CHARLOTTE – Two area teams remain in the hunt for NCISAA basketball championships as they enter the Final Four this weekend.
The Providence Day girls return to the semifinals for the 16th straight season where they’ll be joined once again by the Charlotte Latin boys, who return to the Final Four after making a trip last season.
Here’s a look at each team.
Girls: Providence Day (22-6) vs. Cannon (17-8)
Near the Christmas holiday, the Chargers owned an 8-6 record, but that was quite misleading.
All six of the losses came to teams with more than 20 wins on the season including 4A powers Mallard Creek and Providence.
Since then, they’ve reeled off 14 consecutive wins to get what’s become an annual march to the Final Four.
The Chargers got past conference foe Country Day to get to the final, and now face another in Cannon.
Providence Day has won both games, taking a 47-44 win Jan. 14 and a more convincing 57-48 victory on Jan. 31.
Cannon junior Reigan Richardson scored 25 and 29 points, respectively, in the first two meetings, so she’ll be in the Chargers defensive game plan.
In seasons past, the Chargers have relied on just one or two scorers to carry the bulk of the load, but this team is deep and balanced.
Andi Levitz (12.3 points) and Morgan Kelson (12.2 points and 6.8 rebounds) are the two main threats for Providence Day, but they go nine deep on a nightly basis.
The girls game tips at 6 p.m. Feb. 21. The finals are at 10 a.m. Feb. 22 at Providence Day.
Boys: Charlotte Latin (21-7) vs. Durham Academy (28-4)
This is the first Charlotte Latin team to win at least 20 games in a season since the 2012-13 season, and they did so in a year shrouded in expectations.
The Hawks are a senior-heavy team that is well-coached and unselfish.
In their 71-58 win over Christ School to reach the semifinals, Graham Calton scored 20 points to go with six rebounds, Randy Johnson added 12 points and seven assists, Chase Montgomery added 11 points, Grayson Clements scored 10 and Bennett Smith just missed a double-double with nine points and 14 rebounds.
The Hawks have shown that kind of versatility all season, and they’ll need to do that again against top-seeded Durham Academy, who whopped Providence Day 70-41 to get to this point.
The Cavaliers have won 14 straight coming into this one and are loaded still after the loss of MJ Rice, a national recruit who has been out a couple months with a torn ACL.
Even without their sensational sophomore, Durham Academy still boasts Cole Sinclair (16.5 points) and Toby Harris (12 points and 5.5 rebounds). The juniors will be the focal point of the Cavs offense, but the Hawks can counter with Johnson and their waves of guys.
If there’s one potential weakness on the Cavs, it’s that they can be worn down as only seven guys are in their regular rotation.
In the team’s only meeting this season, Durham Academy won 66-56 on Dec. 6.
Rice had 24 points and 14 rebounds in that game, in which the Cavs jumped out to a 19-7 lead the Hawks could not come back from.
The two teams square off at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Providence Day. The finals will be at noon Feb. 22 at Charlotte Latin.