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March 15, 2014

3A State Championship Recap

Women's 3-A State Championship

Chapel Hill 69 - Hickory 56

Chapel Hill came in as certainly one of the best teams in the state and has proven it all year long; there is nothing more that they wanted to do than bring home a state title in their home city of North Carolina.

Hickory was also another team on the rise as both teams came in undefeated on the season and ranked #1 and #2 in the final NCPreps poll.

However, Chapel Hill used a huge first quarter to set the tone for the rest of the game, as they went up 23-6 after one quarter of play, something that Hickory didn't want to happen. Furthermore, it only got worse for Hickory, as they shot 23.5 percent from the floor in the first half and only hitting four field goals throughout.

Chapel Hill led 38-16 at halftime but Hickory never gave up in the game. After halftime, they were able to cut into the lead, outscoring Chapel Hill 19-8. But the damage had been done already, as they dug themselves in too big of a hole early on.

The defense had something to do with that for Chapel Hill, as Hickory only shot 38 percent from the floor and had 24 turnovers in the game, leading to 34 points for Chapel Hill.

For Chapel Hill, they had four different players in double figures, as Raziyah Farrington led the team with 22 points, while Catherine Romaine had 14 points.

For Hickory, Sadasia Tipps led the team with 17 points while Yazman Hannah also had 16 points in the game.

Men's 3-A State Championship

Freedom 59 - Hunt 57

Hunt came in as a team that many didn't have on their list early on in the season, but saw they team rise in the polls. They finished #5 in the final NCPreps poll and made their first appearance in the state championship game.

Freedom on the other hand, finished ranked #1 in the final NCPreps poll and was making their third trip to the title game.

Hunt stormed out early against Freedom in the first quarter, eventually leading by double digits when the horned sound at the end of the quarter, 22-12. But Freedom wouldn't be denied as Josh Willingham and company started to cut into the lead late in the second quarter.

The Patriots eventually outscored Hunt 17-8 in the second quarter, with the halftime score being 30-29.

Freedom hit 44 percent from behind the arc while creating 11 turnovers in the first half to get back in the game, as the Patriots used a balanced attack, having three players scoring over seven points for them. However, they struggled from the line in the first half, gong 3-of-10, a place that needed to be addressed at halftime.

Coming out of halftime, as each team outscored the other in the first and second quarter, one would expect nothing else in the third. That is exactly what Hunt did into the third quarter, as they hit their shots and Freedom struggled even more from the free throw line and the field.

Hunt eventually outscored the Wildcats 20-13 in the third quarter and head a 50-42 lead going into the final quarter.

In the fourth quarter, scoring was hard to come by but Freedom tried to claw their way back behind Chris Bridges, as Freedom eventually cut it to three points with 1:26 to go in the game.

Eventually, Freedom was able to tie the game at 57 with 30 second to go and with a game of runs, it only seemed fitting that it would come down to the final shot. Hunt had the ball but turned the ball over, giving it to Freedom for the last shot.

Kasen Wilson would make sure to end the game right then and there, as he hit the game winning jumper with two seconds to go in the game and giving Freedom, who never led in the game, a 3A State Championship.

Freedom finished with four players in double figures, led by Chris Bridges, who had 19 points in the game. For Hunt, it was Josh Willingham who led the way with 16 points in the game.

Freedom finished the game on a 17-7 run to take the win.


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