The basketball season is over for many N.C. High School Athletic Association teams even if it feels unfinished.
Over half of the NCHSAA’s 400 member schools will advance into the basketball playoffs next week. The top three regular-season finishers get berths into the playoffs. Other berths in each of the four classification brackets will be filled with at-large teams, based on overall records.
Most years, every team in the state enters a post-season conference tournament with the hope of winning the league tourney and gaining a state playoff berth.
But this year, most conference tournaments were canceled by schools throughout the state because of severe winter weather.
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A lot of seniors played the last game of their high school careers last Friday at the close of the regular season. The expected conference tournament game slipped away amid the ice.
The state playoffs begin on Tuesday.
The ice and the ensuing decision to cancel tournaments for a second straight year brought a quicker than expected end to many basketball seasons across the state.
“It really is an odd feeling to have the season over but no real feeling of having a true end to the season,” said West Johnston coach Kris Bennett, whose club beat Harnett Central in overtime last Friday.
“On one hand, I (am) extremely happy that our seniors got to finish their careers with a win. But on the other hand, I think a little of the excitement is taken from that win because we, as a team, didn’t know that would be our last game together.”
The weather also put every area spring sports teams behind schedule. Spring sports tryouts were scheduled to begin on Monday, but have been canceled as well.
If schools are open on Friday, tryouts can begin, but the ground will be wet and the temperatures frigid.
The first playing date of the spring season is March 2.
NCHSAA wrestling: The NCHSAA wrestling championships are scheduled to begin Friday at noon at the Greensboro Coliseum. The wrestling championships are one of the NCHSAA’s largest spectator sports.
Almost 1,400 individual matches will be contested among 784 wrestlers. On Saturday, 56 champions, one in each weight class in each of four classifications, will be crowned.
Wrestling begins at noon on Friday with the 3A classification first round, followed by the 4A (1:30 p.m.); 2A (3 p.m.) and 1A (8 p.m.). Competition resumes on Saturday at 9 a.m.
The championship matches will begin no earlier than 4 p.m., on Saturday.
If schools are closed on Friday, systems will need to decide whether wrestlers will be allowed to participate. As a general rule, athletes are not allowed to participate on days when school is closed because of the weather, but systems can make exceptions.
Darren Coe, the Wake County Schools athletic director, said Thursday that the system is accessing its options if schools are closed on Friday.
“The safety of students, coaches, families and fans will be paramount,” Coe said. “But we also would hate for our students to miss this culminating activity.”
NCCSA basketball: The N.C. Christian Schools Association basketball semifinals are scheduled for Friday at Raleigh’s Friendship Christian (2A) and Durham’s Fellowship Baptist Academy (1A). Girls’ semifinals are 3 and 4:30 p.m. with boys’ semifinals at 6 and 7:30 p.m.
State finals are Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Friendship and Fellowship.