Editor’s note: This basketball preview covers Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Lee, Moore, Nash, Person, Pitt, Vance, Warren, Wayne and Wilson counties. A preview earlier in the week covered Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake County as well as the preseason N&O top 25 rankings.
Boys: Louisburg (16-11, 9-3 Tar-Roanoke 1A) is bolstered by Andreas Wilson (20.4 points per game). Franklinton (19-9, 12-2 Northern Carolina 2A), a defending conference champ brings back almost its entire lineup.
Girls: Bunn (23-4, 14-0 Northern Carolina 2A) will be its conference favorite again with the return of Bernadette Cooke and Cressida Duncan.
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Boys: South Granville (17-10, 9-5 Northern Carolina 2A) will be led by seniors Joseph Mitchell and Taariq Branch. J.F. Webb (9-16, 3-9 Big 8 3A) will be young with two returning seniors and five juniors.
Girls: J.F. Webb (15-11, 6-6 Big 8 3A) brings back four starters led by Mia Terry. South Granville (12-14, 7-7 Northern Carolina 2A) has its top four returning starters back, led by Olivia Dougherty and Zamyiah Mangum.
Taylor Freeman (11.5 ppg, 9.2 rebounds) leads Granville Central (3-21, 3-9 Tar-Roanoke 1A).
Boys: Cape Fear Christian (24-12, 10-2 Carolina Christian 1A) made it to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1A championship game for the first time but graduated the top seven scorers.
Harnett Central (9-14, 4-10 Greater Neuse 4A) will be led by Ian Jones (14.6 ppg). Triton (14-12, 7-3 Two Rivers 3A) is led by top scorer Isaiah Bryant as well as Chrisaun Henry and Shiquan Cox.
Overhills (15-10, 7-5 Mid-South 4A) loses four of its top five scorers with the exception of Latrell Lloyd.
Girls: Triton (18-8, 8-2 Two Rivers 3A) is led by Anna Tyndall and Leanna Parker. Overhills (12-12, 5-7 Mid-South 4A) returns seniors Alexis Geans and Jasmine Swedenburg. Cape Fear Christian (14-14, 6-4 Carolina Christian 1A) returns second-leading scorer Delaney Cumbie.
Boys: Southern Lee (20-9, 9-3 Cape Fear Valley 3A) rebuilds while Lee County (7-17, 5-7 Cape Fear Valley 3A) looks for improvement led by Griffin Dunne and Santavious Patterson, among others.
Girls: Lee County (18-8, 8-4 Cape Fear Valley 3A) brings back Amoria Neal-Tyson (15.0 ppg). Grace Christian Sanford (17-12) is led by Sarah Kelly and Madison Bolen.
Boys: Pinecrest (20-7, 6-4 Southeastern 4A) brings back most of its team that nearly beat eventual 4A champ Charlotte Catholic in the second round.
Girls: Union Pines (24-6, 10-2 Cape Fear Valley 3A) is led by Nyona Shields (16.0 ppg).
Boys: Northern Nash (13-12, 2-8 Big East 3A) is led by Darius Spragley (16.0 ppg) while Rocky Mount (7-17, 6-4 Big East 3A) returns almost everyone from last season. Elijah Cole (14.4 ppg) leads Nash Central (12-13, 6-4 Big East 3A).
Rocky Mount Academy (17-7) returns all-state performer Elijah McCadden.
Girls: Nash Central (22-5, 9-1 Big East 3A) will have almost everyone back from a year ago, led by Robbi Allen. Northern Nash (20-6, 8-2 Big East 3A), led by 500-win coach Grover Battle, returns Shamiya Mercer and Ashlee Brackett from last year’s rotation.
Rocky Mount (16-9, 5-5 Big East 3A) brings back its top five scorers with Michelle Gainey, Keyanna Spivey and more.
Boys: Roxboro Community (16-14, 12-4 North Central 1A) lost NCHSAA single-season scoring record-holder Darius McGhee (36.4 ppg) to transfer and will have to rebuild around Dylan Jones, Te’Shon Clayton, D.J. Barnette and others.
Girls: After falling in the 1A East final last year, Roxboro Community (30-3, 16-0 North Central 1A) is primed for another run after returning all but one player, including star guard Elana Ingram.
Boys: Defending 2A state champ Farmville Central (28-0, 10-0 Eastern Plains 2A) has one of the state’s best guards in Tyler Maye (23.6 ppg).
South Central (22-5, 11-1 Eastern Carolina 4A/3A) has a solid core, though top players will have to be replaced. J.H. Rose (21-8, 10-2 Eastern Carolina 4A/3A) will need a new starting five.
Girls: North Pitt (30-1, 10-0 Eastern Plains 2A), the 2A state champs, return championship game MVP Nyjanique Langley.
J.H. Rose (19-6, 11-1) Eastern Carolina 4A/3A) has most of its lineup back led by Castar Braswell. South Central (14-12, 6-6 Eastern Carolina 4A/3A) is led by sophomore Ninevah Reddick.
NCISAA 1A semifinalist Oakwood School (19-3) returns all-state player Bianca Lockamy. Pope John Paul II returns Sydnee Neal from the all-state team.
Boys: Southern Vance (19-8, 9-5 Northern Carolina 2A) won the conference tournament and brings back three of its top five scorers led by Justus Baldwin and Marcus Harrison. Northern Vance (13-14, 5-7 Big 8 3A) should be much improved, led by all-conference pick Zion Copeland.
Crossroads Christian (23-9, 13-1 Coastal Independent 1A/2A) returns Dwayne Macon and Ghage Kenan from last year’s NCISAA 1A quarterfinalist.
Girls: Southern Vance (9-15, 2-12 Northern Carolina 2A) is led by senior Ayeshia Teasley.
Boys: Warren County (12-13, 8-6 Northern Carolina 2A) made it to the first round of the playoffs and brings back three of its top four scorers in Greg Lewis, Cornell Hendricks and Malik Williams.
Girls: Warren County (18-9, 9-5 Northern Carolina 2A) brings back four starters: leading scorer and rebounder Samaria Lynch, Deja Merritt, Regine Palmer and Kaila Robinson.
Boys: After tying state power Kinston for the conference title, and then eliminating the Vikings in the second round of the playoffs, Goldsboro (24-4, 9-1) must replace seven seniors from a year ago.
Wayne Country Day (14-15) is bolstered by Neuse Charter transfer Jimmie Sanders III (23.0 ppg).
Girls: Rosewood (25-4, 14-0 Carolina 1A) loses all-state player and 2,000-point scorer Lexi Mercer to graduation but returns Jala Holloman. Eastern Wayne (12-15, Eastern Carolina 4A/3A) returns four starters.
Boys: North Carolina recruit Coby White leads Greenfield School (18-16) after averaging almost 30 points per game last season. Perennial power Hunt (10-15, 5-5 Big East 3A) has a new coach in Wayne Hardy after Dwight Taylor retired.
Girls: Fike (19-8, 6-4 Big East 3A) will be strong with three of last year’s top four scorers back, led by Dajah Horne. Beddingfield (17-6, 7-3 Eastern Plains 2A) will have to replace six players from a year ago.