Action-packed local sports scene

Published 1:03 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The beginning of April featured what many argue is the greatest week in sports. It kicked off with the NCAA basketball championship game and ended with the Masters. The North Carolina versus Gonzaga title game was thrilling. Plenty of other action was packed in among all of that, too.

The sporting world didn’t slow down after that, though. NBA and NHL playoffs began shortly thereafter. Those at the professional level haven’t disappointed. To no one’s surprise, Cleveland and Golden State swept their respective first-round matchups. Some of the other contests in the first round have been quite entertaining, though.

Hockey isn’t a big attraction in this area, but the first round of the NHL playoffs proved anyone could buy into the action. Eighteen opening-round games went to overtime. Sudden-death overtime in playoff hockey is right up there with the final minute of a one-possession basketball game in terms of raw excitement.

There’s plenty going on right here in Beaufort County, too. While the professionals are already vying for championships, local high schools have the last chunk of the regular season between them and the playoffs. These last two weeks are always a rollercoaster. Many teams are putting up a last-ditch fight for a postseason bid, although most local squads already have a playoff spot locked down.

Conference championships are also up for grabs this week. Washington and North Johnston baseball — both previously undefeated in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference — kicked off their two-game set yesterday. They’ll wrap it up and one team will lock down a title tomorrow at North Johnston. Washington and North Johnston’s softball squads also have a championship up in the air.

Northside has its sights set on a league title, too. The Panthers host Bear Grass, which is a game ahead of them, in their penultimate conference game of the season today. A win in that meeting would make at least a share of the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference title Northside’s to lose.

The regular season is coming right down to the wire. There’s a lot of action to keep up with on television, but also plenty to go out and see right here in Beaufort County.