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All NCHSAA Basketball Finals To be Played In Chapel Hill This Season

Commissioner Davis Whitfield of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association confirmed Wednesday that the eight NCHSAA basketball championship games culminating the 2014-15 season will all be played in Chapel Hill.

Four games will be played at the Smith Center and four games at Carmichael Arena, both on the campus of the University of North Carolina, all on Saturday, March 14. The 2-A and 4-A games for men and women will be played at the Smith Center while the 1-A and 3-A contests are slated fro Carmichael Arena.

2013-14: CHHS Wins 3A NCHSAA Girls’ Basketball State Title With Perfect Season

State basketball championship games have been held at the Smith Center and at Reynolds Coliseum on the North Carolina State University campus every year since 2003, with specific classifications for men and women alternating between the two sites. But major renovations scheduled for Reynolds Coliseum make it unavailable for use for state championship play.

“We look forward to contesting the 2015 NCHSAA state basketball championships on the campus of the University of North Carolina,” said Whitfield. “Since the NCHSAA moved to neutral sites for basketball championships, the Smith Center has figured prominently in that mix, with the first championship there in 1986 not long the after the Smith Center opened. Due to construction taking place at Reynolds, we have to make an adjustment and we thank UNC and its administration for its willingness to open its campus to all four classes of NCHSAA basketball.”

For a number of years, men’s games were played at the Smith Center and women’s at Carmichael Auditorium, and then for a couple of seasons all eight games were played at the Smith Center before the Raleigh-Chapel Hill rotation was developed.

Bill Walton Excited For CHHS Basketball Head Coaching Job

The Chapel Hill High boy’s basketball team is introducing a new head coach in the form of Bill Walton. No, he’s not the legendary player from UCLA and the NBA, but this Walton is a 28-year veteran of the game.

***Listen to the story***

Coach Walton, however, recalls a memorable conversation concerning his more famous namesake.

“I reached out to his folks and I said, ‘This is Coach Bill Walton.’ She was like, ‘Really? Coach Bill Walton?’ I said, ‘Really’. She said, ‘Wow. I don’t know about him going over there now. I didn’t know Coach Bill Walton was there at Grimsley.’ I said, ‘Ma’am, I’m not the seven-footer. I’ve got a tan,” Coach Walton says.

But all jokes aside, this Coach Walton is a Virginia boy who grew up in Roanoke and later attended James Madison University. It didn’t take long for Walton to make his way down to North Carolina where he took a job as assistant coach at Greensboro Grimsley in 1989.

In 1992, Walton says a firestorm broke out involving the head coach and a black student in a P.E. class. But Walton is proud of how the team responded from the incident.

“He was accused of choking and assaulting a kid in his P.E. class. He happened to be black. You can only imagine in a city like Greensboro – all the complexities of that case. It was a trying time for everybody. I got the team and community together and had a terrific season,” Coach Walton says.

That was how Walton first assumed a head coaching position. He stayed at Grimsley until 2002, spent a few years at Southwest Guilford and then wound up at Reidsville High, located in the hometown of his wife, where he went 145-72 including a 26-4 season and a run to the NCHSAA 2A East Region Finals in 2012.

For health reasons, citing tension headaches, Coach Walton says he was advised to step aside by the Reidsville principal. He reluctantly obliged, but says he is not taking any medications for the headaches.

“When you’ve been around as long as I have, you just stick with it. You tell your kids that. You finish what you start. I talked about it with my family. I didn’t want to be a distraction to the kids. So reluctantly, I stepped aside,” Coach Walton says.

Coach Walton says the Chapel Hill job was at the top of his prospect list due to the attractive community and the plethora of basketball camps and facilities located in the region known nationwide for its high level basketball at all levels.

Former Chapel Hill High head coach Lason Perkins was surprisingly let go from his interim position. It was an unpopular decision by many players and assistant coaches.

Coach Walton says he understands the situation, empathizes with Coach Perkins and his staff, but is ready to do his job.

“I have no idea what happened in the process. There was an opening. I applied, interviewed and was offered the job,” Coach Walton says.

In addition, Coach Walton says he’s been reaching out to members of the previous staff to forge friendly relationships.

When asked about the added pressures and expectations of the Chapel Hill job, Coach Walton says he relishes the opportunity ahead and thrives in those situations. In fact, he says he expects a breakout season next year.

“Looking at the roster and the people coming back, I’m looking forward to a really good year – perhaps maybe the best year they’ve had here in five or six years,” Coach Walton says.

And for Tar Heel fans, there’s another perk to having Coach Walton in town stalking the sidelines for the Tigers. He says he plays Carolina-style basketball.

“We’re a lot like Carolina. We run Carolina fast break and we try to diagonally kick the ball up just like you see them do. We do that very well. That’s something we did very well at all the schools I’ve been at. We run the Carolina secondary break – both phases of it. We come to the floor and we’re running ‘Carolina’,” Coach Walton says.

It looks like Coach Walton has come to the right place. If he ever needs any advice on running the “Carolina”, UNC Head Coach Roy Williams will be just down the street.

CHHS Seeks New Boys’ Basketball Coach

Chapel Hill High School may have a new boys’ basketball head coach by next week.

After athletic director and head coach Tod Morgan’s departure, Chapel Hill High was left without a coach and without an AD in the middle of the 2013-2014 school year.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Executive Director for Community Relations, Jeff Nash says that left the administration in need of swift action.

“When this vacancy came open, there was not much time before the start of the season, and there was no athletic director to really lead a coaching search,” Nash says. “So an interim coach was named with the intention of guiding the team through the season, and, while that was happening, a new athletic director would be hired. Upon completion of the season, there would be a more thorough search for a more permanent coach.”

Lason Perkins served as assistant coach under Morgan for four years. He was named interim head coach before the start of the ’13-’14 season. He says he was aware that the position was only an interim role and that a search was going to be conducted.

Nash says being named interim head coach didn’t have any effect on the length of the contract Perkins was given.

“In our district, all of our coaches are hired for only one season at a time,” Nash says. “They are not ongoing contracts; each year is a new contract.”

Nash says the job was posted on the district’s website as well as the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) website, and he says it received many applicants.

Perkins says he applied for the head coach position and made it to the second interview. However, he says he has been informed that he was not offered the position.

Nash says a candidate may be selected in time for the Board of Education to review the new hire by next Thursday’s board meeting.

Tigers Seek First Womens’ Soccer State Title

Chapel Hill High School soccer head coach Ron Benson says he’ll coach his final game Saturday, win or lose.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association State Championship appearance is the first in CHHS womens’ soccer program history. The Tigers enter the title game as a No. 9 seed. So far Chapel Hill has taken down No. 1 seed Cardinal GibbonsNo. 2 seed Fike, and No. 5 seed Swansboro in the Regional Final. The Championship pits CHHS against West Regional Champion and No. 6 seed Weddington.

The Tigers have only lost one game this year: a 1-0 decision to Cardinal Gibbons in the regular season.

Coach Benson joined Ron Stutts on the WCHL Friday Morning News to discuss Saturday’s matchup and the remarkable season the Tigers have already seen.

***Listen to the Interview***

If the UNC baseball team wins in the NCAA Regionals Friday, Saturday’s NCHSAA State Championship game will be broadcast live on 97.9 FM, 1360 AM, and here at 2:00 p.m. If Carolina loses Friday, Saturday’s soccer game can be heard here.

CHHS Womens’ Soccer Seeks State Title

The Chapel Hill High School girls’ soccer team appears in its first state title game in program history Saturday after defeating Fike High School of Wilson Tuesday, 2-0 in the East Regional Championship.

The Tigers have made the run through the postseason as the No. 9 seed in the East Region defeating the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 5 seeds along the way.

CHHS faces the winner of Wednesday night’s Cuthbertson/Weddington contest in the NCHSAA 3A state title game Saturday at Dail Soccer Field on the N.C. State Campus at 2:00 p.m.

Tune in Friday morning to hear from Tiger head coach, Ron Benson, live on the WCHL Morning News.


CHCCS To Place Interim PE Teacher At Seawell To Finish School Year

With the departure of veteran PE teacher, Sherry Norris, a hole will undoubtedly be left, but the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system says it’s already got a plan in motion for finding her replacement.

CHCCS Human Resources Director Arasi Adkins says a fully-licensed interim PE teacher has been hired to fill the role for the remainder of the school year, once Norris retires on April 30. When the school year comes to an end, Adkins says that position–as well as other vacancies–will be posted for the upcoming school year.

Norris is finishing her 37th as a PE teacher in the CHCCS system. She has also held the position of head coach for the volleyball and girls’ basketball teams during that time.

When a teacher retires, if he or she wants to return to a coaching duty, a period of six months away from that role must be taken, according to state rules. By retiring at the end of April, Norris has made it possible to return in time for the start of basketball season next year, but she won’t be available for the volleyball season.

Sherry Norris Wins N.C. AP Coach Of The Year

Chapel Hill’s Sherry Norris is the 2013-14 Associated Press prep basketball coach of the year for North Carolina.

In results released Thursday, Norris was the runaway winner in voting for the women’s award with 13 votes. She guided Chapel Hill to a 32-0 record and the 3-A title to go with the 4-A crown she captured at the school in 1981.

CHHS Winningest Coach To Retire From Classroom April 30

Improving Diamond Heels Begin Five-Game Homestand with Tigers

The No. 13 North Carolina baseball team, 14-5 overall and 4-2 in the ACC, will begin a five-game homestand when it faces Princeton,3-7 on the year, Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Boshamer Stadium.

The Tar Heels are beginning to get contributions from all over their offensive lineup, a welcome sign for a young Carolina club still hoping for another trip to Omaha for the College World Series.

Freshman Wood Myers is leading the Tar Heels at the plate with a .297 batting average and 12 runs. Carolina is coming off a 2-1 series win over Maryland in the Terrapins’ final season in the ACC. UNC has now won both of its two series in conference action.

The Tigers of Princeton are coming off a 2-1 series defeat against UNC-Greensboro.

HS Girls’ Basketball NCHSAA State Championship: Chapel Hill 69 – Hickory 56

The Tigers jumped out to a 23-6 lead after the first quarter of the 3A NCHSAA state championship game, but the Red Tornados never gave up and made it a game in the second half.

***Listen to the Broadcast***

Photo Gallery

Game Recap

More Postgame Thoughts From Sherry Norris

CHHS Wins 3A NCHSAA Girls’ Basketball State Title With Perfect Season

Chapel Hill capped a perfect season with a 69-56 win over Hickory in Saturday’s state 3-A girls’ basketball championship game at the Dean Smith Center.

DSC_3395Chapel Hill avenged a loss in last season’s title game vs. Charlotte-Harding and finished 32-0, while Hickory (29-1) suffered its first and only setback.

“I’m so excited,” said legendary Chapel Hill coach Sherry Norris. “This is so surreal….every coach dreams of being undefeated and winning a championship. It’s hard to describe how that feels.”

Game MVP Raziyah Farrington poured in 22 points with three rebounds and two steals in 26 minutes. She hit all three of her trey attempts and was 9 of 10 from the line in a terrific performance.

“She did a tremendous job,” Norris said of Farrington. “She played extremely well, including defensively as well.”

Catherine Romaine shoots a hook shot over the Hickory defender.

Catherine Romaine shoots a hook shot over the Hickory defender.

Catherine Romaine was a force in the middle, dropping in 14 points while hauling down 10 rebounds. Tamia Eatmon, meanwhile, was terrific at the point in netting 11 points while also drawing her coach’s praise for a stellar effort in running the offense.

The Tigers dominated most of the contest, building a 23-6 first quarter lead as Farrington netted seven of her points. She continued her blistering play early in the second with a layup and trey as Chapel Hill went ahead 28-6.

Chapel Hill went on to control the remainder of the first half, going into intermission with a 38-16 bulge. Early third quarter baskets by Romaine and Jamella Smith made it appear the Tigers were going to romp to the title as they built a 46-20 lead.

Raziyah Farrington receives the well-deserved Kay Yow Most Valuable Player award.

Raziyah Farrington receives the well-deserved Kay Yow Most Valuable Player award.

The Red Tornadoes, however, went on an impressive 20-2 run that propelled a hungry Hickory squad within 10 points of the Tigers early in the fourth. A Yazman Hannah hoop even brought Hickory within five points with just under five minutes left.

Chapel Hill showed the toughness and grit of a champion from there, bagging their second state title as Eatmon drilled key free throws and Farrington hit a layup.

Click here for the complete photo album.