The showdown for the NCHSAA 2A boys state basketball championship will feature the Greyhounds of North Surry (27-4) making their best efforts and hopes of capturing their program’s first title since 1989 and its fifth overall.
The only team standing in their way is the Monarchs of Northside – Jacksonville who post an unblemished 29-0 overall record and earned the second overall seed in the East Regional. The teams will lock horns for the championship at 7:35 p.m. Saturday night at N.C. State University’s Reynolds Coliseum.
Along with a perfect overall record, the Monarchs also earned an undefeated season with a 10-0 mark in 2A East Central league play. The Greyhounds will enter Saturday’s meeting with Northside-Jacksonville riding a 16-game win streak. They had a 9-1 Western Piedmont Athletic Conference regular-season record, claiming the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference regular season and conference tournament titles.
The Monarchs have snatched all five playoff victories by double-digit figures, but so have the Greyhounds. North Surry also rolled through two of its playoff games having scored 94 or more points against Lincolnton, a team with just one loss coming into the game, and Draughn.
The opposition has three individuals who average double digits per game, Zach Hobbs with 19.2 points, Kenny Dye with 12.2 and Gabe Kirkendoll with 10.8. Meanwhile, the Greyhounds have four players whose averages top double-digits. The Hounds are led by Carter Phillips who owns an average of 22.8 points per game, Mason Hawks with 20.2, Kendal Tucker with 14.1 and Casey Hull with 11.7.
The Greyhounds are coming off of an 83-73 win over fourth-seeded Forest Hills at Winston-Salem’s Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum this past Saturday. There was only one quarter of play Saturday where North Surry was outscored in a quarter’s total, but that feat did not matter, as they still led after every quarter of action to seize the Western Regional Championship. Phillips held the game high with 27 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Hawks posted 19 points, three assists and a steal, along with Hull who also rendered a double-digit scoring night at 17 points.
The Monarchs have most recently defeated the NCHSAA 2A Eastern Division’s No. 1 Greene Central, by a 25-point margin. Northside owned a 15-point lead after the first quarter, but the edge was cut to only six by the half. The Monarchs posted a 37-point second half to defeat the Rams in the Eastern Regional 72-47.
The Greyhounds average 79.4 points, 25.7 rebounds, nearly 8.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game, while Northside records 78.8 points, 30.6 rebounds, 14.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
Northside High School opened its doors in August of 2001 and will contend North Surry for its first state title. The North Surry Greyhounds have claimed four titles, three at the 2A level in the years of 1963, 1966 and 1967, with the most recent championship originating in 1989 when the Hounds were 3A.
As many North Carolinians near and far may know about the historical significance of Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of North Carolina State University, the venue first opened in 1949 and just recently endured a 35 million dollar makeover. Reynolds has been a place of recognition for some familiar names such as John F. Kennedy, Lyndon. B Johnson, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, who have all made their presence felt through various campaign promotions and appearances, along with musical artists such as Elton John and The Rolling Stones for example.
Reynolds is also the permanent home to the N.C. State Athletic Hall of Fame, alongside being home to the Wolfpack’s 1974 and 1983 NCAA National Championships teams, and related Norm Sloan and Jim Valvano eras. With all its historical backing, Kevin King and his North Surry men’s program are on a mission to create their own history, and on arguably the biggest high school athletic platforms, as they are just one win shy of snapping a near 30-year Greyhound championship drought.