NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION 101st ANNUAL MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS• 44th ANNUAL WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK
tidbits of information and other minutiae from the 2015 NCHSAA Basketball Championships
• EAST vs. WEST: For 11 times in 15 years, through the 2012 finals, the Western representatives held the edge over the Eastern champions in the NCHSAA state basketball championships.
But the 2015 championships were an even four-four split for the third consecutive year.
This time, however, it was a little different in terms of the division of those games, as all four Western women’s teams won, but all four Eastern representatives won in the men’s championships.
In 2014, three of the four Eastern teams won games in Reynolds Coliseum while the West took three of four at Smith Center. In 2013, it was the East taking three of four at the Smith Center and the West holding the edge at Reynolds.
The years the East representatives have held the advantage are 2012 and 2006.
In the 2012 championships, the East took five of the eight titles. Eastern teams swept the four games at Reynolds Coliseum while the West representative took three of four at the Smith Center. Eastern teams took both the 2-A and 4-A titles for men and women, along with the 3-A men’s crown.
In the 2011 championships, the Western representative took seven of the eight title games, with only Winterville South Central breaking through with a 61-58 overtime victory at Reynolds Coliseum over Hickory for the 3-A women’s crown.
In 2010, for the second straight year, the Western representative took six of the eight title games, with Kinston in the 2-A men and Rocky Mount in the 3-A men breaking through for the East.
In 2009, the Western representative took six of the eight finals, with only Dudley in the 3-A women and Northern Guilford in the 3-A men winning out of the East, but later Northern Guilford had to vacate its title.
The West took five of the eight championship games in 2008, and the 2007 count had the West winning five of eight, but in 2006, the East representatives took six of the eight titles, with only Bishop McGuinness in the 1-A women and South Mecklenburg in the 4-A women’s games winning for the West.
Western teams took five of eight championships during the 2005 Super Saturday activities, six of eight titles in 2004 and seven of eight championships during the 2003 finals. Only Fayetteville Seventy-First, with its 4-A women’s triumph over Charlotte Zeb Vance by a 50-47 count, was able to give the East a victory in 2003.
The 2002 championships represent the only time that one side of the state has swept the other in almost 40 years using the regional format, as the Western champions captured all eight of those NCHSAA title games, four men’s games and four women’s games. In 2001, the West went 6-2, with only East Bladen in the 2-A men’s title game and Winston-Salem Carver in the 3-A women’s championship breaking through for the East. In 2000, seven of the eight championships went to Western representatives, with only Whiteville’s narrow victory over Pittsboro Northwood in the 2-A men’s final preventing a complete sweep by the West over the East.
• RECORD SETTING: Steven Santa Ana of Charlotte’s Ardrey Kell High School had a performance for the ages at the Smith Center on Saturday night. Santa Ana poured in 44 of the Knights’ 64 points in an exciting 70-64 loss to Garner. It is the men’s state championship game record, as far as can be documented going back to 1948.
The most points recorded in state tournament action (using the final eight, which is the way the tournament was conducted from 1948 until ’81, when the regional format was begun), is 48, which was scored by Lenwood Graham of Maxton against Belhaven in the 1974 1-A state quarterfinals and 48 by Cullowhee’s Michael Cottrell against Beaver Creek in the 1986 Western Regional 1-A semifinals (equivalent to the state quarterfinals). But this was the documented record for the state final.
Santa Ana also established a Smith Center championship game record with 33 points in the second half. For the game, he was 13 for 26 from the floor, including five of 13 from three-point range, hit 13 of 15 foul shots and grabbed eight rebounds.
• WEST IS STRONG HERE: the victory by Winston-Salem Prep over Riverside (Martin) by 58-31 in the state 1-A women’s final at Carmichael Arena continued a solid trend for the Western champ in that classification. The West has now won 27 of the last 29 titles in the 1-A classification for women. The only Eastern teams to break through during this time were Union in 1998 and Lakewood in 1994.
•PERFECT RECORDS: There were two schools that entered the NCHSAA state championship games with perfect records, but only one stayed unblemished after the weekend games. Hickory on the women’s side and East Lincoln among the men’s teams came in without a loss, and Hickory finished a 27-0 campaign with a 71-53 triumph over Chapel Hill in Carmichael Arena. Hickory was led by Kay Yow Most Valuable Player Danasia Witherspoon, who scored 20 points and had seven steals to lead the Red Tornadoes. Sadasia Tipps pulled down a whopping 20 rebounds for the winners.
East Lincoln went in against Kinston with a 24-0 mark, but the Mustangs fell to Kinston 60-43 despite 25 points by Sage Surratt.
Since 1987, there have been eight men’s varsity teams to go through an NCHSAA basketball season without a loss, while Hickory is the 22nd women’s squad to complete the season with a perfect record during that stretch.
• LOTS OF TITLES: Kinston added to its storied history in men’s basketball with its 11h all-time title in a whopping 21 appearances in the championship (Kinston was known officially as Grainger High prior to 1970). Kinston teams have now earned crowns in 1950, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1965, 2008, 2010 and ’12, ’13, and ’14, so the Vikings have won five times in the last six years and four in a row. It was the third straight title for Kinston coach Perry Tyndall, who assumed the Kinston reins when veteran coach Wells Gulledge resigned after the 2012 campaign.
• OTHER OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES: Brandon Ingram of Kinston had another excellent game in the Vikings’ 60-43 victory over previously unbeaten East Lincoln, winning the Charlie Adams MVP honor for the second year in a row. The highly recruited Ingram sored 28 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, blocked five shots and had two steals in leading his team to its fourth consecutive NCHSAA state basketball championship.
Ingram earned the MVP award last year with a 28-point, 16-rebound effort in the 67-57 victory over North Rowan in the 2-A title game.
Mark Gilbert poured in 31 points to earn Charlie Adams MVP honors to lead Fayetteville Terry Sanford past Gastonia Ashbrook 67-60 for the men’s 3-A championship…Jacque Brown was the MVP for East Carteret in the Mariners’ 67-64 victory over three-time defending 1-A men’s champ Winston-Salem Prep; Brown had 17 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals and teammate Ty Simmons contributed 23 points…Laken Blackburn had 15 points and nine rebounds for Wilkes Central, earning Kay Yow MVP honors, and Kailey McNeil hauled in 19 rebounds as the Lady Eagles toppled Kinston 44-41 for the 2-A women’s championship…Julius Barnes pumped in 26 points for Garner, including 14 in the fourth quarter, to earn Charlie Adams MVP honors and help the Trojans maintain the advantage, beating Ardrey Kell 70-64 for the 4-A men’s championship.
• DEFENSIVELY ORIENTED: Both Hickory and Chapel Hill came into to their NCHSAA 3-A women’s final—a rematch of last year’s championship game won by Chapel Hill—priding themselves on excellent defense. The intense defenses on both sides forced a lot of turnovers, as each team turned it over 23 times, but Hickory scored 33 of its points off turnovers to just 17 for the Tigers in its 71-53 triumph.
• TIME WARNER TELEVISION: all eight of the state championship basketball games are available to Time Warner Cable subscribers across the state on Carolina Video on Demand. They were all available on live television on the Time Warner system on their SportsChannels on Saturday.
• OTHER RANDOM NOTES: Northern Durham and Chapel Hill High Schools served as the official hosts for the championship …the Bouncing Bulldogs, the famous rope-skipping demonstration team from Durham, provided halftime entertainment for games at both the Smith Center and Carmichael Arena on Saturday and were once again well received by the crowd. The Bouncing Bulldogs, under the direction of Ray Fredrick, have become one of the highlights for fans attending the championship games and have come to the championships for the last 29 years…live statistics and live video streaming of all championship games were available on Saturday on the NCHSAA web site.