PERFECT SLATES: There were three NCHSAA teams, two women’s squads and a men’s team, among the over 700 which began play this season which finished with unblemished records father the weekend’s NCHSAA state championship games.
Asheville (32-0), the 3-A women’s champ after beating High Point Central 72-65, and Thomasville (32-0), winner of its fourth consecutive title after rolling over Weldon 62-26, became the 12th and 13th women’s teams to finish with perfect marks since the Super Saturday concept began in 1986.
The Pisgah Black Bears from Canton completed a perfect 29-0 slate in winning the 2-A title, beating Warren County 66-41. Pisgah is the seventh unbeaten NCHSAA men’s team since 1986 and the first 2-A team to go undefeated since Wallace-Rose Hill went 31-0 back in 1998. The Pisgah victory was highlighted by a huge crowd of red-clad Pisgah supporters, one of the largest contingents to follow a team to the finals in recent years.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Both of Thomasville’s basketball teams swept to state titles on Saturday, with the unbeaten Lady Bulldogs winning their fourth consecutive NCHSAA crown and the Thomasville men beating North Johnston.
That marks the ninth time in the 34-year history of the women’s tournament that the same school has won both the men’s and women’s hoop titles in the same year. The last time it occurred was in 2003 when‹you guessed it, Thomasville‹took both 1-A titles. The last time somebody else other than Thomasville High School did it was in 1994 when Freedom High of Morganton turned the trick.
UNPRECEDENTED: Thomasville did become the first school in North Carolina High School Athletic Association history to win state football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball titles in the same school year.
WEST DOING WELL: For the sixth consecutive year, Western representatives fared well during the NCHSAA state championships. Western teams at the Smith Center and Reynolds Coliseum took five of eight championships during the 2005 Super Saturday activities. Raleigh Broughton in 4-A women, Southwest Edgecombe in the 2-A women and Greensboro Dudley in the 3-A men’s final were the Eastern representatives to win state crowns.
Western teams took 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 the 25-year history 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.
SEVEN STRAIGHT: The victory by Thomasville over North Johnston in the NCHSAA state 1-A men’s final at Reynolds Coliseum was the eighth consecutive win by the Western representative in this classification final and ninth in the last 11 outings. Roanoke is the only Eastern school to break through since 1993, when the Redskins took back-to-back crowns in 1996 and ‘97.
MULTIPLE TITLES: the four women’s championship teams have all been in the winner’s circle before. Southwest Edgecombe, Thomasville and Asheville all won their fourth state titles and Broughton got its third crown. Bandys and Hayesville are tied for the most women’s titles with six.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS: Pisgah’s Jake Robinson was named the Wendy’s Most Valuable Player in the Black Bears’ victory over Warren County for the 2-A men’s title. He poured in 23 points and grabbed 19 rebounds en route to the individual honor. The 19 rebounds in a single game is the third highest individual total for a rebounder since 1986. It’s the most in a championship men’s championship game since Brandon Setzer of Thomasville pulled down 21 two years ago.
FOUR STATE TITLES: Two Thomasville women's players have the distinction of playing in four state basketball championship games during their careers‹something very few players would ever have a shot at. Both Wudi Alford and Impris Manning have been members now of four state championship teams. Alford, with 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, was the Wendy’s MVP of the 1-A women’s title game.
MVP: Kevin Swinton of Dudley was the Wendy’s MVP in the men’s 3-A championship as the Panthers slipped past Crest 58-57. Swinton had 19 points and 15 rebounds although he had a tough night at the foul line, hitting just seven of 17 free throws.
ANOTHER CHARITY STRIPE STORY: Fayetteville Westover had highly touted North Mecklenburg on the ropes in the thrilling 68-65 overtime game won by North at the Smith Center. But Westover made just 12 of 32 foul shots, including six of 16 in the fourth quarter and the overtime period. Guard Eric Maynor was named the Outstanding Player for Westover as he had a game-high 25 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, had three steals and five assists.
OTHER RANDOM NOTES: Wendy’s and the Carolinas Ford Dealers once again served as the presenting sponsors for these championships… the Western representative has now won 16 of the last 20 men’s state 4-A championships after North Mecklenburg’s overtime win… the two sites for the championships (Smith and Reynolds) was the third time two sites have been used since 1998, when the women’s games were played at Carmichael Auditorium and the men’s games were held at the Smith Center… Tavarius Henderson had a double-double for Thomasville in the 1-A men’s final, but it was unique; he had 17 points and an amazing 10 steals as the Bulldogs forced 31 North Johnston turnovers… Weldon just couldn’t find the range against the stifling Thomasville defense in the women’s 1-A final and shot a paltry 13.2 percent from the floor for the game, just nine of 68... Southern Durham and Garner High Schools served as the official hosts for the championships.