Spartans' girls, Warriors' boys make state tournaments

John Josey, News-Topic, Lenoir, N.C.
·2 min read

Feb. 23—The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released its state basketball playoff seedings and brackets Sunday afternoon, and two local schools are in the chase for a state championship.

South Caldwell's girls, who won the 4A championship in the Northwest 3A/4A conference, drew the No. 2 seed in the 4A West region. The Spartans (6-6) will host wildcard West Forsyth on Tuesday. The Titans, who won the Central Piedmont Conference championship, finished their season 10-3 overall and 9-1 in league play. Their lone conference blemish was a 51-38 loss to East Forsyth on Jan. 29. West Forsyth also lost 51-43 to East Forsyth in a conference tournament game on Feb. 17.

The Titans average just over 55 points a game on offense and give up about 42 points a game. They will have the challenge of stopping Olivia Miller. The junior guard/forward is the engine that drives the Spartans. She averages nearly 19 points a game and is coming off a 26-point effort in Friday's 55-51 double-overtime loss at Alexander Central.

The second-seeded Spartans will have homecourt advantage through the early rounds of the tournament; the winner of Tuesday's game will face either Myers Park or Lake Norman in the second round.

In the 2A West bracket, West Caldwell drew the No. 13 seed and will visit No. 4 seed Ashe County on Tuesday. The Warriors (7-2) finished second behind undefeated Patton in the Northwestern Foothills Athletic Conference and enter the state tournament on a four-game winning streak with their last win coming on Feb. 16, an 81-50 rout of East Burke.

West Caldwell is led by sophomores Malek Patterson (17 points a game, six rebounds a game) and Ja'Kobe Hood (15 ppg). As a team, the Warriors average 59 points a game on offense, give up 49.8 points per outing and average more than 15 steals a game. West Caldwell is also busy on the boards, pulling down 29 rebounds per game.

The Huskies (10-3) are the 2A champions of the Mountain Valley 1A/2A conference and have won three in a row. Their last loss was a 49-46 defeat at East Wilkes on Feb. 9.

Senior Austin Poe leads Ashe in scoring with 13.6 points a game, followed by Dawson Cox with 12.5 ppg and sophomore Jake Grubb with just over 10 points a contest.

The winner will face either Mountain Heritage or Salisbury in the second round.