Breakdowns of 3rd round playoff matchups for Lake Noman-area basketball teams


Lake Norman’s Kirsten Lewis-Williams and Aly Wadkovsky will head to the mountains to face 4A West 1-seed Watauga Saturday afternoon. /Doug Coats

Here are third-round matchups for Lake Norman-area schools, slated for Saturday, Feb. 26. The winners will advance to the regional semifinals on Tuesday, March 1.

 

4A Boys

(10) North Meck vs. (18) W-S Mount Tabor

Time: 7 p.m.

Breakdown: North Meck returned from a rare playoff road game with a win over Alexander Central. The Vikings (25-4) continue their stretch of opponents north of Interstate 40, but Saturday they will be back in the friendly confines of Leroy Holden Court. After scoring 116 in the first round, North proves it could win a slower-paced affair, with Jordan Crawford leading the way with 19 points against Alexander Central. 

Mount Tabor easily dispatched Northwest Guilford in round two after a 4-point win Tuesday night. The Spartans sit at 20-8 and were third in the Central Piedmont 4A, but are their conference’s lone remaining team. As part of tabor’s six-game winning streak, there are two overtime wins, including in the conference championship game over R.J. Reynolds – North’s first-round opponent.

A North Meck win would put them in the 4A West semifinals for the third straight year.

 

4A Girls

(8) Lake Norman High at (1) Watauga

Time: 1 p.m.

Breakdown: After a blowout win of Marvin Ridge on Thursday, Lake Norman will head up the mountain to face the top overall seed in the 4A bracket. The balanced Wildcats (23-3) ran the table in the Greater Metro 4 and are riding a 15-game winning streak. Junior guard Kirsten Lewis-Williams leads the team in most major categories, including at 15.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. But that doesn’t mean she’s a one-person show. Madison Saunders is a veteran presence in the backcourt, and center Aly Wadkovsky keeps opponents out of the paint.

Wautaga (23-3) defeated the Wildcats 49-46 in overtime back on Dec. 1. The Pioneers are unbeaten champions of the Northwestern 3A/4A and only allow 41.4 points per game; their first two playoff opponents were held under 40 points. A freshman sharpshooter, Kate Sears leads the team with 18.7 points and 4.2 assists per game, making 45 percent beyond the arc. Though Wadkovsky will be the tallest player on the court, Wautaga boasts good height across the board with four players between 5-9 and 5-11.

 

(12) North Meck at (4) Charlotte Catholic

Time: 5 p.m.

Breakdown: North Meck heads down south for the second time in three days after its second-round win at Myers Park. The Lady Vikings (24-3) got clutch performances from guards Dearia Page and Taylor Dunn to hold off bigger Mustangs team. Two years ago, they beat Myers Park in round two, but fell on the road to Northwest Guilford. Facing another conference champion in Catholic, North is battle-tested, taking out reigning state champion Chambers in the regular season.

Charlotte Catholic (26-2) is perhaps the other team in the state with the kind of height comparable to Chambers. The winners of the competitive Southwestern 4A features a sophomore frontcourt of 6-5 Bianca Thomas and 6-foot Gracynn Gough. They are the teams top two scorers and rebounders, while Thomas blocks 2.7 shots per game. North Meck doesn’t have a rotation player taller than 5-10, so the Vikings will need to rely on their quickness and shooting ability. 

 

3A Boys

(20) North Lincoln at (5) Greensboro Smith

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Breakdown: North Lincoln has reached the third round of the playoffs for the second straight year, despite losing its top two scorers from a year ago. The Knights (17-10) have been on a tear since the end of January, winning eight of their last 10 games. And in the playoffs, have won by double-digits each game on the road. In the first round, North got big games from senior Jack Waggoner and junior Conner Carson, who combined for 37.

When the Knights get to the north side of Greensboro, they’ll face a Ben L. Smith team that’s won 10 straight. The Golden Eagles feature 6-8  sophomore Richard Woods who averages nearly a double-double, and will be a challenge for North freshman big man Kellen Karr. Smith High only allows 52 points per game, but the Knights will come ready to push the pace.

 

3A Girls

(5) East Lincoln at (4) North Davidson

Time: 6 p.m.

Breakdown: The East Lincoln girls pushed their impressive winning streak to 17 games with its nail-biting second-round victory over West Rowan. Senior guard Taliyah Thomas picked a good time to have one of her best shooting games of the season, putting up a team-high 18 points. Meanwhile, Mustang forwards Madison Self and Hailey McFadden pulled down double-digit rebounds. East will hit the road for the first time since the regular season ended, since it also hosted the conference tournament. 

It’s also been several weeks since North Davidson lost a game. The Lady Black Knights won the Mid Piedmont 3A tournament after finishing second in the regular season. They also had a tight game Thursday, defeating Northwest Cabarrus 77-74. There will be no mystery who North Davidson will give the ball to. Wingate commit Emily Hege is one of the top scorers in the state at 27.8 per game, pouring in 31 – including the game-winner – in round two.

East Lincoln’s Taliyah Thomas scored a team-high 18 points on the Mustang’s second-round win. /Joseph Brymer

2A Boys

(2) Lincoln Charter vs. (7) Monroe

Time: 5 p.m.

Breakdown: Lincoln Charter is in a familiar place once again, hosting another playoff game despite many new faces and roles in the program. The Eagles (23-4) 86-53 win over Walkertown Thursday proved the move to up 2A was no sweat, and will take on a traditional power in Monroe. Senior guard Marcus Farley Jr. had a monster game Thursday, scoring a career-high 31 points. The champions of the Catawba Shores conference rely heavily on their guard play, with Elijah Burnett running the show and JJ. Moore providing scoring at all levels.

Monroe (18-6) ran the table in the Rocky River 2A/3A even in the lower of the conference’s classifications. The Red Hawks’ defense is their calling card, only allowing 45 points per game. Offensively, 6-2 senior Shalek Knotts leads the way scoring an efficient 16 points and grabs a team-high 7.5 rebounds. It will be a contrast in styles, as Lincoln Charter scores nearly 74 per contest.

 

2A Girls

(8) Lincoln Charter at (1) Randleman

Time: 2 p.m.

Breakdown: After winning its first two playoff games by double-digits, Lincoln Charter’s prize is the top team in the 2A West. The Eagles used a huge fourth quarter to pull away from T.W. Andrews Thursday, and got 20-plus points from Kallie Lusk and Lauren Horton. Coach Kim Allen’s squad is in the third round for the first time ever and after falling in the first a year ago.

Randleman (24-0) has yet to lose this season, winning by an average of 23 points. After holding their first-round opponent Burns to 17 points, the Tigers defeated Wilkes Central 64-53. They rely heavily on a pair of high-scoring juniors in 5-11 Gracyn Hall (19.2) and pint guard Elizabeth York (14.8).

 

1A Boys

(10) Christ the King at (2) Winston-Salem Prep

Time: 6 p.m.

Breakdown: Christ the King (15-12) may have technically had two home games, but both of the Crusaders’ playoff wins came away from campus. As school upgrades are under construction, they dominated Mitchell County in the first round at City Church, then eliminated conference foe Mountain Island Charter Thursday at Pine Lake Prep. Against the Raptors, Andrew Baich and Marco Tampoya each put up 17 points.

Winston-Salem Prep (23-2) is plenty familiar with lake-area teams, but it’s usually Lincoln Charter. The Phoenix have won 22 straight games, defeating their two playoff opponents by an average of 28 points. WS Prep features scorers all over the court, with five guys averaging in double-figures; freshman Yohance Carver and Areon Matthews each notching a double-double on a nightly basis. Michael Jordan also plays for their team, scoring 11.8 per game.

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