Raleigh – Enka is the 3A state runner-up in girls’ basketball, after falling 70-42 to Pittsboro Northwood Chargers Saturday night in N.C. State’s Reynolds Coliseum.
Northwood (31-1) is the East Region’s second seed. This is the school’s first state title ever in a team sport. Enka (16-15) won five times as a 19th seed. This was the first finals appearance by a Sugar Jets squad since 1983.
The Chargers charged to an 11-0 early lead, by forcing several Enka turnovers with a ferocious full-court pressure defense. They led 46-21 at halftime, and 57-30 after three periods. In the first half they made five of eight three-pointers, had balanced scoring, took nearly twice as many shots as did Enka, and had a two-to-one rebounding edge. Northwood wins by over 30 points on average, and nearly did that in the finals.
Enka Sugar Jets head coach Kyle Reagan is proud of the playoff run, and how the team came from down 25 points and 16 points at halftime in two of their playoff upset wins. But on Saturday, a big deficit was too much to overcome this time and it ended their magical postseason.
Enka senior Bentlee Chockley scored a team-best 15 points. She averaged 20 points and eight rebounds.
Hadleigh Dill scored ten of her 12 points in the first half to pace Enka. The junior scored Enka’s first three baskets — the first past the midway point of the opening period to snap a team scoring drought. She averaged 17 points and nine rebounds. Dill will lead the Sugar Jets in 2022-23.
Other Enka starters in the title game were senior Hanna Daves, freshman Gracie Merrell, and ace defender Lasiah Fayson Jeter who is a junior.
Northwood’s leading scorer, burly senior Olivia Porter, scored 18 points to match her average.
Several locals were honored with District 12 awards for all classifications in WNC. The N.C. Basketball Coaches Association sponsors the awards separate for boys and girls within each of 12 districts statewide. Head coaches of all schools in a district are eligible to vote for the top players. Most honorees are seniors in 2021-22.
Enka Coach Reagan was female teams’ co-coach of the year — along with Smoky Mountain’s Susie Shelton.
The first team includes Enka’s Dill and North Buncombe’s Karlyn Pickens. Chockley is on the second team. The player of the year is Murphy’s Torin Rogers.
Hendersonville’s all-time scorer, Dwight Canady, is the District 12 male player of the year. He is also the MVP of the first year of the new Mountain Foothills Seven Conference. HHS went 25-4.
Canady is joined on NCBCA’s District 12 first team by teammate Keenan Wilkins, a junior, and sophomore Rakease Passmore of MAC champ A.C. Reynolds (21-5).
The second team is a Buncombe County who’s who of MAC leading scorer Chad Clark, Josh Lowe of T.C. Roberson, and the Enka (25-5) duo of Jacob Tiller and Ian Clinkscales-King. Enka’s chase Boswell and Braden Blakely of TCR made the third team.