Prep basketball Round 1 matchups


Northern Nash earned the No. 2 seed in the Class 3-A playoffs which begin on Tuesday. The Knights host No. 31 Clayton Cleveland at 7 p.m. in the first round.


Sports Writer

Monday, February 19, 2018

The first round of the prep basketball playoffs begins on Tuesday, and 11 teams in the Telegram’s coverage area are competing. 

Below is a list of matchups, with a lookahead to possible second-round matchups that could materialize by Thursday.


Class 1-A

No. 1 Rocky Mount Prep (22-0) vs. Bye

The matchup: The Jaguars have played themselves into a first-round bye. RMP is the only undefeated team in the 1-A field, paced by a high-scoring offense. Of the team’s 22 games, the Jaguars have scored at least 90 points in 10 of them, including three 100-point outputs.

The number: 2 — RMP seniors Kalil Baker and Keyshawn Bryant each surpassed the 1,000 career points mark this season. Both Baker and Bryant are averaging more than 20 points per game.

Lookahead: The playoffs go through the Jaguars, who will play at home throughout the playoffs. RMP will face the winner between No. 16 Columbia or No. 17 Plymouth.

No. 19 Tarboro High (12-9) at No. 14 Roxboro Community (15-10)

The matchup: Tarboro High last advanced to the playoffs in the 2015-16 season where it lost in the opening round. The Vikings finished fourth in the Coastal Plains Conference this season, while Roxboro lost in the championship game of the North Central Athletic Conference tournament. Roxboro saw a first-round playoff exit last season as a No. 28 seed.

The number: 3 — Tarboro has three players that average double figures in points in Caleb Whitley (14.1), Shaun Lawton III (13.6) and Javiyes Massenburg (11.0).

Lookahead: Third-seeded Bayboro Pamlico County (18-5) awaits the winner. Pamlico County earned a bye after winning the Coastal Plains Conference.

No. 22 North Edgecombe (11-9) at No. 11 Northside-Pinetown (21-4)

The matchup: North Edgecombe is back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2010-11 season where it went 21-3. That was also the Warriors’ last winning season until this year. Northside-Pinetown was bounced in the first-round last year as a No. 20 seed. N-P is 4-0 against common opponents this season, while North Edgecombe is 3-2.

The number: 2 — North Edgecombe has a pair of players shooting 45 percent or better from beyond the 3-point arc. Keyshawn Epps is shooting 48 percent (41 of 86), while Marvin Tucker is shooting 45 percent (15 of 33). Epps is also the Warriors’ leading scorer at 21.2 points per game.

Lookahead: The winner will face No. 6 Research Triangle in Thursday’s second round. Research Triangle earned a first-round bye

Class 2-A

No. 22 North Pitt (14-11) at No. 11 Nash Central (15-10)

The matchup: The Eastern Plains Conference residents will play their fourth meeting of the season tonight in Nash Central’s first playoff game as a member of 2-A classification. Nash Central closed the season with a 4-1 mark, losing the last game of the season in the conference tournament to Farmville Central. North Pitt, meanwhile, has lost 3 of its final 4 games.

The number: 3 — The teams have played each other three times this month, with Nash Central winning the most recent two. North Pitt won, 71-64, on Feb. 6. Nash Central then won the next two games, 58-52 and 65-52 on Feb. 10 and Feb. 14, respectively.

Lookahead: The winner will play the winner of No. 6 Reidsville (18-5) and No. 27 East Duplin (11-11).

Class 3-A

No. 31 Clayton Cleveland (11-16) at No. 2 Northern Nash (23-1)

The matchup: Northern Nash hasn’t lost a game in more than 2 months, an overtime loss to Big East Conference foe Rocky Mount High on Dec. 15. The Knights have since won 13 consecutive games. Clayton Cleveland has won 5 of 6

The number: 21 — Northern Nash has won both season meetings with Clayton Cleveland by a combined 21 points. An early-season game saw the Knights win by 5 (67-62), before earning a blowout victory eight days later on Nov. 28, by a score of 76-60.

Lookahead: Should the Knights stay on track, a matchup against either No. 15 White Oak (19-6) and No. 18 Westover (19-4) awaits in the second round on Thursday. Northern Nash would play at home should it continue to win until the Final Four which begins on March 3.

No. 20 Greenville Conley (14-12) at No. 13 Rocky Mount High (18-5)

The matchup: Rocky Mount High had a chance at capturing the Big East Conference crown, but a three-game losing streak ended those hopes. Still, the Gryphons bounced back to finish second in the conference, and get to host a game where they are 7-2 at home. Greenville Conley’s last win streak — a four-gamer — ended on Jan. 12.

The number: 89 — That’s how many 3-pointers Rocky Mount High has made on 292 attempts this season, led by sharp-shooting Rodney Alston’s 39 makes. Alston is shooting 39 percent from long range. By comparison, Greenville Conley has made just 14 3s all season on 49 attempts.

Lookahead: The winner will face either No. 4 Durham Northern (22-3) or No. 29 Southern Wayne (7-18) in the second round. RMH could face Southern Nash down the road in the fourth round should both teams advance that far.

No. 24 Southern Nash (14-10) at No. 9 Greenville Rose (18-8)

The matchup: Southern Nash lost to Rocky Mount High in the final game of the season to finish third in the Big East Conference. Greenville Conley had a six-game winning streak snapped with a loss in the final game of the season. Both teams are 2-0 against common opponents -- both beat Wilson Hunt twice.

The number: 1,007 — That’s how many 3-point attempts Southern Nash (487) and Greenville Rose (520) have combined for this season. The Firebirds are shooting that shot at a 31-percent rate, while Rose is shooting 39 percent beyond the arc.

Lookahead: The Firebirds will be on the road throughout the playoffs, barring any major upsets. A second-round matchup would be against the winner of No. 8 Terry Sanford (20-5) and Erwin Triton (14-12).


Class 1-A

No. 21 Rocky Mount Prep (7-10) at No. 12 Vance Charter School (15-5)

The matchup: Rocky Mount Prep hits the road to play its first playoff game since the 2012-13 season. Vance Charter is in its first season with a varsity program.

The number: 5 — The Jaguars have lost their past five games. Angelic Dawson leads RMP in scoring with 18.1 points per game. Nadia Simmons is the top scorer for Vance Charter, averaging 17.4.

Lookahead: The winner advances to Thursday’s second round where it will face Roxboro Community, a No. 5 seed that earned a bye in the opening round. Roxboro Community finished the season with a 20-2 record, and won the North Central Conference with a 12-0 mark.

Class 2-A

No. 17 Nash Central (13-11) at No. 16 Bunn (19-6)

The matchup: Nash Central is looking to make another deep run, after a third-round exit a season ago. Bunn, meanwhile, is enjoying a rebound season after posting a 2-20 record last season.

The number: 4 — Nash Central is 4-0 against common opponents with Bunn. The Wildcats are 3-1. Robbi Allen leads Nash Central in all major statistical categories. Allen is averaging 19.1 points per game, 8.1 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1.1 blocks.

Lookahead: The winner will play the victor between top-seeded Kinston (25-1) and No. 32 Southern Vance (11-11). Kinston holds home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

No. 22 SouthWest Edgecombe (12-9) at No. 11 Croatan (21-4)

The matchup: SouthWest Edgecombe advanced to the third round last season. Croatan went 5-17 last season. SWE owns a winning record on the road — where it will open the playoffs — with a 6-4 mark. Coatan is 9-2 at home this season. Both teams have Cougars as the mascot.

The number: 2 — Both teams feature a player averaging a double-double. SWE’s Shayla Ellis guides the Cougars with 14.4 points per game, while pulling down 12.8 rebounds. Croatan is paced by Kelly Hagerty’s 13.9 points and 10.2 rebounds.

Lookahead: The winner will play either No. 6 Bartlett Yancey or No. 27 Whiteville. Both teams would travel to Bartlett Yancey, while both would host a second-round game against Whiteville.

Class 3-A

No. 22 Rocky Mount High (13-10) at No. 5 Wilmington New Hanover (19-7)

The matchup: Rocky Mount High finished fourth in a tough Big East Conference this season, and finished strong on a three-game winning streak. New Hanover was third in the Mideastern Conference. New Hanover advanced to the fourth round of the 4-A playoffs last season, losing to eventual state runner-up Southeast Raleigh. RMH was knocked out in the fourth round by eventual 3-A champion Northern Guilford.

The number: 457 — That’s how many more points New Hanover (1,443) has scored than RMH (986) this season. Both teams have allowed about the same amount of points: the Gryphons have allowed 957, while the Wildcats have given up 958.

Lookahead: The winner of No. 12 Southern Durham (18-7) and No. 21 Wilson Fike (17-6) awaits either team in the second round.