Panther Creek coach Nathaniel Blalock could’ve been upset last week when the N.C. High School Athletic Association boys tennis brackets came out. His Catamounts, coming off their first undefeated regular season and conference championship, were ranked No. 1 in the state.
The bracket granted no favors, pitting Panther Creek against two-time defending 4A champion Wakefield, but the Catamounts won 5-1. This week, the bracket puts the Catamounts on the road, a fate decided by a random draw, against undefeated Clayton.
“Of course you would prefer to ease into things, but I think this helps us. It lets us know where we stack up against some of the better teams in the state, and lets other teams know we’re the real deal,” Blalock said.
Panther Creek didn’t have a conference champ in doubles or singles but plays its best when there’s a team environment.
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“We might not necessarily always be the best doubles team out on the court and we might not have the best singles player, but as a team we always pick up for each other,” Blalock said.
CFVC baseball: Lee County baseball claimed the 2-seed from the Cape Fear Valley 3A Conference by winning its conference tournament title 5-4 against 4-seed Union Pines.
Track and field: As conference track and field championships concluded late last week, Beddingfield’s girls and North Pitt’s boys won the Eastern Plains 2A titles and Research Triangle swept the North Central Athletic 1A.
North Moore’s girls were second in the Central Tar Heel 1A behind West Montgomery, and the boys were third behind South Davidson and West Montgomery.
First football opponent: Apex Friendship’s first varsity football season is in the fall, and now the Patriots know who they’ll be welcoming for a first game. North East Carolina Prep, a non-NCHSAA charter school in Tarboro, will visit Friendship for the season opener in the fall.
Friendship, who also has nonconference games against Cleveland and at West Johnston, was 5-4 as a JV team in the fall. NECP was 3-5.
West Johnston doesn’t give up: Much like Leesville Road last year in the Cap-8, West Johnston did not allow a poor nonconference record to deter its dreams of a conference baseball title. The Wildcats wrapped up a Greater Neuse River 4A with a 10-4 victory Saturday over Knightdale .
West Johnston enters the playoffs with a 14-10 (2-8 nonconference, 12-2 GNRC) record, but as one of the No. 1 seeds in the field, meaning they’ll get at least one and probably two home games.
Performers of the week
Stephen Abrams, Beddingfield boys golf: Won the 2A East regional by carding a 74.
Patrick Stephenson, South Johnston boys golf: Won the 3A East regional with a 68.
Doc Redman, Leesville Road boys golf: Won the 4A Mideast regional with a 63.
Walter Brinker, Lee County boys golf: Won the 3A Mideast regional with a 67.
Eric Bae, Pinecrest boys golf: Won the 4A East regional with a 71.
Michael Wicker, Northern Durham boys golf: Won the 4A Midwest regional with a 68.
Spencer Brickhouse, Bunn baseball: Went 2 of 3 at the plate and pitched five scorelesss innings in a 7-3 win against South Granville to secure Bunn’s fifth-straight league title.
Hailey Wood, Princeton softball: Appalachian State recruit struck out 11 to down North Duplin Saturday.
Drew McDonald, Sanderson baseball: Senior came through in the clutch, delivering two two-out, two-run singles that helped the Spartans overcome the Millbrook Wildcats 8-7 to claim the Cap-8 4A championship.
Amberlyn Pearce, North Johnston softball: Took a perfect game into the fifth inning before completing a two-hit shutout as the Panthers beat Washington 2-0 at home Saturday to earn a tie for the conference title with Washington and Beddingfield.
Abby Staker, Cary Academy girls soccer: Scored twice in a 6-0 win Friday against Ravenscroft, giving her a school-record 62 for her career.
Marcus Krah, Hillside boys track and field: Won the PAC-6 4A long jump, triple jump and 110 hurdles.
Mitch Spence, Green Hope baseball: Pitched a two-hitter May 2 to defeat Middle Creek 5-1.
Alcenia Purnell, Heritage girls soccer: Scored four minutes into overtime Wednesday, off a corner kick by Christiana Filippini, to help Heritage defeat Broughton 1-0.
Montae Myers, Rolesville boys track and field: Won Greater Neuse 4A 100 and 200 dashes plus 110 hurdles.
Lauren White, Rolesville girls track and field: Won Greater Neuse 4A 100 and 200 dashes and was second in the long jump.
Julie Anne Pretty, Wakefield girls lacrosse: Scored three goals and won lots of draws to help the Wolverines take out Apex 16-8 Friday in the second round.
Fabian McDonald, South Johnston boys track and field: Won Two Rivers 3A 100 and 200 dashes plus long jump.
Sydni Fields, Cleveland girls track and field: Won Two Rivers 3A 100 and 300 hurdles.
Kayla Foy, Green Hope girls track and field: Won the Southwest Wake 4A 100 and 200 and was on two winning relay teams.
Olivia Goodwin, Cary girls track and field: Won the Southwest Wake 4A long jump and pole vault.
Mya Daye, Northern Vance girls track and field: Swept the Big 8 3A 100, 200 and 400.
Jamar Davis, Orange boys track and field: Won the Big 8 3A triple and long jump.
Send nominations each Saturday to firstname.lastname@example.org.
▪ Athens Drive baseball earned its way into the playoffs by toppling Green Hope 7-3 Saturday. Green Hope and Middle Creek will share the Southwest Wake 4A title, with Middle Creek winning a coin flip for the higher seed.
▪ Lilly Fox scored once and Marzia Josephson twice as the Apex Friendship girls soccer team got its first victory over a 4A school when it surprised Holly Springs 3-2 Tuesday. The Patriots ended their first varsity season 2-17.
Best of this week
Baseball: Tuesday and Wednesday – NCHSAA first round of the playoffs; Friday and Saturday – NCHSAA second round of the playoffs. Saturday – first round NCISAA playoffs.
Softball: Tuesday and Wednesday – NCHSAA first round of the playoffs; Friday and Saturday – NCHSAA second round of the playoffs.
Girls soccer: Tuesday and Wednesday – NCHSAA first round of the playoffs; Friday and Saturday – NCHSAA second round of the playoffs.
Boys lacrosse: Tuesday/Wednesday – NCHSAA 4A third round and 1A/2A/3A second round of the playoffs; Friday – NCHSAA 4A fourth round and 1A/2A/3A third round of the playoffs.
Girls lacrosse: Tuesday/Wednesday – NCHSAA third round of the playoffs; Friday – NCHSAA fourth round of the playoffs.
Boys tennis: Tuesday – NCHSAA second-round dual team playoffs; Friday-Saturday – NCHSAA state championships (4A at Millbrook Exchange, 3A at Burlington Tennis Center, 2A at Cary Tennis Park, 1A at Cary Tennis Park).
Boys golf: Monday/Tuesday – NCHSAA state championships (4A at Pinehurst No. 8, 3A at Whispering Pines Country Club, 2A at Foxfire Resort and Golf Club - Grey Course, 1A at Longleaf Golf and Country Club).
Track and field: Friday – NCHSAA regionals (1A East at Trask, 2A Mideast at Franklinton, 2A Midwest at Monroe); Saturday – NCHSAA regionals (1A Mideast at Trask, 2A and 3A East at Fike, 3A Mideast at Northern Guilford, 4A East at Ashley, 4A Mideast at Apex Friendship, 4A Midwest at Dudley).