A pair of rivalries highlight the final night of the high school basketball regular season this evening in Burke County.

In Morganton, Freedom will host Northwestern 3A/4A Conference foe McDowell. And in Valdese, Draughn will entertain Patton in a pair of in-county bouts in the Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference.

The Lady Patriots, having already locked up the outright league title, are seeking to cap off an undefeated run through the NWC regular season for the second straight year. The Patriot boys also already clinched the NWC title. Both teams will boast the No. 1 seeds in next week’s conference tournament, and will take the league’s No. 1 3A playoff seeds.

Entering the night in third place, the Lady Panthers have a shot to rise to second if they can win and get a Bunker Hill loss versus Foard. If that happens, Patton would be the favorite for the NWFAC’s No. 2 state playoff seed (unless Bunker Hill wins the conference tournament) and could host a playoff game for the first time in program history.

The Draughn girls would lock themselves into fourth place and a home start to the NWFAC conference tournament with a win, but also could fall to fifth and start on the road with a loss and a Foard win.

On the boys’ side, Patton is locked into third place and Draughn into fifth in the NWFAC, but the Panthers are hoping for the season sweep of the Wildcats.

In JV action beforehand, both Freedom teams and the Patton girls can clinch at least shares of league titles with wins.

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

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