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West takes seven of eight state basketball titles

By By The Associated Press
RALEIGH -- ''The Big Show'' lived up to his nickname Saturday.
Brandon Setzer, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound senior, had 28 points, 21 rebounds and seven blocked shots as Thomasville beat Perquimans 75-62 to win the Class 1-A N.C. High School Athletic Association men's championship at Reynolds Coliseum.
Roy Peake had 21 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for the Bulldogs (29-2), who scored the game's first 10 points and closed the season with a 20-game winning streak. It is their third 1-A title since 1998.
The win followed a victory by the Thomasville women's team, which beat Farmville Central, to give the Bulldogs a sweep of the 1-A titles.
Jerrell Foreman, also 6-6, had 22 points and 13 rebounds while battling Setzer for Perquimans (25-5). J'Sean Wilkins added 15 points for the Pirates, who were playing in their first final.
Setzer went 13-for-17 from the field with seven offensive rebounds, and was named most valuable player.
The teams were tied at 42 late in the third quarter before Thomasville took control with a 26-9 run over six minutes. Peake had eight points in the run, while Setzer added seven.
Patrick Henderson started the run with a three-point play, which was followed by a stickback from Setzer for a 47-42 lead with 2:18 left in the third. After two free throws from Wilkins, Perquimans had a chance to get closer, but Foreman's reverse dunk attempt on a breakaway rimmed out.
That turned out to be a critical miss, as Thomasville pushed the ball up and Setzer had an alley-oop slam for a 49-44 lead with 55 seconds left in the period.
The Pirates trailed 50-46 after three periods, but got no closer. Thomasville outscored Perquimans 18-5 to start the fourth quarter, as Peake got the Bulldogs going with 3-pointers from the left wing on consecutive possessions. Setzer's inside score completed the run for a 68-51 lead with 4:31 to play.
Setzer was just as important on the other end, altering plenty of shots and routinely turning rebounds into outlet passes for the Bulldogs to score on the fast break.
Perquimans shot 31 percent for the game, including a 2-for-17 effort from 3-point range.
West Rowan 72, Goldsboro 57
RALEIGH -- West Rowan won its second straight Class 3-A N.C. High School Athletic Association men's championship with a 72-57 win over Goldsboro on Saturday.
Junior Hairston led four West Rowan scorers in double-figures with 22 points. The Falcons, 31-0 this season, have won 61 straight games and three NCHSAA titles in the past six years.
The streak, even another state title, wasn't the focus of practice this week, coach Mike Gurley said.
Defense carried the Falcons particularly at the end of the first half and start of the third quarter. The Falcons led by as many as nine in the first quarter but the Cougars came back in the second quarter behind eight first-half points from point guard Brian Lane.
After Lane's 3-pointer at 2:23 of the second quarter, West Rowan's lead was down to 27-25.
The Falcons forced three turnovers on three straight possessions and scored eight of the next 10 points. Four of the points came from Jason Williams (11 points) and Phillip Williams (17 points) finished the half with a layup with 9.5 seconds to push the Falcons ahead 35-27 at the half.
Goldsboro (20-11) coach Randy Jordan agreed.
Hairston, a 6-7 forward, who finished with 11 rebounds and four blocks, sparked the Falcons' defense in the third quarter. The Cougars went the final three minutes of the third quarter without scoring.
Jason Williams jump-started a 6-0 run by the Falcons with a steal and short jumper by Darren Ramsey (12 points) putting West Rowan ahead 47-35 heading into the fourth quarter.
West Rowan's size -- three starters taller than 6-6 -- and quickness forced Goldsboro into poor shooting in the second half. The Cougars made just 11 of 33 shots.
Meanwhile, the Falcons made 14 of 27 shots (52 percent). Their lead increased to 20 at 4:39 in the fourth quarter after a Hairston free throw. ''They had too many weapons for us to handle,'' Jordan said.
No team has been able to handle West Rowan, particularly in this playoff run. The Falcons won their five playoff games by an average of 19.8 points.
Thomasville 68, Farmville Central 65
RALEIGH -- Thomasville's big-game experience showed up just in time to lift the Bulldogs to a second straight state championship.
Erin Crowder scored 21 points and hit the go-ahead jumper with 41.7 seconds left as the Bulldogs rallied to beat Farmville Central 68-65 for the Class 1-A N.C. High School Athletic Association women's championship at Reynolds Coliseum.
Thomasville (32-0) has won 43 straight games dating back to last season.
Freshman Megan Zullo had 22 points to lead the Jaguars (23-6), who led by as many as 16 in the third quarter before succumbing to the Bulldogs' fullcourt trapping defense.
Shannon Edwards added eight points and 18 rebounds for Farmville Central, which shot 7-for-23 in the second half and finished with 30 turnovers.
Crowder, who scored 19 points to earn MVP honors in last year's 1-A final, scored 16 second-half points to earn the most valuable player award again. She went 7-for-10 from the floor and 4-for-5 from behind the 3-point arc.
Thomasville had won its games by an average of 31 points per game this season, but fell behind when the Jaguars scored 23 unanswered points midway through the second quarter to take a 46-36 lead at halftime.
Trailing 54-43 to start the final period, Thomasville scored seven unanswered points, ending with Crowder's free throw to close the gap to 54-50. Zullo answered with four points, hitting a spinning layup in traffic and a layup off a turnover with 5:30 to play.
But on Farmville Central's next possession, Zullo suffered a cut on the left side of her head while battling for a loose ball. She had to leave the game with her team clinging to a six-point lead with about five minutes to play.
Farmville Central struggled with its steady freshman sidelined for the next three minutes. Shortly after Zullo re-entered the game, Crowder hit a 3-pointer from the right corner to tie it at 61 with 2:05 left.
The teams traded baskets before Crowder put the Bulldogs ahead to stay. After a scramble for a rebound, Brittany Marsh chased down a long fullcourt pass and tipped it to Crowder, who nailed a short jumper from the left wing for a 65-63 lead.
The Jaguars had one last chance to tie, but Zullo's desperation 3 went wide left as the horn sounded.
Farmville Central coach Denitra Hayes said Thomasville's experience from being in the championship game last year was the difference. The Jaguars, in their first final in 11 years, have just three seniors.
Asheville 62, Rockingham Co. 52
RALEIGH -- Tootie Smith couldn't think of a more perfect ending for Asheville in the Class 3-A N.C. High School Athletic Association Women's Championship.
The senior guard made four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 15 points to lead Asheville to a 62-52 win over Rockingham County (28-3) for the title Saturday at Reynolds Coliseum.
With Smith hitting her 3s, Asheville (29-2) was perfectly balanced. Danielle Burgin, a 6-5 center, scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and 6-2 forward Rashanda McCants added 14.
Kalen Kropa scored 12 points to lead Rockingham County, who lost in the 3-A final for the second straight year.
An 11-3 run to start the third quarter broke the game open for Asheville, which won its second state championship and first since 1987.
Smith's fourth 3-pointer at 2:29 extended Asheville's lead to 45-33.
It was Asheville's last basket of the quarter and Rockingham County scored the next 10 points. A 3-pointer by Heather Johnson (11 points) started the comeback with 1:25 left in the third quarter.
Senior guard Amanda Ballard finally stopped the drought for Asheville with her only basket, a fast-break layup at 4:30 in the fourth.
Asheville went on a 6-0 run capped by Burgin's layup at 2:44.
Asheville needed Burgin after the lead changed hands 10 times in the first 12 minutes. Rockingham County's tallest starter was 6-feet, giving Burgin and McCants room to score. She closed the second quarter with six points to pull in front 29-26 at the half.
Burgin made 6 of 12 shots and grabbed 15 rebounds. McCants, the sister of North Carolina freshman Rashad McCants, had 10 rebounds and four blocks.
With the breathing room in the fourth quarter, Asheville only needed to convert its free throws in the final two minutes for the title. Junior guard Chevell Mooney converted all six of her attempts to seal the win.
Reidsville 86, West Columbus 60
CHAPEL HILL -- Reidsville accomplished a rare sweep of North Carolina's major sports prep championships Saturday, following up its 2-AA title in football with an 86-60 win against West Columbus for the men's 2-A basketball title.
Jerome Simpson led Reidsville (23-4) with 19 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Simpson, the game's Most Valuable Player, made 9-of-12 shots from the field.
Clint Blackburn hit 3-of-5 3-point attempts while scoring 18 points. Tony Lewis had 14 points.
Aaron Yates scored 12 points for West Columbus (20-8), while Stefon Geathers had 11 and Kanard Williams 10.
Reidsville outrebounded the Vikings 44-34 and outscored them 56-32 in the paint. Reidsville sometimes substituted five players at a time, and its reserves outscored West Columbus' bench 48-22.
Parsons also coached Reidsville to a basketball championship in 1994. Blackburn came off the bench to score Reidsville's last 11 points of the first quarter. His second 3-pointer gave Reidsville a 28-11 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Rams led 51-26 at the half, helped by Blackburn's 14 points and 12 from Simpson.
West Columbus didn't get the margin below 20 points until the closing minutes.
Reidsville pounded the ball inside to get all of its fourth-quarter points either in the paint or at the line, where the Rams made 13 of 18 attempts.
Simpson was called for a technical after shoving Yates out of bounds late in the fourth quarter.
Vance 68, Lee County 61
CHAPEL HILL -- Lowen Wray scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half to help Vance rally from a 10-point halftime deficit Saturday and win the 4-A men's state championship 68-61 over Lee Senior.
V.J. Fails, headed for Charleston Southern, added 14 for Vance (27-4) and Sam Hinnant had 10.
Afrian Woodard led Lee (25-5) with 17 points, while Dejuan Smith added 12 in just 16 minutes off the bench. Todd Hendley, signed by Wake Forest, was held to 9 points despite 4-for-8 shooting.
Vance never trailed after opening the second half with a 12-0 run to take a 36-34 lead. The Cougars held Lee without a point for the first 5:39 after halftime and without a field goal for the first 6:42.
Vance made 9 of 12 free throws in the last 1:44 to fend off a Yellow Jacket rally.
Smith worked inside for 10 first-half points to help Lee to a 34-24 halftime lead. The Yellow Jackets hit 14 of their first 24 shots (58.3 percent) from the floor-- going 6-for-9 in the second quarter -- while holding Vance to 8-for-25 shooting (32 percent) in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets missed their fist five shots of the second half and turned over six other possessions.
Smith picked up his fourth foul with 12:33 left in the game and played just 4:48 after that.
Melvin Crowder hit consecutive baskets just 23 seconds apart to cap Vance's 12-0 run in the third quarter and give them a 36-34 lead with 2:25 left in the quarter.
Mitchell County 61, Red Springs 50
CHAPEL HILL -- Emily Paffrath had 13 points and 17 rebounds Saturday as Mitchell County beat Red Springs 61-50 to win the Class 2-A N.C. High School Athletic Association women's championship.
The 6-foot-2 Paffrath recorded her 10th double-double of the year as the Mountaineers (25-6) won their second state championship since 1996. Ashley Buchanan added 15 points and Bailey Norris 11 for Mitchell County, which closed the season with an 18-game winning streak.
Tiffany Troy led Red Springs (26-1) with 16 points on 7-for-22 shooting, while Tenisha McArthur had 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Red Devils outrebounded Mitchell County 51-44, taking a 24-11 edge on the offensive glass and scoring 17 second-chance points.
But Red Springs shot just 28 percent and committed 21 fouls. The Mountaineers were whistled for nine, and had clutch free throw shooting late to seal it.
Freshman Whitney Hughes, who scored nine points off the bench, made consecutive layups in the third quarter to spark the Mountaineers, who turned a 26-25 lead into a 46-38 margin going into the final quarter.
Buchanan nailed a 3-pointer 34 seconds into the fourth that pushed the lead to 11. Red Springs got no closer than seven the rest of the way.
Mitchell went 6-for-8 from the foul line in the last 1:22 to seal the win.
71st 50, Vance 47
CHAPEL HILL -- LaToya Pringle of Fayetteville 71st High School hit a game-winning jumper with 40 seconds and added two free throws to give the Falcons a 50-47 win against Charlotte Vance in the Class 2-A N.C. High School Athletic Association women's championship.
Pringle, a 6-foot-3 junior, also scored 17 points, blocked eight shots and pulled down a state-tournament record 28 rebounds.
Asheville's Rhonda Mapp, who went on to play in the WNBA, set the previous record with 23 rebounds in the 1987 Western Regional final.
Christina Camp chipped in 11 points for 71st.
Shantia Washington was the only Vance player in double digits with 13. The school opened in 1997 and was playing for its first women's basketball state championship.
Vance led 47-44 with 3:05 to play, but let 71st score six straight points to close the game.
Pringle made a put-back jumper with 40 seconds left for a 48-47 lead. Both of Vance's next two possessions ended up in Pringle's hands. She hit both free throws after being fouled with 7.6 seconds left.
Both teams shot poorly in the first two quarters as they staggered to a 20-20 halftime tie.
Pringle made just 1-of-5 in the first half before scoring 8 in the third quarter to push 71st to a 40-30 lead with 8:00 left.