The Elite Eight for the NCHSAA's state playoffs are tomorrow at the higher seed around the state. Here are four match-ups that you do not want to miss.
#5 Granville Central at #1 North Edgecombe -
In this elite eight match-up, North Edgecombe (26-2) has advanced this far in the playoffs by winning every round by 15-points or more. This will be the test of the tournament for them. North Edgecombe is led by I’Jheaur Sharpe, a 6-foot-1 senior guard averaging 18 points per game. Sharpe is one of four North Edgecombe players that are averaging double-figures this season.
Granville Central is led by 2021 guard Terence Harcum, a 6-foot-1 guard averaging 26 points per game for the 22-7 Panthers. Harcum is ranked #18 in our HoopSeenNC 2021 rankings. Also leading Head Coach Mike McDaniels’ squad is 6-foot-1 junior guard Jamari Mann is averaging 20 points per game and is a career 1,000-point scorer. This is the first match-up this season between both teams.
#5 Mountain Heritage at #1 Forest Hills -
The seniors from Burnsville, North Carolina for Mountain Heritage have been playing together since they were in elementary school. Three have been on the varsity level at Mountain Heritage together for four seasons. The rest of the bunch joined on the varsity squad either during their sophomore or junior year.
This senior-laden squad has an overall record of 84-16 over the past four seasons. Senior 6-foot-9 big man Justus Shelton holds down the paint and is coming off of an 18 point and13 rebound performance over Lexington HS and their big man Alex Holt, who he held to 5 points and 4 rebounds. At the guard position, Nathan Ledford is one of the better shooters in WNC and can really get hot from outside. At the small forward position Lucas Jenkins, a 6-foot-4 senior who has an offer from Mars Hill University, is an old school type wing that uses his physical tools to score on drives to the basket and has a consistent shot. Holding everything in place is senior point guard Callin Randolph. The 5-foot-11 guard is just a guy that doesn’t make mistakes and understands where to put the ball. Don’t give him much room and he will rattle off three-or-four in a row from outside.
Forest Hills has been to the state championship game two of the past three seasons, taking all the hardware in 2017-2018. Last year they lost to Farmville Central in the finals and this year Matt Side’s has his squad at 28-0 on the year. The two leading scorers from Forest Hills are Jalen Huntley and Alec Topper.
#9 Ben L. Smith at #5 Hunter Huss -
Gastonia’s Hunter Huss High School advanced to the fourth-round knocking off Charlotte Catholic 87-78 and are 25-4 on the season behind the scoring of 6-foot-2 senior guard Tyrese McNeal averaging 14.9 points per game and 6-foot-2 senior guard Deniel Mackins at 12.4 points per game. Huss features four players that are averaging double-figures. Also averaging 11 points per game is McNeal's travel season teammate with The NC Flames, Trent Ostrander.
Smith High School advanced by knocking off #1 seed Mount Tabor High School 59-25. Head Coach Derrick Partee’s squad is led by Murray State signee Nic McMullen and his 15.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Unsigned senior wing Silas Mason is averaging 20.1 points and 7 rebounds. Mason is considered one of the top unsigned players in the state.
#3 Northwest Guilford at #2 Olympic -
This has to be one of the biggest games in the 4-A fourth-round with multiple college prospects on both teams.
Northwest Guilford knocked off Ardrey Kell and West Charlotte to make it to the fourth-round and now face another Charlotte area team away from home to advance to the regional round.
Olympic has beat Vance HS and Page HS to advance.
Northwest Guilford is led by Rutgers signee Dean Reiber, a 6-foot-9 forward and ultra-athletic guard Christian Hampton who has been on SportsCenter, ESPN, and other media outlets in recent weeks after be broke the backboard at Grimsley High School, here.
Olympic is led by VCU signee Josh Banks who has been tearing up the Charlotte area in scoring this season. Banks, a 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 24 points per game including 27 points in their third round win over Vance HS.
Junior guard Trevon Williams is averaging 16 points this season and scored 24 points against Page HS in the second-round.
Head Coach Baronton Terry has been in the position before, he led West Charlotte to a 4-A title with now assistant coach Mike Brown back in 2011.
Photo Credit: Keith McCurry/The Only Yancey County Athletic Newspaper