02/18/08 — Area teams start title quests Tuesday

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Area teams start title quests Tuesday

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 18, 2008 2:24 PM

Nearly two months ago, the Wayne Country Day girls basketball team didn't think about reaching the Class 1-A N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association playoffs.

Mired in a 2-7 slump, the youth-laden Chargers just wanted to improve daily in practice and during games. Their hard work paid off Saturday evening in the season-ending Coastal Plains Independent Conference tournament.

Wayne Country Day battled from behind to defeat Kerr-Vance and earned the automatic bid to the state tournament. Winners of 14 consecutive games, the third-seeded Chargers (16-7 overall) entertain No. 14 seed Northeast Academy on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the tournament selection committee awarded at-large bids to the WCDS boys' team and Wayne Christian's girls. The fifth-seeded Chargers (21-7) play host to No. 12 seed Cape Fear Christian, while the 12th-seeded Eagles travel to fifth-seeded Statesville Christian.

Tri-captain Brooke Norris admitted she and her teammates nearly overlooked Kerr-Vance, a team they had soundly beaten twice during regular-season play. But the Spartans surprised the Chargers with an aggressive attitude and held the lead for three-plus quarters.

"We knew we shouldn't have been overconfident," said Norris.

The Chargers, ranked No. 2 statewide, survived long scoring droughts and 22 turnovers as they ended a two-year absence from the postseason. Wayne Country Day is winless in six playoff appearances since 2000, including an 0-2 worksheet against perennial playoff qualifier Northeast Academy.

Wayne Christian (13-7) is making its first postseason trip since 2004 and just the second overall in program history. The Eagles lost to Cape Fear Christian in the Carolina Christian Conference tournament finals.

Tournament MVP Hope Wright led Wayne Christian with 10 points and 18 rebounds.

On the boys' scene, Wayne Country Day is making its ninth consecutive postseason appearance. The Chargers have logged a 6-8 playoff record during this decade, and have claimed an opening-round win each of the past three seasons.