In a Tuesday conference call of the executive committee of the NCHSAA board of directors decided: Basketball teams can play up to four games next week with Friday being considered the “non-school” playing date under association rules. No games can be scheduled for next Saturday because the deadline for conference

presidents to submit conference qualifiers is 6 a.m. that morning.



The NCHSAA plans to seed teams on Saturday, February 22, using a new format based on 22-game records, and the pairings will end up with, for instance, a West No. 32 opening at a West No. 1, No. 31 at No. 2 and so on. The state playoffs are scheduled to begin Monday, February 24.


The Watauga High boys are the No.1 seed among the Class 4A schools in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference; the WHS girls are a No.2 seed. There are one full set of games left to play on Friday night, plus a makeup doubleheader with the Pioneers closing out the regular season at Hickory, on Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers will celebrate Senior Night Friday at Lentz-Eggers Gym against South Caldwell.


The top tournament seeds are set, Hickory’s girls and Freedom’s boys. The conference tournament is scheduled to begin Tuesday with first-round games at the higher seeds. The semifinals and finals will be played at Freedom High School in Morganton, N.C., next Thursday and Friday, February 20-21.


As of right now, the WHS boys are currently a No.5 seed. If they win Friday night and St. Stephens, mired in a three-game losing streak, were to lose (against Foard), the Pioneers would clinch the No.5 seed. And if WHS beats Hickory on Saturday, and Patton loses to Freedom Friday night, WHS has a shot at finishing fourth (remember, they beat Patton twice during the regular season) and would play at home next Tuesday night. But if the Pioneers split their last two games, they would open the conference tournament at Patton.


But there's also one other possibility. Fred T. Foard is currently in third place. The Tigers lead Patton by one game for the No.3 seed. The teams split their two regular season meetings; if Patton beats Freedom Friday night, and Foard loses to St. Stephens, the teams would finish in a third-place tie. But Patton wins the tie-breaker and finishes third, because the Panthers beat a higher seed in Hickory (the No.2) back in December.


If does it works out that way, the Pioneers would open the conference-tournament at Foard next Tuesday night (the Tigers beat WHS twice during the regular season).


For the girls, it's pretty academic. The Pioneers, even if they win out, will finish no better than fifth. The Patton girls grabbed the No.4 seed Monday night by beating Hibriten. St. Stephens is currently in sixth place, a game behind Patton. But if the teams end up tied for fourth, the Indians would win the tie-breaker because they beat Patton twice during the regular season.


And the odds favor St. Stephens going into Friday night---the Indians close things out against Foard; the Panthers close out the regular season at Freedom.


As for WHS, the Pioneers lose all the tie-breakers. The Panthers beat WHS twice during the regular season, and WHS split its two games with St. Stephens. But the Indians would win the tie-breaker because they beat a higher seed in Patton. So, as it looks right now, WHS will play either at South Caldwell (the No.3 seed), at Patton, or at St. Stephens next Tuesday night.


Coverage of Friday's games with South Caldwell begins at 6:05 p.m. on AM 1450, WATA and It will also be Senior Night and Watauga County Humane Society Night at Lentz-Eggers Gym. Saturday's coverage from Hickory begins at 4:30 p.m. on Classic Hits 100.7 FM and






Conf. All


a-Hickory 12-0 19-0


Freedom 10-3 15-7


b-South Caldwell (4A) 9-4 16-7


Patton 7-6 11-11


Watauga 5-7 7-15


St. Stephens 6-7 11-12


Hibriten 1-12 2-18


Fred T. Foard 1-12 2-19



a—clinched conference title, No. 1 3A playoff seed.


b—clinched No. 1 4A playoff seed.







Conf. All


a-Freedom 12-1 21-1


Hickory 9-3 10-9


Fred T. Foard 8-5 13-9


Patton 7-6 13-9


b-Watauga (4A) 5-7 14-8


St. Stephens 5-8 13-10


Hibriten 4-9 8-11


S. Caldwell (4A) 1-12 2-20




a—clinched at least co-championship; No. 1 state 3A playoff seed.


b—clinched No. 1 4A playoff seed.





South Caldwell @ Watauga

St. Stephens @ Fred T. Foard

Patton @ Freedom

Hickory @ Hibriten




Watauga @ Hickory






S. Caldwell 81, Fred T. Foard 40

Freedom 65, St. Stephens 49

Patton 78, Hibriten 30,

Watauga @ Hickory, ppd.




Fred T. Foard 54, S. Caldwell 50

Freedom 72, St. Stephens 48

Patton 71, Hibriten 54

Watauga at Hickory, ppd.