Lady Mountaineers earn first-round bye
LEDGER – The Mitchell High School girls’ basketball team will spend a lot of time on its home court during the state playoffs.
The Mountaineers ended the season ranked No. 3 in the state and earned the No. 2 seed in the West Region of the 1A state playoffs by finishing 19-7 overall and 5-5 in Western Highlands Conference play.
Mitchell downed Polk and Owen this past week in the conference tournament to reach the championship game where the team lost 60-38 to Mountain Heritage, which earned the No. 1 seed in 2A West Region.
The Mountaineers also earned a first-round bye and will await the winner of the winner of Robbinsville (19-7) and Highland School of Technology (15-8), which was played this past Tuesday. Results were not available at press time.
“We’ll have some tough opponents coming in here,” said head coach Zack McCartha. “We have to take it one game at a time.”
Mitchell hosts its first playoff opponent Thursday in Ledger.
The Mountaineers enter the playoffs with five wins in their final eight games.
“Our goal coming in was to position ourselves to stay at home in the playoffs,” McCartha said. “We’re excited about that.”
The Mountaineers will stay at home through the state regionals March 3. The state championship is played a week later.
In its final game before the playoff brackets were announced, Mitchell’s depth was tested against Mountain Heritage.
Senior center Morgan Buchanan picked up two quick fouls against the Cougars and sat out most of the first quarter. She checked back into the game in the second quarter and was called for another foul, leaving other players to play significant minutes while she sat on the bench.
In front of a raucous crowd at Madison High, freshmen Marley Cloer and Paige Johnson and sophomores Hannah McMahan and Maddie Biddix attempted a combined 11 field goals.
“It was a good experience for them to be in that type of atmosphere,” McCartha said. “We fought through some adversity.”
Boys get playoff chance
The Mitchell High School boys’ basketball team opened its state playoff schedule at North Rowan (17-8) this past Tuesday. Results were not available at press time.
The Mountaineers notched the No. 22 seed in the West after finishing 8-17 overall and 5-5 in conference action.
Mitchell lost to Avery County 57-52 in the second round of the conference tournament this past week but finished the season with four wins in its final five games.
Head coach Chad Dellinger said his team has come a long way.
“I saw a lot of them grow,” Dellinger said about his players. “When we play great defense, good things can happen.”
Dellinger added his eight seniors have been key parts of the program.
“I’ve had some of those kids for years,” he said. “They’ve always been hard workers. They’ve always given me everything they’ve got.”