High-SchoolNorth-Carolina: Kinston

After games on Sunday, March 11

An upset, comeback and dynasty. That's what we're left with after crowning the state champions this past weekend at the Dean Dome.

In Class 4A, defending champ West Charlotte's bid at a repeat fell short against an undersized but upstart New Hanover squad. Kadeem Allen, who transferred from Laney this year, was huge with 21 points and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter that have the Wildcats the lead for good.

In Class 3A, Hickory couldn't hold on to its early lead against Rocky Mount, which surged ahead for the title. The Gryphons were led by double-doubles from Dante Battle (20 points, 16 boards) and Terrill Hilliard (21 points, 11 rebounds).

In Class 2A, Kinston conjured up talk of a dynasty by winning its eighth title overall and third crown in the last five years. Cuthberston nearly pushed the game to overtime, but a last-second 3-pointer missed, giving the Vikings a 58-55 win.

That'll do it for the North Carolina basketball rankings in what was an eventful season. Stay tuned for NICSAA 3A champ Ravenscroft in the ESPNHS NHSI tournament starting March 31 in Maryland.

Here are the final rankings (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. New Hanover (Wilmington) 30-1 (3)
Wildcats knocked off defending 4A champ West Charlotte to win the crown behind game MVP Kadeem Allen's 21 points.

2. Ravenscroft 31-3 (2)
Ravens were selected to play in the ESPNHS NHSI tournament in Maryland on March 28-31.

3. West Charlotte 27-6 (1)
Lions couldn't repeat as 4A champs, falling to New Hanover despite getting 14 points and 21 rebounds from Kennedy Meeks.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly North Carolina hoops rankings.

North Carolina football championships preview

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
1:48
PM ET
Preseason predictions, records, past history — throw them all out the window. This weekend, it will all come down to one game in deciding who's No. 1.

4AA: Greensboro Page vs. Garner (3 p.m. Saturday) All season long, both of these teams have quietly made a case for being the state's top team. In the last two rounds, Page knocked off Butler and Mallard Creek, teams that most figured had the best shot at winning the title. Meanwhile, Garner has blown up the scoreboard and blown out opponents, putting up 40-plus points in 10 of their last 11 games while letting the backfield of Juwan Moye and Demetrius Fairley run loose. Offensive firepower isn't a problem for either team, which makes defense the X-factor. Page has used late turnovers to rally in the last two weeks, while Garner stuffed a potent Jack Britt run game in the final quarter to pull out its semifinal win.
My pick: Garner 38, Greensboro Page 35

4A: Scotland vs. Porter Ridge (7 p.m. Saturday)
Jack Britt coach Richard Bailey told me about a month before the season that Scotland was going to be really good this season. I know I said throw out the predictions, but clearly the long-time coach was dead on. Scotland has used its talented QB Kwashaun Quick, wealth of rushers and impressive skill players on defense to run the table so far this year. Porter Ridge has a formidable QB in Lee McNeil and has the ability to pull out gritty wins. The Fighting Scots have had little trouble with their playoff opponents thus far, but Porter Ridge is likely to change that.
My pick: Scotland 31, Porter Ridge 27

3AA: Crest vs. Northern Guilford (7:30 p.m.Friday)
These two tangled in last year's title game with Northern Guilford prevailing 21-20 for the crown. The Nighthawks enter as the slight favorite again, riding a 13-game win streak and a formidable RB in T.J. Logan (2,264 rushing yards, 34 touchdowns). Crest star DL Jonathan Bullard and the rest of the Chargers D will need to be at their best to slow Logan. So will the Chargers offense, which has hit its stride after changing schemes midseason and found production behind Rhaheim Ledbetter, a Florida commit who has 1,027 rushing yards and 19 scores but is actually better at DB.
My pick: Crest 21, Northern Guilford 20

3A: Havelock vs. West Rowan (11 a.m. Saturday)
West Rowan is going for its fourth straight title, but unlike in years past, Havelock enters as the juggernaut. Havelock is averaging 51.5 points per game and has put up at least 62 in three of its four playoff wins. Quarterback Garrett Rowe has played a big part, throwing for 3,208 yards and 36 touchdowns. But for as serious as those stats are, West Rowan's experience and talent on both sides of the ball grants its the tools to slow down the Rams.
My pick: Havelock 42, West Rowan 35

2AA: Kinston vs. West Stokes (3 p.m. Saturday)
The road to this point hasn't been easy for either team. Kinston has needed several cardiac comebacks to down Bunn and Reidsville by a combined five points while West Stokes used a furious fourth-quarter comeback to erase a 12-point lead and beat Shelby in the semis. West Stokes has a fiesty defense led by sack machine Tyler Bullard. but Kinston counters with several playmakers in QB C.J. Bradshaw and running back Shaheed Swinson.
My pick: West Stokes 24, Kinston 17

2A: Tarboro vs. Lincolnton (11 a.m. Saturday)
Tarboro is back in the title game for the fourth straight year in hopes of winning its third straight crown. All of you are familiar with standout tailback Todd Gurley from his ESPNHS diary and it's safe to say Lincolnton's plan will be to stop the senior. Gurley has fought through injury to top the 2,00-yard mark and power the Vikings to wins, including a late score in last week's semifinal round against South Columbus. The run game will be a concern for the Tarboro D, too, which has to find a way to thwart Lincolnton's tricky triple-option offense.
My pick: Tarboro 21, Lincolnton 18

1AA: Ayden-Grifton vs. Swain County (11 a.m. Saturday)
Ayden-Grifton pulled off the major upset last week, downing two-time defending state champ Wallace-Rose Hill, led by QB Brandon Larry (242 total yards, two score). Will this be enough to knock off a surging Swain County squad?
My pick: Ayden-Grifton 24, Swain County 21

1A: Jones County vs. Murphy (7:30 p.m. Friday)
Murphy began the year 0-3, but with a dual-threat QB that can pile up the stats in Seth Curtis (more than 3,200 total yards), the Bulldogs are back in the title game for the second straight year. Jones County, which is making its first championship-game appearance, will be looking for the upset.
My pick: Murphy 34, Jones County 25

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
Todd Gurley, a senior at Tarboro, is one of the top-rated running backs in the nation, possessing the ability to play multiple positions. As a highly sought-after recruit with offers from the likes of Auburn, UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Clemson, Gurley agreed to chronicle his senior season and recruiting experience through a weekly diary with ESPNHS.

What's up world!

It's been a busy week. I had two games this past week on Monday and Friday, but I'm thankful we got both of those wins against Northern Nash and Greene Central. Our record is now 5-1 and we play Kinston this week.

This season is so different than last year because we're a younger team. Last year, we were young, but we all grew up hanging around each other all the time. We were all like brothers and always together. I feel this year's team is coming along pretty good. We just have to get our chemistry down, but we're heading in the right direction.

I spent the weekend down in Greenville with my friends and we went to see the ECU vs. UNC game. That was my first time going to a night game and it was wild! The students had a blackout and ECU wore purple jerseys.

As some of you might've heard, I set a date for announcing my college decision. I'm planning on doing it Jan. 3 at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona. I figured it'd be cool to make my announcement on TV. [Editor's note: The game is at 6 p.m. EST on CBS Sports Network and is expected to include 100 top senior football players.] I still haven't decided which school I'm going to, so stay tuned. Also, I'm not going to be able to take my official visit to Virginia Tech this weekend, but I plan on taking more visits later on.

Now let's talk about my favorite football teams. In college, I like the LSU Tigers, even though they didn't recruit me. I still like them...but then again, I'm still a little mad they didn't recruit me. Lol. But I'm just a huge fan of Les Miles. As for NFL teams, I have two favorites. Of course, my number one is my hometown favorite, Baltimore Ravens. My second team is the Tampa Bay Bucs. I've always liked them since I was young, growing up watching guys like Keyshawn Johnson, Warrick Dunn, Warren Sapp and Mike Alstott.

Well, that's it for now. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TG1UNO; I'm still trying to get to 1,000 followers!

My top schools (in order): UNC and Georgia (tied for first), N.C. State, Auburn, Virginia Tech and Clemson.

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