a team. The girls were one of the most fun groups that I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Wood said. “We had great senior leadership from Adorable Bigelow, Riley Foster and Jessica Nolting.”
Cyr-Scully and rising sophomore T.J. Johnson will be East’s top returning players next year in scoring, assists and steals. East also hopes to have back juniors Grace Haley and Sarah Towne – multi-talented athletes who emerged as important players for the basketball team this season.
The East boys’ team will return four of its top five scorers and rebounders next year Arkavious Parks, Robert Wilson, Lawyer Dallas and Carter Collins.
Dallas, who averaged 8.6 points a game this season, led East in the PAC-6 quarterfinals with 17 points against Hillside. Wilson, who averaged 11.5 points, added 16 against the Hornets.
East will graduate solid all-around player Ty Woodard (7.9 ppg) and play-maker Dylan Farrow, who had an impressive 2:1 assist:turnover ratio. The ‘Cats also lose three of its taller seniors who helped boost East’s rebounding this season: 6-5 Ren Sharp, 6-2 Dawud Salim and 6-1 Quincy McDuffie.