FAYETTEVILLE – A near triple-double by Catherine Romain and a late comeback snuck the Chapel Hill Tiger girls past West Craven for the 3A NCHSAA East Regional title and a shot at the state championship next weekend.
Romaine tallied just eight points but pulled down ten rebounds and blocked nine of the West Craven Eagles’ shots as she was named the East Regional MVP for the second time in as many years. Raziyah Farrington and Autumn West were also honored on the all-tournament team.
Romaine was cold from the floor in the first half, though, following suit with the rest of her team as the Tigers saw themselves down 29-21 after shooting just 32 percent in the first 16 minutes.
Chapel Hill tipped off the contest hot as it always does, netting a quick 6-0 run. But West Craven answered with an 11-0 run and clear control of the contest.
Out of the halftime break, both teams were sluggish in scoring taking a 35-29 margin in favor of the Eagles into the final quarter. From there, Chapel Hill went on a 9-0 in 1:19 to take the 38-35 lead.
David Fernandez’s Eagles weren’t going to give up, though. Led by Jamie Cherry—who is committed to UNC next year—West Craven used the foul game and a couple quick baskets to stay in it. With 23 points on the night, Cherry took the ball with five seconds on the clock down 46-44 and dribbled it the length of the court off the inbounds pass. She released the ball from the left wing just before time expired, but it hit off the back of the rim giving the Tigers the two-point victory.
With the win, Sherry Norris’ Tigers improved to 31-0 on the season and added the regional title to their stout 2013-2014 resume. The Eagles fell to 27-2, losing only to the Tigers this season.
The Tigers face the West Regional Champion Hickory Red Tornados, who rallied from down eight to defeat Pisgah, Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the Dean Smith Center on UNC’s campus.