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Out of 11 girls and boys basketball teams from The Wilson Times readership area to make the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs, just four will have the privilege of staying home for first-round matchups.
The Beddingfield girls basketball team took a four-year hiatus from the NCHSAA 2-A playoffs, but have returned to the postseason as the 11th-seed in the NCHSAA 2-A East Region to host No. 22 Climax Providence Grove on Tuesday night.
Over at Hunt, the 10th-seeded Lady Warriors, no strangers to the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs in recent years, will also be at home to tip off another postseason.
The No. 8 seeded Warrior boys will host No. 25 C.B. Aycock afterward, while the No. 11-seeded SouthWest Edgecombe boys will remain in Pinetops as the only other team taking a familiar court.
Six other programs — the Wilson Prep boys, Southern Nash girls, SouthWest Edgecombe girls, North Johnston girls, Greene Central boys (14-11) — have earned a right into the postseason bracket, but will load the buses for the start of what will be a road trip each game for as long as those teams remain in the playoff race.
Tuesday will mark the second year a young core of Hunt boys players will start the playoff journey. A season ago, the program ended a three-year drought from postseason play only to be upended in the second round.
This time around, the 3-A Big East Conference champions enter the playoffs hosting the Golden Falcons (15-11), who saw mixed results in the regular season. Sophomore Ty’Chaun Clay enters the matchup as the Warriors’ leading scorer with 13.5 points per game, while senior teammate ShaKei Hines and sophomore Davon Jones are also averaging double-digits at 12.3 and 10.1 points, respectively.
C.B. Aycock and Hunt did not play in the regular season, but shared some common opponents and look to be comparable teams based upon how they performed against those adversaries. Hunt enters with the advantage in terms of resume, but has lost two of its last three games, including most recently to Fike, who CBA beat early in the season.
C.B. Aycock, though, didn’t end the regular season on great terms either, losing three of its last four.
If Hunt wins, it will be guaranteed another home game in the second round.
Earlier in the night, the Lady Warriors will take on familiar foe in fellow 3-A Big East member Franklinton in a third matchup on the year. In previous meetings on Feb. 10 and 11, Hunt emerged the clear victor, outscoring the Lady Red Rams by eight and 13 points, respectively, on back-to-back nights. Seniors Bria Griffith and Imani Sutton were major factors in both those games, and are poised to be key once again for the program to reach the second round for the third year in a row.
The Lady Warriors reached the third round last season for just the second time in school history.
Out of the same conference, the 25th-seeded Southern Nash girls basketball team (9-12) will travel to Union Pines (19-7) as a heavy underdog.
EPC toughness rewards
The first-round home-court advantage comes as a reward for how the Lady Bruins handled a tough 2-A Eastern Plains Conference, which sent all six girls programs into the playoffs, a rare feat.
The Bruins’ 7-3 mark landed the program behind Farmville Central, the No.1 seed in the East Region, and the toughness of the in-conference foe has Beddingfield (17-7) feeling prepped and ready for what lies ahead.
“This is a great measuring stick because I don’t think we’re going to see another team of the caliber of Farmville” Beddingfield head coach Debra Pegram said after the team’s final game before the playoffs, a loss to the Lady Jaguars in the EPC tournament title game.
The Lady Bruins have played 11 games in a row against playoff teams, and won eight of those contests. Those tests, particularly against the top seed in its region, matter to the program.
The competitiveness and toughness of the EPC has also rewarded North Johnston and SouthWest Edgecombe, two programs which were further down the totem poll.
The Lady Panthers locked in the second-to-last No. 31 seed in the East and will face a tough test at No. 2 Randelman. Meanwhile, the No. 20 Lady Cougars (16-9) will travel to No. 13 North Lenoir (20-5) for a much-more evenly matched contest against the runner-up in the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference.
Tigers DO IT for first time
In its first season playing in the NCHSAA 1-A ranks, the Wilson Prep boys basketball team has made the playoffs.
The Tigers were denied the opportunity to improve their standing before the playoffs after Weldon decided to cancel the semifinals of the 1-A Tar Roanoke Conference tournament on Friday and skipped to a championship matchup against North Edgecombe on Saturday.
Looking ahead, Wilson Prep, No. 19 in the East Region, will travel to 14th-seeded Durham Voyager Academy (22-6) to face a team of similar stature armed with a host of weapons.
Cougars comfortable at home
The SouthWest boys basketball team has been best from home this season.
The Cougars have a 10-2 record from Pinetops this season, with a loss to Tarboro and Farmville Central the only blemishes on the year. The comfort of playing from home will continue against Thomasville Ledford (15-11), which finished sixth in the 2-A Central Carolina Conference.
Team statistics for the Panthers were not available on MaxPreps.com.