Looking back: Final girls hoops Elite Eight
The recently completed high school girls basketball season proved one of the most successful on record for the Yadkin Valley area.
Bishop McGuinness won a state championship, its seventh in a row at the 1A level. Wilkes Central played for the 2A state title, falling to unbeaten Jordan-Matthews. North Surry and Mount Airy both won more than 20 games, with the Greyhounds advancing to the 2A West Regional semifinals and the Granite Bears nearly felling mighty Bishop McGuinness in an overtime contest.
Nine teams in all from the Mountain Valley 1A/2A and Northwest 1A/2A conferences advanced at least one round in the state playoffs.
Understandably, picking the top teams for our final Yadkin Valley Sports Elite Eight power rankings of the season was no easy task. Here is our best effort. If you disagree, feel free to sound off at our Facebook page (HERE).
Elite Eight – Girls
1. Wilkes Central Eagles
Final Record: 30-2
Playoffs: Lost to Jordan-Matthews in the 2A state championship game after winning the 2A West Region championship with an amazing comeback against Bandys.
Highlights: Won Mountain Valley 1A/2A Conference regular season and tournament championships … Finished unbeaten against all conference foes … Suffered only one loss in the regular season … Won five state playoff games to advance to the 2A state title game for the first time in school history.
2. Bishop McGuinness Villains
Final Record: 26-5
Playoffs: Beat Southside for the 1A state championship after surviving some tough foes in the 1A West bracket along the way.
Highlights: Finished third in the Northwest 1A/2A Conference regular season standings behind North Surry and Mount Airy … Advanced to the Northwest tournament semifinals … Beat East Surry, Mount Airy and East Wilkes from our area in the state playoffs on the way to a record-breaking seventh-straight state title … Handed North Surry its only conference loss of the regular season.
3. North Surry Greyhounds
Final Record: 28-3
Playoffs: Won three games in the 2A bracket, including topping defending 2A state champion Salisbury in the sectional championship game before falling to Bandys in the 2A West Region semifinals.
Highlights: Won the Northwest 1A/2A Conference regular season championship with a 15-1 record … Won 20+ games for the seventh straight season and advanced to a conference tournament championship game for the eighth straight year (falling to Mount Airy in the title game) … Won every non-conference game during the regular season.
4. Mount Airy Granite Bears
Final Record: 23-6
Playoffs: Beat Elkin in the opening round before falling to Bishop McGuinness in a second-round match-up that most believed should have been played during the regional rounds.
Highlights: Beat Bishop McGuinness twice during the regular season and again in the Northwest tournament … Topped North Surry for the Northwest 1A/2A tourney championship … Featured the player of the year in the Northwest 1A/2A in guard Jordan Hiatt.
5. East Wilkes Cardinals
Final Record: 18-12
Playoffs: Advanced to the third round of the 1A bracket for the third-consecutive season before falling to powerhouse Bishop McGuinness for the second year in a row.
Highlights: Finished with an 11-5 record in the Mountain Valley 1A/2A Conference, tied with North Wilkes for the lead among 1A teams in the league … beat Ashe County to advance to the MVAC tournament title game … Enjoyed the program’s sixth straight season of winning at least 17 games.
6. North Wilkes Vikings
Final Record: 15-11
Playoffs: Beat Blue Ridge by 31 points before falling to a very good Cherokee team in round two. Cherokee went on to play for the 1A West championship, falling by a few points to Bishop McGuinness.
Highlights: Engineered one of the most impressive one-year turnarounds in the state. The Vikings hadn’t won a game in more than 70 tries before snapping that streak early in the season. What followed was a remarkable 15-win season with mostly underclassmen, setting the stage for what could be an even greater turnaround in 2012-13.
7. West Stokes Wildcats
Final Record: 16-10
Playoffs: Scored 81 points in an opening round win over Forbush before falling 47-40 to defending state champion Salisbury in round two.
Highlights: Doubled the number of wins from 2010-11 … Won 10 conference games and finished as the No. 2 team on the 2A side of the conference behind North Surry … Had win streaks of seven and six games during the regular season.
8. West Wilkes Blackhawks
Final Record: 15-13
Playoffs: Won two games on the road, beating Highland Tech and Avery before falling by five points to Murphy in round three.
Highlights: Split with both North Wilkes and East Wilkes during the regular season … Finished with a winning record in the conference (9-7).