Week’s end

Mar. 15, 2013 @ 04:31 PM

Tonight is a big night for two area high school basketball teams.

Chapel Hill High School is up first – facing Charlotte’s Harding University High School for the girl’s state 3-A basketball championship. Then, at 7:30, Oxford’s J. W. Webb High School is scheduled to take on Statesville for the boys’ 3-A championship.

Both games will be in N. C. State University’s Reynolds Coliseum, and both can be seen on Time Warner Cable’s Channel 520.

Each of our local teams carries special story lines into their games. For Chapel Hill, tonight will be an opportunity for Coach Sherry Norris to win her second state title with the Tigers – she last won it in 1981. And a Chapel Hill win would thwart Harding’s try for back-to-back state titles.

Webb has had a stellar season, helped by the play of McDonald’s All-American Isaiah Hicks, considered the best high-school player in the state this season. The team is gunning for Oxford’s first-ever state title.

It will be an exciting evening for fans of both teams, we’re sure. And we wish both of them the best as they try to close out their season with a title.

***

Another outstanding season came to an abrupt and unexpected end Wednesday night for the N. C. Central Unversity’s Eagles.  The team had had an outstanding regular season, winning 22 games and losing only one game against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Only one game, unfortunately, until Wednesday night. “We waited until this game to probably play our worst basketball game of the year,” Coach LeVelle Moton said.  

With its outstanding season and a legitimate shot, going into the conference tournament, of winning the title, the Eagles were in sight of a trip to the NCAA tournament.

But that’s not to be this year.

Moton had some wise words after Wednesday’s game. “We’re certainly not going to allow a three-day tournament to (detract) from what we’ve accomplished, because when you look back on it these kinds lost two (conference) games in 2013, so that’s something they can be proud of,” he said.

He’s right – and we certainly are proud of them, too.

**

Masayuki Shimoyama has come a long way to study jazz.

He’s come 6,000 miles, to be exact, leaving his home in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan, to study jazz at N. C. Central University.

His trip was hardly a straight line, and some fortuitous coincidences helped to lead him here. He discovered jazz almost by accident – listening to a jazz program on a trans-Pacific flight to Canada.

A trip to New York to study jazz didn’t work out – it was, he said, the wrong place for him. But then a relative found himself sitting next to the tour manager for saxophonist Branford Marsalis, artist in residence at NCCU.

That led eventually to Shimoyama’s coming to NCCU.

His stay here has been “far greater than I expected,” he told The Herald-Sun’s Neil Offen. “I’m so glad I came.”

His commitment and spirit of adventure have earned him this week’s Durham Grit Award.