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HS basketball: Tough second-round games for local teams

Step two in the state playoffs on tap tonight

Wayne Hinshaw file photo/ for the Salisbury Post … Carson junior Ellie Wilhelm (4) will help lead the Cougars into the second round of the state playoffs tonight against Asheville.

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

Second-round capsules …

Five Rowan teams made it through the first round of the state playoffs.

Both Salisbury teams advanced, both North Rowan squads advanced, and the Carson girls are still alive. The AL. Brown boys also moved on to second-round action tonight.

At home tonight are the Salisbury girls, Carson girls and North Rowan boys.

The third round is set for Saturday.

3A girls, 6 p.m.

(13) Asheville (22-4) at (4) Carson (24-3)

Asheville won 14 conference games but finished second in the Western Mountain Athletic Conference behind Enka. Carson played the fifth-place team from that league, A.C. Reynolds, in the first round.

Asheville is high-powered. Not many girls teams average 70 points per game. Asheville wiped out Weddington 92-57 in the first round

Asheville has three major scorers in freshman Evangelia Paulk (19.3 per game), Emma Smith (18.7) and Ava Yurko (14.4).

Carson is small but averages 59 points per game and holds opponents to 38. Carson’s strengths are defense, balance and 3-point shooting.

2A girls, 6 p.m.

(17) Wilkes Central (19-6) at (1) Salisbury (26-1)

The Eagles from Moravian Falls finished third behind Alleghany and Ashe County in a split 1A/2A league. They won at North Davidson by 12 in the first round.

Wilkes Central doesn’t have a huge scorer, but manages to score 53 points per game by committee. Erica Wyatt averages 11.6, while Madison German scores 9.7, and Zoe Susi averages almost 8.

Salisbury is a very young No. 1 seed, but has a good leader in senior Anayia Fulson. The Hornets rely on a defense that has held most opponents in the 30s.

1A boys, 7 p.m.

(23) North Stokes (16-10) at (7) North Rowan (21-7)

North Stokes won only three of 10 conference games, but played in a very stout league that includes Winston-Salem Prep, Mount Airy and East Surry. North Stokes tied for fourth.

The North Stokes Vikings are from Danbury. In the first round, they won 72-67 on the road at Bessemer City. Christian Shemo scored 27 points, Ben Chesnut had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Isaac Wood scored 18.

North Rowan barely survived the first round, taking a tough decision against North Stanly on a last-second shot by Denerio Robinson.

2A boys, 7 p.m.

(17) Salisbury (17-9) at (1) Forest Hills (26-0)

Forest Hills is in Marshville, not far from Wingate University. There are a lot of newer schools thriving athletically in Union County, but this is one of the ones that’s been around a long time.

The Hornets have encountered the Forest Hills Yellow Jackets frequently in the playoffs, including a close loss in a monumental struggle in the regional final two years ago.

Salisbury opened the playoffs with an impressive win at Smoky Mountain, but Forest Hills has been viewed as the West’s best 2A team all season long, so this will be a challenge for the Hornets.

Forest Hills flattened Pisgah in the first round.

Alec Topper (6-foot-5) led Forest Hills in the playoff opener with 21 points and averages 17.8 per game. Mashad Hester and Jalen Huntley are other standouts.

Zay Kesler paces the scoring for Salisbury and had 13 points in the first round to lead a balanced attack.

1A girls , 6 p.m.

(11) North Rowan (20-8) at (6) Community School of Davidson (24-4)

Community School was the conference champ for the PAC 7. North Rowan easily handled Mountain Island Charter School, the fourth-place team in that league, in the first round, but this will be tougher.

North Rowan has no shortage of motivation. The Spartans of Community School knocked out North, 56-49, in the first round last season.

Lauren Whitley (5-foot-11) is still the leader for Community School and scored 17 in Tuesday’s first-round victory. Community School allowed only 21 points in the first round.

The main difference between the Cavs of this season and last season is the addition of freshman Kamora Cannie. She was spectacular on Tuesday with 19 points and 10 assists.

3A boys. 7 p.m.

(12) A.L. Brown (18-8) at (5) Hunter Huss (23-4)

Hunter Huss, located in Gastonia, won the Big South Conference with an 11-1 record.

Huss had a 30-2 run in the first round of the playoffs, scored 34 in the second quarter and easily took care of Kings Mountain for the fourth time this season.

The Huss Huskies have four players who average double figures. Tyrese McNeal is the leading scorer, Deneil Mack led the scoring on Tuesday. Trent Ostrander (6-foot-6) has had a lot of big games in the middle. It will be a key matchup between Ostrander and A.L. Brown’s 6-foot-6 JD Glenn, who scored 22 points in a first-round win against Forestview.

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