Unbeaten Chapel Hill girls advance to 3-A Final Four
No. 1 Chapel Hill is a game away from another shot at a state championship.
The Tigers beat No. 4 Cameron Union Pines 64-37 in the 3-A girls’ state quarterfinals Thursday.
If the Tigers (30-0) get past No. 3 seed West Craven (27-1) on Saturday (noon, Crown Coliseum) in the state semifinals, Chapel Hill coach Sherry Norris will have an opportunity to deliver another state title at 5 p.m. March 15 at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill when the East Regional champion meets the West Regional champion — either West No. 1 seed Hickory or No. 2 Pisgah.
Norris coached Chapel Hill to a state championship in basketball in 1981.
The Tigers made it look easy on Thursday as the Lady Vikings (24-5) sank early.
Chapel Hill’s margin of victory was rather large in terms of the conventional thinking that competition is supposed to increase as teams get deeper into the postseason.
But Chapel Hill is “a real juggernaut, there’s no doubt about it,” Union Pines coach John Lewkowicz said. “If you look at, obviously, their season, they’re scoring 70 points. Their margin of victory is over 40. A lot of their games were over at halftime.”
So was this one.
Chapel Hill hit 42.9 percent of its shots in the first half and led 39-12 at halftime. The Tigers were perfect from behind the 3-point line with two long balls from Raziyah Farrington and one from Jessica Wall.
Jasmine Suitt threw in a shot for Chapel Hill and went down the court laughing with her teammates.
The Tigers were having fun.
Suitt’s basket came at the end of the third quarter and gave Chapel Hill a 48-24 lead.
That wasn’t good enough for Norris. She used the changeover time between quarters to fuss at her girls about playing better zone defense.
“We got outscored 12-9 in the third quarter,” Norris said. “Our goal is to score 20 points every quarter, and we didn’t come close to that. We weren’t even in double figures, and that’s just unacceptable. I didn’t think they were giving the defensive effort that they needed to and playing with that intensity.”
Even before the game, the Tigers were plucking the nerves of Norris, a feisty grandmother.
“They got on my very last nerve getting ready,” Norris said.
Chapel Hill was late getting to Crown Coliseum and had 40 minutes to get dressed instead of what’s normally an hour, Norris said.
Norris wanted to give her players extra time to get up shots before the game started so they could adjust to the baskets at Crown Coliseum.
The goals at most high schools have a wall directly behind them, but they’re not like that at Crown. Norris was worried about that creating a depth perception and throwing off her players’ shots.
“They were having Kodak moments and getting ready,” Norris said. “So the pre-game talk was not that great (last night). It wasn’t pleasant — that’s right, that’s a good word, not pleasant, because I didn’t feel like they were ready. But that’s just the way they are. They’re just really laid back, and it comes to ’em in their time.”
CHAPEL HILL 64, UNION PINES 37
NCHSAA 3-A East Semifinal
Union Pines 6 6 12 13 — 37
Chapel Hill 20 19 9 16 — 64
UNION PINES — Tiffany Hicks 6, Lexie Coxe 2, Rachel Breassaeale 2, Courtney Evans2, Samantha Ring 2, Nyona Shields 18, Nia Mosely 2, Stephanie Johnson 3.
CHAPEL HILL — Tamia Eatmon 6, Autumn West 13, Jessica Wall 3, Raziyah Farrington 16, Catherine Romaine 14, Jamella Smith 8, Jasmine Suitt 4.
3-point FG — UP 3-13 (Shields 3-6); CH 3-5 (Farrington 2-2, Wall 1-2). Rebounds — UP 38 (Hicks 9, Johnson 8); CH 44 (West 13, Smith 10). Assists — UP 7 (Ring 2); CH 17 (Smith 4, Eatmon 4, West 3, Farrington 3). Steals — UP 2 (Shields, Mosely); CH 8 (Smith 3, West 2). Blocks — UP 1 (Hicks); CH 2 (Romaine 2). FG pct. — UP 14-52 (.269); CH 26-65 (.400). FT pct. — UP 6-12 (.500); CH 9-12 (.750). Turnovers — UP 19 (Johnson 3, Hicks 3, Coxe 3, Breassaeale 3); CH 11 (West 3, Farrington 3).
Records — Union Pines 24-5, Chapel Hill 30-0.