Playoffs? We’re Talking About Playoffs?
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) posted its playoff brackets on March 13 and Fuquay-Varina (N.C.) and RJ Reynolds (N.C.) earned the top seeds in the Class 4A bracket. Cape Fear (N.C.) and Mount Tabor (N.C.) earned the No. 1 and seeds in the 1A/2A/3A bracket.
Fuquay-Varina went 11-1 this season and plays No. 16 Laney (N.C.). Its only loss was to Middle Creek (N.C.) which is the No. 4 seed and plays Heritage (N.C.) in the opening round. Undefeated Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.) is the top-rated NCHSAA team on Laxnumbers and is the No. 5 seed. They face No. 12 Apex (N.C.), which went 9-2. The top half of the 4A bracket is tough with Fuquay-Varina, Cardinal Gibbons, Apex, and Middle Creek. Cardinal Gibbons and Middle Creek could meet in the second round of the playoffs. Those two programs have won two-of-the-last-three 4A titles. Cardinal Gibbons is the defending champion and has the most titles of any NCHSAA program (six).
The bottom half of the 4A bracket features Ardrey Kell (N.C.) as the No. 2 seed. If the early favorites win, Ardrey Kell could face Porter Ridge (N.C.) in the second round – a team they defeated 22-3 on Feb. 9 in their first game of the year. A potential third-round meeting with Lake Norman (N.C.) would be a rematch of their second game of the year and their only loss. Lake Norman (8-5) came out on top 18-7 in that meeting, their fifth game of the season.
MICDS (Mo.) got its start and extended its winning streak to 17 games. The Rams opened the season with an 18-5 win over Vianney (Mo.). Head Coach Andy Kay led the team to a 14-game winning streak to end 2019 and won its only two games of 2020. Crawford Bundy scored five goals and three assists in the season-opening win.
Dorman (S.C.) senior Carson Skinner moved into 2nd place in program history with a four-goal game against Wade Hampton (S.C.). Skinner’s 123 career goals put him among the program’s all-time leading scorers. The Wagner commit has 16 goals through four games this season. Charlie Guest is the program’s current leading scorer with 144 career goals. He also leads the program with 242 career points.
Sanderson (N.C.) senior Henry Black wrapped up the regular season with 87 points and, in his final game of the season, surpassed 200 career points. Black totaled eight points on six assists and two goals in a 14-13 loss to Leesville Road (N.C.) to finish with 201 career points. Black posted the best season of his career in 2021. He led the team with 87 points, dishing out 53 assists and scoring 34 goals. He averaged 7.3 points per game in the Spartans’ 12 games. Black’s final standing among the state’s all-time leading scorers is yet to be determined, but at the time of this writing, he cracked the Top 100 at No. 99. Sanderson has at least one more game in its season – a Monday meeting with Pinecrest (N.C.) in the first round of the NCHSAA playoffs.
Highland Park (Texas) downed Dallas Jesuit (Texas) in an early meeting of state powers. Thomas Mencke led Fighting Scots with four goals, including two goals in the third quarter that broke a 5-5 tie and gave Highland Park a lead they would not relinquish. Jake Jent scored three goals for Highland Park. Sam Teachout and Caiden Vlasimsky each scored three for Dallas Jesuit. Highland Park improved to 5-1 with the win and is their fourth win over a state Top 10 team this season. They defeated Westlake (Texas), Southlake (Texas), and Episcopal Dallas (Texas) earlier this season. Highland Park has a three-game winning streak against Dallas Jesuit and has won seven of the last 10 meetings.
Jon Birsner got his first win as Head Coach of Culver Academy (Ind.) with a 22-5 win over Cathedral (Ind.) on March 6. He got his second win the next day with a 19-4 victory over Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.). The Eagles posted wins over Louisville St. Xavier (Ky.) and Dallas Jesuit over the weekend. Ty English scored five goals in the win over St. Xavier. The UNC commit has 12 goals and four assists through the team’s first four games. Birsner took over the Eagles in June 2020 after former Head Coach Jon Posner moved East to take over the Lawrenceville School (N.J.) program. Birsner was previously the Head Coach at Virginia Military Institute (VMI).
Lacrosse returned to Maryland as Severn (Md.) defeated Saints Peter & Paul (Md.) 19-8 on March 12. Jacob Todd scored three goals and two assists, with Connor Layden and Trey Dring each scoring three goals and an assist in the victory. It had been 366 days since Severn had been on the field. That last game was a 19-10 win over Saints Peter & Paul on March 11, 2020. The Admirals have a five-game winning streak.
McCallie School (Tenn.) Head Coach Eamon Thornton earned his first career win with a 7-6 double-overtime win against Greater Atlanta Christian (Ga.) on March 13. Zach Chari led the team with three goals, including the game-winner. Chari scored four goals in the Blue Tornado’s first game of the year against Lassiter (Ga.). Thornton took over the McCallie School program before the 2020 season after long-time Head Coach Troy Kemp stepped down. McCallie School went 0-2 in a shortened 2020 season.
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