The Hickory High men's and women's basketball teams marched their way back to regional play Friday night. The Hickory women (28-1), who finished second in the state finals last year, defeated Waynesville-Tuscola 64-39 Friday night in the Class 3A Western Sectional championship game at Craft Gymnasium in Hickory. The Red Tornadoes, the No.1 seed in the West, will take on
R.S. Central in a Western Regional semifinal game Tuesday night at the Greensboro Coliseum. R.S.Central defeated Forestview 62-58 in the Midwest Sectional finals.
A pair of freshmen backboned the Red Tornadoes. Danasha Witherspoon and Yazmen Hannah combined for 38 points. Witherspoon finished with a game-high 22 points; Hannah had 16, Aja Hoyle poured in 19 points. The Red Tornadoes have won 19 in a row.
The Hickory men (26-3) advanced, but they survived a stiff challenge from Ashbrook in their western title game at Craft Gymnasium. The Red Tornadoes defeated Ashbrook 53-48. Zach Jarrett's three pointer with 19 seconds left put the Red Tornadoes in the winner's circle. Hickory, which made it to the Class 3A western finals last year, will meet Freedom in a Class 3A Western Regional semifinal game next Friday night. Freedom (26-2) advanced by knocking off Enka 83-49 in the Midwest Sectional finals in Morganton.
Darius Malbon led Hickory with 14 points; Jalen Byrd, who hit a huge jumper in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 46, finished with 13 points. Jarrett finished with eight points.
The Alexander Central women are in the regional semifinals after they defeated Ardrey Kell 53-47 in the Class 4A Western Sectional championship game in Taylorsville. The Cougars (21-7) had four players in double figures as they marched their way to regional play for the first time in school history. Kelsie Rhyne led the Cougars with 12 points; Marah Cockrell and Maty Setzer scored ten points apiece. The Cougars, the No.3 seed in the west, will play Myers Park in the Class 4A Western Regional semifinals Wednesday night at the Greensboro Coliseum. Myers Park (30-0) defeated Butler 75-46 Friday night in the Midwest Sectional finals.
The Alexander Central men weren't as fortunate. They lost to Charlotte Olympic, the No.1 seed in the Western Sectional, 65-51 Friday night in the Western Sectional finals. The Trojans (28-1) scored 13 consecutive points and broke the game open in the third quarter. That 13-0 run gave Olympic a commanding 48-33 lead with 20 seconds left in the third period. Nathan Birkedal led the Cougars (22-7) with 12 points.
FRIDAY NIGHT'S GAMES
ALEXANDER CENTRAL 53, ARDREY KELL 47
HICKORY 64, WAYNESVILLE-TUSCOLA 39
WILKES CENTRAL 70, PISGAH 49
EAST BURKE 62, MOUNTAIN HERITAGE 53
CHARLOTTE OLYMPIC 65, ALEXANDER CENTRAL 51
HICKORY 53, ASHBROOK 48
FREEDOM 83, ENKA 49
SHELBY 88, WEST CALDWELL 60