Conf tourney projections

Draughn's Abby Parker (center) goes up for a shot between East Burke defenders Ashlyn Stilwell (left) and Graleigh Hildebran on Feb. 4 in Valdese. The Lady Wildcats are the only team that could start the NWFAC tournament outside Burke County next week.

All six Burke County varsity boys and girls basketball teams in the Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference could start next week’s NWFAC tournament inside the county.

Both East Burke and Patton teams have clinched top-four seeds in the eight-team league, and as such, will play first-round games at home Tuesday.

The Lady Cavaliers (20-3, 13-0) will be the NWFAC top seed for a third consecutive season and will host the loser of today’s Hibriten-West Caldwell game. The EB boys (12-11, 8-5) are locked into the No. 4 seed and will host rival Draughn (12-11, 6-7), the No. 5 seed, in the opening round.

The Lady Panthers (14-8, 10-3) will be either the No. 2 or 3 seed and stay home for round one against an opponent to be determined, which currently could be any one of five teams below them in the standings. And the PHS boys (16-6, 10-3) are the No. 3 seed and host No. 6 West Iredell.

The Lady Wildcats (10-13, 6-7) could earn a first-round home game as the No. 4 seed with a win today at home against Patton. If Draughn loses, it must hope Foard (vs. Bunker Hill today) and West Iredell (vs. East Burke late Thursday) both lose their regular-season finales in order to still be seeded fourth and open at home.

All NWFAC teams who win in the first round will be in Burke to end the week as EB again serves as host for all semifinals and finals games on Thursday and Friday.

Both regular-season champion Freedom teams (boys 21-1, 10-1; girls 22-0, 11-0) it appears will receive first-round byes in the Northwestern 3A/4A Conference tournament as the NWC is down from eight teams to seven for the first time. The NWC semifinals and finals are next Thursday and Friday, all hosted by McDowell.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Check back Saturday for more coverage as conference tournament brackets and pairings become official.

 

The News Herald sports department can be reached at sports@morganton.com.

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