NCHSAA Basketball Regionals:
Published: Mar 05, 2013 06:00 PM
Modified: Mar 05, 2013 04:56 PM
FAYETTEVILLE - The way Chapel Hill’s girls’ basketball team sees it, it has some unfinished business to take care of in Fayetteville.
Chapel Hill was one of the clear favorites when the Tigers played in the 2012 regionals. But they missed out – literally – on a chance to advance when a last-second shot rimmed out and Burlington Williams eliminated Chapel Hill with a 47-46 loss.
“That was not our best game when we were there last year,” Chapel Hill senior Laura Musalem said. “This year, we’re going to get after it.”
Seeded No. 2 out of the 3A Mideast and winner of 15 straight, Chapel Hill (28-1) will play Mideast No. 1 Northern Guilford (29-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday in Fayetteville’s Crown Coliseum. The 3A East matchup between No. 1 Eastern Wayne (28-1) and No. 3 West Craven (25-5) follows at 8:30 p.m.
The winners meet at 4 p.m. Saturday for the right to advance to the following weekend’s state championship finals.
The NCHSAA 3A championship game will be played March 16 in Reynolds Coliseum on the campus of North Carolina State University.
Northern Nash (22-2), the only team to beat Chapel Hill this year, won’t be in Fayetteville. Northern Nash fell to Rocky Mount in the NCHSAA playoffs’ second round. Rocky Mount (16-10) fell in turn to West Craven, which has now won 12 straight.
The Tigers figure they learned something last year.
“Last year was good experience for us,” Chapel Hill junior Catherine Romaine said. “We got to learn the ropes down there in Fayetteville. This year we know what to expect, and we know what we need to do to advance.”
After more than 20 games played mostly in tight gyms, the Crown Center arena can affect a team’s production, Chapel Hill coach Sherry Norris said. She noted last year that it took her Tigers — who had averaged 64 points a game in the 2012 tournament — a little while to adjust to the spacious sight lines of the Fayetteville arena.
Like her players, Norris said she thinks the experience of last year can only help the Tigers this time around.
“We were disappointed last year, but we were a young team and we’re still a young team,” she said. “Maybe that loss is why we worked so hard in the off-season to get ready for this year.
“We’ll be ready this time.”