The Freedom High boys' basketball team closed out its season by winning the NCHSAA Class 3A state championship Saturday night at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Patriots (31-1) knocked off Wilson-Hunt 59-57 in the championship game. Ironically, FHS, the No. 2 seed West Regional never led on Saturday until it mattered most.
The Patriots trailed by 12 in the first quarter, and they fell behind by 13 points, 47-34, in the third quarter.
But Kasen Wilson ignited FHS' furious comeback with an elbow jumper with just under three seconds left to win the title. It's FHS' first ttle since 1997-98. Head coach Casey Rogers, now in his eighth year at the helm, was the starting point guard on that team that was coached by his father, Terry Rogers. Freedom's 31 wins breaks a program record set by the last championship squad 16 years ago.
A Logan drive and three-point play and Jeron Hemphill putback tied the contest with 39 seconds remaining and set up the frantic finish.
Kris Bridges (game-high 19 points, five rebounds) was named Charlie Adams championship game MVP, while Logan (11 points) was named Freedom's Most Outstanding Player of the game. Wilson had 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the field, and Gardin added 11.
CHAPEL HILL GIRLS 69, HICKORY 56
In a battle of unbeaten teams, Chapel Hill (32-0) knocked off and Hickory (29-1) 69-56 on Saturday in the Class 3A NCHSAA state title game at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Tigers built a 26-points lead and withstood a furious comeback attempt by the Red Tornadoes.
Trailing 46-20 with 5:14 left in the third quarter, the Red Tornadoes went on a 15-0 run and cut the lead down to 11. They stretched that run, and outscored Chapel Hill 23-2 on a three ball by Yazmen Hannah to close within five at 48-43.
worked tirelessly to try to make a game of it in the second half but the mountain was just too steep.
Hickory went on a 15-0 run to close the third quarter, then stretched it to 23-2 with 5:16 to play on a 3-pointer by Yazmen Hannah (16 points) narrowed the gap to five points at 48-43.
But thanks to 6-foot-2 Catherine Romaine (14 points, 10 rebounds, and a Butler University signee), the Tigers gradually pulled away. Romaine backboned a 12-2 run that gave Chapel Hill a 15-point lead at 60-45 with 2:19 left to play.
Shooting played a role Chapel Hill ended at 43.9 percent to Hickorys 38 and the Tigers won the boards 39-31 and had fewer turnovers (16) than the Red Tornadoes (24).
But Chapel Hill also had 15 steals, which is usually Hickorys game (the Red Tornadoes had four).
Sedasia Tipps led the Red Tornadoes with 17 points and nine boards.