Southeast Guilford Falcons’ Girls Basketball looking to land in Hickory and then ‘Fly from Freedom’:Destination 3-A Championship Game(Statewide Games for Saturday)

Saturday afternoon 4:30pm in Hickory, at Lenoir-Rhyne’s Shuford Gym you have #2 Southeast Guilford(29-1) facing #1 Morganton Freedom(29-0) for the NCHSAA 3-A Girls West Regional Championship….The winner will be in next week’s 3-A State Championship Game…
Game can be heard on Saturday afternoon on GreensboroSports Radio…Remember pregame at around 4:10 and game tipoff at 4:30, on GreensboroSports Radio….

**********The road to Hickory for Southeast Guilford and Morganton Freedom…..**********
3-A West Girls Round One
#1 Freedom (26-0) 81, #32 South Iredell (10-14) 32
#2 Southeast Guilford (26-1) 75, #31 A.L. Brown (10-16) 27

West Girls Round Two
#1 Freedom (27-0) 80, #17 Cox Mill (15-13) 44
#2 Southeast Guilford (27-1) 75, #15 Mount Tabor (15-12) 41

Girls West Round Three
#1 Freedom (28-0) 74, #9 Charlotte Catholic (22-6) 36
#2 Southeast Guilford (28-1) 69, #7 Central Cabarrus (23-6) 26

Girls West Round Four
#1 Freedom (29-0) 75, #5 Enka (24-5) 49
#2 Southeast Guilford (29-1) 53, #3 Cuthbertson (28-3) 50

3-A Girls West Regional Championship Game
#2 Southeast Guilford(29-1) vs. #1 Morganton Freedom(29-0)

Recent Girls 3-A State Championship Results:
2016 Carmichael Arena, Chapel Hill…Freedom 53 Northern Guilford 50
2017 Smith Center, Chapel Hill…Northern Guilford 66 Hickory Ridge 64
2018 Reynolds Coliseum, Raleigh…Northern Guilford 60 Jacksonville 52
2019 Smith Center, Chapel Hill…Southeast Guilford 55 Cuthbertson 49

++++++++++The last time I remember the Southeast Guilford girls being in Hickory for the playoffs, was back around 2001, and it was Southeast Guilford vs. Lumberton in Round Four of the playoffs, as the two 4-A teams met in the Regional Semifinal game, at Hickory High School…I was there to broadcast that game back then, and I believe current SEG head coach Rachel Clark was on that team, along with her sister Ruth Anne Clark and their dad Rodney Clark, as an assistant coach and Jim Clontz was the SEG Falcons head coach back then….SEG lost to Lumberton and the Lumberton team went on to win the Girls 4-A State Championship, and they featured a young lady, Billie McDowell, who later starred at N.C. State, for legendary coach Kay Yow…
Billie McDowell Lumberton
Three-sport (basketball, volleyball, track) star that is best known for her basketball
ability…was named the Associated Press co-Player of the Year and the North Carolina Player
of the Year in her junior season…reached the NCHSAA 4-A state championship game twice
and won once (2001), in game in which she was MVP
…went on to thrive under Kay Yow as a
four-year player for the NC State women’s squad…co-captain of Pack as senior…later
coached high school basketball.

Now Southeast Guilford is headed back to Hickory, and this time they will be playing in Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Shuford Gym….I was there back in 1996 and in 1997, with the Dudley Panthers 4-A team in ’96, and then again in ’97, with the young ladies from Page High School…Dudley won over West Forsyth in their 4-A Regional Final, while the Page girls went down versus North Forsyth, in the girls 4-A Regional finale, of 1997…

Now all of that brings us back to this….Southeast Guilford facing Morganton Freedom on Saturday/Today in that Shuford Gymnasium…..

SEG with seniors Kennedi Simmons, Shunte Bethea, and sophomores Raven Preston, Sydney Roberts and Jessica Hopkins in that starting lineup…SEG gets very good depth off of the bench from Millayna Redd, Nyree Bell, Makayla Poole and freshman McKensie Harris…Redd hit the game-winning shot vs. Cuthberton, back on Tuesday night, at Southeast Guilford High School, to give the SEG Falcons the 53-50 victory, over the Cuthbertson Cavaliers…..

Kennedi Simmons is heading to Winston-Salem State next season for college basketball and Tae Bethea is going a similar route, but her college career will take her to Averett University, in Danville, Virginia…

Simmons and Preston are good for nearly 45 points a game on most “Falcon Nights”, and that’s a strong combo right there…..Simmons is so strong you can’t take her away from the basket and she finishes all of her shots and plays, plus Raven Preston is in such good shape from playing soccer, she can run all day and a half of the night, and if you want to catch up with her, you better bring a backup plan….

Sydney Roberts has done an outstanding job of replacing her sister Kristen Roberts at the point guard spot, with Kristen Roberts now one of the key guards for the Guilford College Quakers…Sydney Roberts is not a large guard, but her size is a perfect fit for her, as she has a nice pull-up jump shot from just inside the left and right elbow on the court, and she does a super job of recognizing open space and she drives into that open space, and takes the ball to the hole with confidence….Roberts just needs a small opening and she is on her way to the basket…Since Raven Preston, Kennedi Simmons, Shunte Bethea and Jessica Hopkins all have very good ball handling skills, this takes pressure off of Roberts and she can go about her business, knowing she has help, if she needs it…

Bethea is very physical, and she can be a controlling force on the game for the SEG Falcons…Hopkins has a rebounding ability that rivals that of Raven Preston, and when you take time to consider again, that Preston, Hopkins and Roberts are all just sophomores, this group is a very strong foundation for two more years of continued SEG Falcon success, after the work for 2019-2020 is done…

We spoke some about what that SEG bench means to the Falcons’ basketball fortunes, and Nyree Bell is usually the first Falcon off of the bench, and into the game as a reserve and then Redd, Poole and Harris will usually follow suit…Against Cuthbertson, Redd saw extended duty, and like we were saying back on Tuesday night, Redd was ready…Harris, the freshman, may have the biggest upside of all of the SEG Falcon reserves, but that point will be decided as the Falcons move forward, and their future unfolds….

We like the Falcons chances on Saturday, due to the fact that the Falcons had to overcome a major hurdle in Cuthbertson, back on Tuesday night, at SEG….With the experience this team possesses, and with the clutch character that Simmons and Preston have been displaying in their leadership roles, the Falcons should prepared for Freedom….The Falcons face Freedom and “let the Force be with the Falcons”….

Morganton Freedom is led in scoring by senior captain Josie Hise, who checks in at 15.5 points per game for the Patriots…Hise is the point guard for Freedom so she must be stopped…3.5 assists per game for Hise…

Another senior for the Freedom Patriots, and another Morganton team captain, is Blaikley Crooks…Crooks is averaging 15.3 points per game and the shooting guard is hitting the boards hard, coming in with 8.3 rebounds per game…

The third team captain for the Freedom Patriots is senior Jayda Glass, who comes in at just under 10 ppg, at 9.4 points per game, plus the shooting guard rebounds well, at a 4.6 rebounds per game and she is the team-leader in assists, at 4.6 assists per contest…Glass, the former Eastern Guilford Wildcat, is also a very accurate three-point shooter…Nearly 40 points per game from these three senior members of the Morganton Freedom Patriots, and these three will be a major focus for the Falcons, on Saturday afternoon…

Got to get to work to stabilize the efforts of the “Big Three” from Freedom, Hise, Crooks and Glass….#15 Hise, #44 Crooks and #11 Glass, don’t sleep on those three seniors from Morganton, but when you go to bed on Friday night, make sure your dreams are about how to combat those three Freedom forces, for Saturday’s game at Hickory….

As John says down at Southeast Guilford High School, “Always a Falcon, and always remember your Falcon Pride”….

Game time is Saturday at 4:30pm, with a spot in next Saturday’s NCHSAA 3-A State Championship game on the line, GO FALCONS!!!!!

This game can be heard on GreensboroSports Radio….Pregame at around 4:10pm and tipoff at 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon….

Full lineup of games across the state today/Saturday:


#3 E.E. Smith (30-1) vs. #5 Jacksonville (24-3)

@ Capel Arena (FSU), Fayetteville, 2:00 p.m.



#1 North Edgecombe (27-2) vs. #6 Henderson Collegiate (25-10)

@ Minges Coliseum (ECU), Greenville, 12:00 noon


#2 Winston-Salem Prep (21-8) vs. #4 Chatham Charter (32-1)

@ Tarlton Complex (CVCC), Hickory, 4:30 p.m.



#3 Weldon (26-1) vs. #9 Bishop McGuinness (24-4)

@ Minges Coliseum (ECU), Greenville, 2:00 p.m.


#1 Murphy (29-0) vs. #2 Alleghany (27-3)/#3 Mitchell (22-5)

@ Tarlton Complex (CVCC), Hickory, 2:15 p.m.



#1 South Granville (29-0)/#4 Reidsville (26-2) vs. #3 Farmville Central (28-2)

@ Minges Coliseum (ECU), Greenville, 6:00 p.m.


#1 Forest Hills (29-0) vs. #3 Shelby (25-3)

@ Shuford Gym (LR), Hickory, 2:15 p.m.



#1 Farmville Central (24-3) vs. #3 Kinston (27-3)

@ Minges Coliseum (ECU), Greenville, 4:00 p.m.


#1 Salisbury (28-1)/#4 Forbush (28-2) vs. #3 Newton-Conover (28-2)

@ Tarlton Complex (CVCC), Hickory, 12:00 noon



#1 Westover (29-0) vs. #3 Northwood (27-2)

@ Capel Arena (FSU), Fayetteville, 6:00 p.m.


#3 Freedom (28-1) vs. #5 Hunter Huss (26-4)

@ Shuford Gym (LR), Hickory, 6:45 p.m.



#9 Lumberton (25-5) vs. #3 Pinecrest (27-3)

@ Capel Arena (FSU), Fayetteville, 12:00 noon


#1 North Mecklenburg (29-1) vs. #2 Olympic (22-6)

@ Shuford Gym (LR), Hickory, 12:00 noon



#1 Southeast Raleigh (26-1) vs. #10 Millbrook (24-6)

@ Capel Arena (FSU), Fayetteville, 4:00 p.m.


#1 Mallard Creek (27-2) vs. #7 Zebulon B. Vance (25-5)

@ Tarlton Complex (CVCC), Hickory, 6:45 p.m.