The N.C. High School Athletic Association unveiled the brackets for its boys and girls basketball regional championships, which begin Tuesday in Greenville and Winston-Salem.
From the looks of things, the Beddingfield girls caught a break in the 3-A East Regional semifinals pairings. Rather than play unbeaten South Central, the top seed from the Coastal Conference, or perennial power Greensboro Dudley, which has ended Beddingfield's season two of the past three years, the Lady Bruins get Eastern Alamance, the No. 2 seed from the Mid-State Conference.
Now, I'm not saying Eastern Alamance will be a pushover for the Lady Bruins, but the Lady Eagles (20-7) are clearly a step behind the other three teams in the regional. This situation reminds me of 2006 when Beddingfield drew No. 2 Nash Central in the regional semis and edged Dudley in the East final on the way to the state title.
The West favorite has to be Gastonia Forestview (28-0) which spent all season second in the NCPreps.com poll, looking up at top-ranked Beddingfield. If the Lady Jaguars win the West, they can look to their second-round defeat of previously unbeaten Hickory, ranked No. 3 in the final 3-A poll, as the major hurdle. Or maybe it was Forestview's sectional championship triumph against Asheville T.C. Roberson, which had won 27 of 28 games prior to Friday and was ranked fifth for much of the year.
Forestview gets No. 7 Statesville (25-2) in the West semifinal while No. 8 Concord (28-2) and Franklin (23-6) tangle in the other semifinal.
The NCHSAA has made the 3-A girls regionals the last to be played this week and Beddingfield won't take the court at J.H. Rose High School until Friday night at 8:30. The regional championships for East and West are slated for 7 p.m. Saturday.
NCHSAA basketball regional pairings