For the second year in a row, the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association – or East regional semifinals – of the boys and girls basketball playoffs are being held tonight at the home of the higher seed.
If you went to a third-round game last Saturday, you probably didn’t see many empty seats. Expect a lot fewer than that this week. The doors were shut on some fourth-round games a year ago once maximum capacity was reached.
4A boys: 9-Green Hope at 2-South Central, 7 p.m.
Either way, one of these Falcons is getting their first trip to the 4A East final. Neither team is afraid to play a slow-paced game. South Central (26-1) has held 21 teams to 49 points or less. Green Hope (25-5) has won eight in a row, South Central has won 16 straight.
4A boys: 17-Leesville Road at 8-Seventy-First, 7 p.m.
According to MaxPreps, Leesville Road (20-9) has played the toughest schedule of any public high school in North Carolina this year, and it seems to be paying off. Seventy-First (26-4) has 6-9 center Najee Thomas and J’Mon Raeford leads the team with 17.9 points per game.
4A girls: 3-Millbrook at 2-Lumberton, 7 p.m.
The defending 4A champion heads down to Robeson County. Lumberton (27-1) is on an 18-game win streak and has already defeated two Millbrook (27-3) conference opponents by defeating Wakefield 71-41 in the first round and Leesville Road 58-50 in the second. The Wildcats recently welcomed back Dazia Powell back from injury.
4A girls: 4-New Hanover at 1-Southeast Raleigh, 6 p.m.
New Hanover (26-3) will have Southeast Raleigh’s attention after the Wildcats ousted Hillside in the third round.
3A boys: 3-Eastern Guilford at 1-Northern Nash, 7 p.m.
Eastern Guilford (27-3), coached by former Campbell great Joe Spinks, visits the Knights (25-3), and don’t expect to find a seat if you arrive at 6:30 p.m. Northern Nash had the place rocking in a 58-56 win over defending 3A East champ Terry Sanford on Saturday on a final seconds shot by Darius Spragley. The Knights haven’t been in this round since 1995.
3A boys: 16-Northern Guilford at 2-Orange, 7 p.m.
The biggest question in Hillsborough is whether or not UNC-Asheville recruit Connor Crabtree (25.7 ppg) will play for Orange (23-6) after turning his ankle in the last round. The Panthers have a chance to make it back to the East final for the first time since 2014. Northern Guilford (18-9) is the lowest seed left in the boys or girls basketball playoffs.
3A girls: 5-Rocky Mount at 1-Northern Guilford, 6 p.m.
Rocky Mount (22-3) has been terrific this postseason but faces a Northern Guilford (28-1) team that finished runner-up last year in the state championships.
1A boys: 7-Whiteville vs 1-Kestrel Heights, 7 p.m.
This game will be played at Panther Creek High, just down N.C. Highway 55. Kestrel Heights (29-1) has five players averaging double-figures. Whiteville (20-6) is led by Tyrell Kirk, younger brother of N.C. State player Shaun.
1A girls: (Williamston) Riverside at Roxboro Community, 7 p.m.
Riverside (24-2), not to be confused with the 4A school with the same name in Durham, was 1A state runner-up in 2013 and 2014. Roxboro Community (26-3) hasn’t been tested thus far in these playoffs.
The Starting 5
The top performers from the third round of the NCHSAA playoffs.
Andreal Bass, Millbrook: Scored 20 in a 55-41 win over Green Hope in the 4A playoffs.
Elisia Grissett, Hillside: Scored 20 in a 56-50 loss at New Hanover in the 4A playoffs.
Cydney Johnson, Heritage: Had 19 in a 56-52 loss to Southeast Raleigh in the 4A playoffs.
Jada McMillan, Southeast Raleigh: Had 19 in a 56-52 win over Heritage in the 4A playoffs.
Keyanna Spivey, Rocky Mount: Had 25 points in a 56-39 win over Nash Central in the 3A playoffs.
Jalen Benjamin, Leesville Road: Scored 15 points and stayed cool under pressure in a 63-60 win at Garner in the 4A playoffs.
Jayden Gardner, Heritage: Scored 28 in a heartbreaking loss to Seventy-First in the 4A playoffs.
Eric Fox, Apex: Scored 28 in a 60-53 loss at South Central in the 4A playoffs.
Will Harkins, Green Hope: Had 20 for the Falcons in a 71-67 overtime win over Cardinal Gibbons in the 4A playoffs.
Logan Vosburg, Orange: Had 24 for the Panthers in a 67-47 win against Triton in the 3A playoffs.