There was a strong possibility of seeing a down-to-the-last-possession thriller or an overtime game on Friday night as conference basketball tournament champions were crowned.
Cap-8 4A: The Heritage boys and the Millbrook girls were upended by the Millbrook boys and Heritage girls at Broughton’s Holliday Gym. It was the first loss of the year for the Heritage boys (26-1), falling 57-54 to the Wildcats (20-7) while the Heritage girls (23-3) needed two overtimes to take down Millbrook (24-3).
Demi Washington sank the second of two free throws with three-tenths of a second remaining in the second overtime to lift Heritage to a 52-51 victory.
“I was just praying and hoping that (the second free throw) would go in,” Washington said. “I did the same thing I do everytime and just prayed that it would go it. And it did. I was just so happy.”
Greater Neuse 4A: On Thursday at Campbell University, the Garner boys and Southeast Raleigh girls polished off perfect conference runs with victories over Knightdale. Southeast won 49-43 and Garner won 79-50.
PAC-6 4A: In a season of ups and downs for Hillside’s boys basketball team, the Hornets (19-8) ended their run in the PAC-6 Conference tournament on a high note with a 76-67 win over Northern Durham (18-7) on Friday night at East Chapel Hill. It was Hillside’s first tournament title since 2012, and they did it as the 4-seed.
“Winning the PAC-6 Tournament is a huge thing for us,” Hornets guard Derrick Wiley said. “We can still get better. We kept our composure against Northern. We needed points from outside and we got them. Every time we hit them, it gave us more confidence.”
Hillside’s girls rolled to a 79-57 win over Jordan for a perfect run through league play.
Southwest Wake 4A: Green Hope pulled off the sweep with the girls hanging on to a 50-49 win over Holly Springs and rallying past the Cary boys 72-61. Green Hope’s girls have won five of the last six tournaments played: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017.
Cary led 35-29 at halftime and was red-hot from 3, making 8 of its first 11 and 9 of 14 by intermission. But as the Imps started to struggle from outside (finishing the game 11-of-25 for a still-above-average 44 percent), Green Hope chipped away and scored 43 second-half points.
“We hoped they couldn’t shoot that well the whole game,” Green Hope coach John Green said. “Our defense tightened up a little bit and then, offensively, we didn’t settle for the 3.”
Eastern Carolina 3A/4A: South Central’s basketball teams proved that defense really does win championships. South Central’s girls shut down J.H. Rose in a 74-27 romp (the two were co-conference champs), while the boys held off D.H. Conley 50-38.
“This program has always been built on defense first,” Falcons girls coach Robert Duck said. “Our defense is our best offense.”
South Central’s boys (23-1) held their 16th opponent to 40 points or less this season.
Big 8 3A: The Orange girls routed Northwood 58-34 to claim the Big 8 Conference tournament title on their home court on Friday, but the Southern Durham boys ensured there would be no Panthers sweep and won 87-75 despite 43 points from Connor Crabtree.
Big East 3A: Although neither Nash Central team entered the Big East 3A Conference basketball tournament as regular-season champion, the Bulldogs girls and boys defeated Rocky Mount in the finals, played at Southern Nash.
The girls, coached by Terri Cash, knocked off the top-seeded Gryphons 52-49, while the boys ended the Gryphons’ boys season, 55-47. After her team’s win, Cash rushed back to the court to watch her son, Montre’ Cash, lead the Bulldogs to the title. Montre’, a senior, was named the boys tournament Most Valuable Player.
“Winning this tournament this year was one of our goals,” Montre’ said. “This is a big thing for us and mom got her win, too. I’m so proud of her.
Cape Fear Valley 3A: Fayetteville Terry Sanford upended both regular-season champions, the Southern Lee boys (17-8) 54-40 and the Union Pines girls (23-3) 43-38.
“This is a tough one, our first home loss of the season,” Union Pines coach Greg Mayer said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way the girls played in the fourth (quarter), but we didn’t execute early on and that hurts.”
Two Rivers 3A: South Johnston’s boys (17-8) upset Triton (16-10) in overtime 62-57 while the Cleveland girls (16-10) took down Triton (15-11), 64-49, to claim the girls’ tournament title and – since the teams tied in the regular season – the league’s top overall playoff seed.
Eastern Plains 2A: SouthWest Edgecombe’s girls trailed by 13 to Farmville Central but rallied for a 47-43 victory. In the nightcap, regular-season co-champion Beddingfield fell to North Pitt 68-66.
Northern Carolina 2A: The Roanoke Rapids girls took a 51-47 decision versus Warren County at Franklinton High, while the Warren County boys, seeded fourth, closed out the night by defeating second-seeded Franklinton 55-52.
Carolina 1A: Princeton’s girls beat arch-rival Rosewood (15-11) for the second time in as many weeks to win 49-30 win at North Duplin. The Bulldogs (21-4) have won 13 straight. Spring Creek’s boys (20-6) earned the top spot in the playoffs and the tournament crown with a 73-69 win over James Kenan (17-5).
“I don’t really put a lot of emphasis on winning streaks,” Princeton coach Paula Wooten said. “We’re just trying to improve each game.”
NCAC 1A: Voyager Academy boys (24-7) overcame a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to hand Kestrel Heights (26-1) its first lost on the year in overtime, 90-82. Meanwhile the Roxboro Community girls (26-3) rolled to a 65-44 win against River Mill Academy (19-12).
The Starting 5
Five standouts from the championship games.
Alex Clinkscales, Green Hope: Scored 24 points in the SWAC title game.
Connor Crabtree, Orange: Scored 43 points in a Big 8 title game loss.
Patrick Dorsey, Millbrook: Scored 24 points in the Cap-8 title game.
Derrick Riley, Hillside: Scored 27 in the PAC-6 championship game.
Josh Richmond, Overhills: Scored a school record 44 points in a 103-97 double-overtime loss to Seventy-First in the Mid-South 4A title game.
Kaylen Campbell, Orange: Scored 23 in the Big 8 final.
Kelly Fitzgerald, Green Hope: Scored 19 points with six assists in the SWAC final.
Elisia Grissett, Hillside: Scored 21 in the PAC-6 championship game.
Elana Ingram, Roxboro Community: Scored 27 in the NCAC tournament final.
Jazmaine McCain, Princeton: Had 11 points and 21 rebounds in the Carolina 1A championship.