HUNTERSVILLE – There wasn’t much suspense for lake-area teams in the first round of the high school basketball state playoffs.
Of the 10 games involving local teams, the average margin of victory was 19.3 points. The higher seeds, as expected, won easily (Lake Norman Charter girls and Hough boys). But lopsided games were rampant, with the closest margin being eight points – North Mecklenburg’s boys and Hopewell’s girls.
Second round playoffs were scheduled for Feb. 26. Here’s a glimpse at teams remaining in contention for a state championship:
• Lake Norman Charter girls (2A) – The top-seeded Knights crushed Gastonia Huss 93-45 in the first round to improve to 25-1. They’ve got playoff experience, depth and enough talent to make a deep playoff run. Two college recruits – Ezinne Mbamalu and Alex Busch – are the building blocks, and freshman Hannah Gaskins scored 24 points in the first round. They’ll host Lexington in the second round.
• Hopewell girls (4A) – The Titans (23-4), a No. 7 seed, beat Concord Robinson 52-44 in the first round. Hopewell is on an eight-game winning streak. Its win set up a second-round home match against Greensboro Dudley.
• North Mecklenburg boys (4A) – The Vikings parlayed momentum from winning the MECKA 4A conference tournament into a 73-65 first-round playoff win against Myers Park. North Meck (23-4) will play at Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor in the second round.
• Hough boys (4A) – The Huskies (22-5) dominated an 88-55 victory against Greensboro Grimsley in the opening round. Center Tucker Thompson and forward Luke Maye are a potent combination inside.
• Hough girls (4A) – They didn’t win the conference regular season or tournament titles, but the Huskies (19-7) will benefit from playing in the ultra-competitive MECKA 4A conference. Hough opened with a 65-53 win against Winston-Salem Reynolds. Kelsey Dean scored 24 points.
• Lake Norman Charter boys (2A) – The Knights, a No. 25 seed, pulled a huge upset by beating No. 8 Owen 87-69 on the road in the first round. Lake Norman Charter improved to 14-12 and is playing with plenty of confidence.
• Davidson Day girls – The surprise team of the playoffs advanced to the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 2A title game as a seventh seed. The Patriots beat St. David’s 55-33, then eliminated second seed Asheville Christian (56-46) and third seed Northside Christian (51-49). Davidson Day (16-7) lost in the championship game to Carolina Day, which won its fourth straight state title.
• North Mecklenburg girls (4A) – The Vikings were eliminated in a 77-61 loss at Skyland Roberson in the first round. North Meck finished 17-11.
• Davidson Day boys – The Patriots beat Fayetteville Christian 57-49 in the first round of the NCISAA 2A playoffs, then lost 49-38 to Asheville Christian in the second round. Davidson Day finished 15-9.
• SouthLake Christian boys – The Eagles finished 17-8, but lost 55-45 to Arden Christ School in the first round of the NCISAA 3A playoffs.
• SouthLake Christian girls – They were overmatched in a 74-56 loss to Concord Cannon in the first round of the NCISAA 3A playoffs. SouthLake finished 14-10.
• Community School of Davidson girls (1A) – The Spartans made a quick exit with a 66-40 first-round loss on the road against Hayesville. CSD finished 9-13.
• Community School of Davidson boys (1A) – It wasn’t a pleasant mountain trip for the Spartans, who lost 65-48 at Alleghany in the first round. CSD finished 9-15.