Hickory High saw its dreams of a state championship fade away on Saturday in heartbreaking fashion.
The Red Tornadoes (28-3), who marched their way into the state finals by knocking off North Iredell last Saturday in the westermn regional championship game, were upended by South Central 61-58 in overtime in the Class 3A state championship game at the Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh. The Red Tornadoes, who led for the majority of the game, owned a 41-40 lead going into the final quarter.
They were held to eight points in the period, and were outscored 12-9 in the extra session. Jada Payne, the Player of the Year in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference, led all scorers with a game-high 29 points in her final high school game. Hillary Sigmon had 15. Payne and Sigmon, who were the only players to score in double figures for the Red Tornadoes, also had eight rebounds a piece.
Janesha Ebron led South Central (28-4) with 20 points and 11 rebounds; Danielle Butts had 16 points and 11 boards; Haley McCorkle had nine points and 11 rebounds. South Central outrebounded Hickory 48-31, including a 19-5 edge on the offensive end. The two teams combined made 56 turnovers. Hickory had 27.
Payne and Sigmon will continue their basketball careers at the collegiate level next year. And ironically, they will both be playing in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Payne will be playing for LaSalle University; Sigmon will be playing for Charlotte.
STATE CHAMPIONSHIP SCOREBOARD:
AT CHAPEL HILL
THE CLASS 2A AND 4A CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES:
SALISBURY 76, EAST BLADEN 44
EAST RUTHERFORD 58, NORTHWOOD 56
SOUTHWEST GUILFORD 44, MILLBROOK 35
WEST CHARLOTTE 78,. MILLBROOK 69
THE CLASS 1A AND 3A CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES:
BISHOP McGUINNESS 57, SOUTHWEST ONSLOW 43
NORTH 64, PENDER 57
SOUTH CENTRAL 61, HICKORY 58 OT
HUNTER HUSS 63, SOUTH CENTRAL 62