High School Sports

Undefeated No. 1 boys basketball team awaits ruling on whether it can play in playoffs

The Rocky Mount Prep Jaguars and Weldon Chargers boys basketball teams are out of this year’s NCHSAA playoffs.
The Rocky Mount Prep Jaguars and Weldon Chargers boys basketball teams are out of this year’s NCHSAA playoffs.

A second game-ending fight in less than a week could keep two boys basketball teams, including one of the state’s best 1A squads, from playing in this year’s N.C. High School Athletic Association state playoffs.

Rocky Mount Prep and Weldon were involved in an altercation on Jan. 30 with Rocky Mount Prep leading 83-68 with 2 minutes, 26 seconds left in the game. The game was called final and Rocky Mount Prep, now 19-0, moved to 16-0 on the season. The two teams were scheduled to play again the next night but that game will not be made up.

By NCHSAA rule, a team is eliminated when three players are ejected for fighting, which includes players who leave the bench during an altercation even if those players throw no punches.

Rocky Mount Prep head of school Todd Pipkin confirmed on Friday that the school is appealing the NCHSAA’s ruling on Monday and hopes the Jaguars will be allowed to play in the postseason.

Multiple calls to Weldon officials were not returned, and it is if the school is facing similar discipline.

For the last month, Rocky Mount Prep has been the projected No. 1 overall seed in the 1A East bracket. The Jaguars have already wrapped up the Tar-Roanoke Athletic Conference title.

Weldon is not currently projected to make the playoffs, but could earn a spot if it wins its final two games and North Edgecombe, currently in third place, loses on Friday.

On Jan. 26, two girls basketball teams – J.F. Webb and Granville Central – had a bench-clearing brawl resulted in several ejections and will keep both schools out of this year’s postseason.

By NCHSAA rule, ineligible teams vacate their automatic bids and teams that finish below are not bumped up, so there would be no 1-seed representing the Tar-Roanoke Athletic Conference if Rocky Mount Prep's appeal is unsuccessful.

The NCHSAA said it does not comment on its rulings.

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