The first round of the NCHSAA basketball tournament just got underway on Monday with 64 first-round games, and already 10 conference champions have fallen, including a defending state finalist and the No. 1 team in the state rankings.
The most surprising results came in 1A, where Rocky Mount Prep (Battleboro)
defeated defending state finalist Goldsboro and top-ranked North Edgecombe lost to Perquimans (Hertford)
for the second straight year, but Bishop McGuinness (Kernersville)
advanced with a 9-17 record after a buzzer-beating win over North Wilkes.
The 1A bracket was also home to the only first-round game that was postponed — the contest between Topsail (Hampstead)
and Bertie (Windsor)
was stopped because of a power outage and will be resumed Tuesday at 5 p.m.STATE FINALIST LOSES TO FIRST-TIME PARTICIPANT
Talk about a grand entrance — Rocky Mount Prep (Battleboro) was making its first-ever appearance in the NCHSAA 1A tournament, according to the Rocky Mount Telegram. It fell behind 27-18 at halftime, but took the lead in the third quarter behind 10 points from Jacob Barrett
and went on to win 52-46. Jarran Reed
had 13 points and five rebounds for Goldsboro, who had won 10 in a row before losing the Carolina 1-A Conference title game in overtime on Friday.TOP-RANKED TEAM FALLS
Perquimans also got off to a slow start, scoring just six points in the first quarter and trailing by seven at the half against North Edgecombe (Tarboro), which was ranked No. 1 in the NCPreps.com/HS Media state poll. But the Pirates scored 22 points in both the third and fourth quarters and pulled out a 68-64 win.
Contributions came from everyone in the lineup for Perquimans, which defeated North Edgecombe 68-56 in the regional final last season. Mikel Harvey
scored 26 points with eight rebounds and four assists, Josh Konczal
had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and Shaleek Shellbee
had 10 rebounds and three blocks. Carlin Elliott
had 10 points, seven rebounds and five steals and Zach Winslow
was 3 of 4 from behind the arc.BUZZER-BEATER SENDS 9-17 TEAM TO SECOND ROUND
Meanwhile at North Wilkes (Hays), Reilly Callaghan made a shot at the buzzer over two defenders to give Bishop McGuinness (Kernersville) a 54-53 win.
North Wilkes had been down by as many as 13 just before halftime, but the Vikings took a 53-52 lead with 20 seconds left after a steal by Storm Clonch
led to a layup from Garth Bailey
. That set the stage for Callaghan, a junior who had 14 points, eight assists and five rebounds to go along with his first game-winner.
"I've missed that shot before," Callaghan told YadkinValleySports.com. "I've missed it a lot. I've missed it this year, actually."
Callaghan was referring to a potential 3-point attempt that could have sent a game against Winston-Salem Prep into double overtime earlier this month.
"I really feel great," Callaghan told the Web site. "All the hard work that this team has put in finally paid off."MORE UPSETS INVOLVING TOP SEEDS
Bishop McGuinness wasn't the only team with a losing record to advance. Hibriten (Lenoir)
, which reached the West regionals last season but struggled to a 6-17 record this season, advanced with a 69-61 win over Freedom (Morganton) in 3A.
Another 3A upset occurred when A.L. Brown (Kannapolis)
scored an astounding 65 points in the second half to beat top seed Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw) 94-80. Teven Jones and Derrick Copeland both made five 3-pointers as Jones finished with 36 points and Copeland had a career-high 22, according to the Salisbury Post.
In 2A the biggest upset victim was seventh-ranked Clinton, which fell to North Pitt (Bethel)
68-65 in overtime. Clinton (25-3) had won 18 in a row, a streak that started exactly two months before the North Pitt game.
Finally in 4A, A.C. Reynolds (Asheville) was denied its first state playoff win in more than 20 years as East Mecklenburg (Charlotte)
, whhich came in with a 7-17 record, defeated the Mountain Athletic Conference champions 70-62.
"We have played in a tough conference, and we knew that if we could just get out of Charlotte, we had a chance to win (in the playoffs)," East Meck coach Jason Grube told the Asheville Citizen-Times.Jerrin Morrison
scored 21 points for East Meck, who made 16 of 21 free throws and outscored A.C. Reynolds 29-16 in the fourth quarter. Joey Papay
scored 28 points for the Rockets. HIGH-SCORING RIVALRY
North Edgecombe's loss opens the door in 1A for No. 2 Cherryville
, which was the only other team to receive No. 1 votes in the state media poll. But Cherryville was denied the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A tournament title by Lincolnton
, which won the championship game 106-102 in overtime on Friday.
Cherryville had won the two previous regular-season meetings 96-92 and 106-101, making this one of the most exhilarating rivalries in the state. In fact, according to the Shelby Star, Lincolnton sold premium seating on the baseline for $12, and all 1,100 regular tickets were sold out.
Jalen Littlejohn made the go-ahead basket for Lincolnton, hitting a 3-pointer with just less than a minute remaining that made it 101-100.
Florida State-bound Terry Whisnant
, Gaston County's all-time leading career scorer, scored 43 points for Cherryville, and teammate Thomas Bess, who signed with UNC Asheville, added 33.Harold Gutmann covers the state of North Carolina for MaxPreps.com. He lives in Durham and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.