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Duke softball on to Super Regional

On the way to first.

Who really thought Duke softball would advance to a Super Regional in the fifth year of fielding a team? The Blue Devils (44-9) came from behind to beat the Bulldogs (43-18) in the NCAA Softball Durham Regional on Sunday. The Bulldogs won game one 5-3 to force the elimination game.

Field view through the pines surrounding the Duke Softball Stadium

Georgia got off to a fast start scoring two times in the first inning, then scored three more runs in the second inning. Duke only scored once in the first inning but provided all of the offense after the third inning to earn a 13-5 win. The Blue Devils move on to face UCLA in the Los Angeles Super Regional on Friday and Saturday. Games will be televised on ESPN2.

Safe at 2nd.

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Two for two – roster smoke clearing in Chapel Hill

Roster smoke starting to clear in Chapel Hill.

North Carolina’s basketball appears to be in a good hands! Playing for the national championship can change a team’s outlook in a positive way. So can the current transfer rules which allow players to transfer one time without having to sit out a year. Even after a successful season, most D-1 teams can expect player movement. UNC is not exempt. I expected at least three and possibly four Tar Heel players to transfer. Dawson Garcia has already announced his intention to transfer after one season in Chapel Hill. The record will show that the team played better after Garcia’s concussion then return home to attend to family concerns. Don’t count that as a negative for Garcia. Things just did not work out as expected. The shortened line up was challenging but gave Brady Manek the opportunity to display his full capabilities.

Anthony Harris is also on the move after overcoming multiple injuries. Harris was playing more consistently and offering valuable time as a backup before his season ended after the fall academic period. No clarification was given as to why Harris was “unavailable” after Christmas. If Harris can remain injury-free, he may be a valuable contributor at his next stop. Check back for updates on who moves on and who returns to help UNC make the run to San Antonio in 2023.

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One up forever – UNC over Duke in Final Four classic

North Carolina topped Duke 81-77 to close out the career of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewsky at the Final Four in New Orleans on Saturday.

Theo John. Up and rim over Caleb Love.
Paolo Banchero jams again.
Public service announcement for game day nutrition.
Caleb Love shoots over AJ Griffin.

On to the rest of the action

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Final Four – Villanova-Kansas

Kansas leads throughout in 81-65 win over Villanova. Next up is North Carolina.

David McCormack was dominant on the inside for Kanas against Villanova

Game shots

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Final Four: Sunday

The Final Four can be exhausting. Sunday between the semi’s and final is a great time to see surrounding areas, and maybe dream. Heading west on interstate 10 from New Orleans for about one hour brings you to exit 157B in Baton Rouge which runs into South Acadian Thruway on to Stanford Ave where a slight right turn puts you on a winding 20 mph stretch of West Lakeshore Dr, before coming to West Stadium Rd and the home of Louisiana State University football.

LSU Tiger roams outside stadium.

Remembering Rome

The grand Tiger Stadium is a massive structure and centerpiece of the LSU athletic program. Though usually filled on Saturday’s during the fall football season, I was unable to find anyone to get inside, and all of the ramps were closed with “warnings” posted. No jumping the fence on this day, but it’s okay to dream about being in this stadium on gameday.

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Kinfolk at Final Four tailgate

Some of the fun at the Final Four happens before the games! Take a little time to explore the city and enjoy the fun.

Let’s go!
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Heels find another way to win – 73-66 over UCLA

How many ways can North Carolina find to win? After an opening round NCAA Tournament blowout win over Marquette, then losing a big lead and beating Baylor in overtime, UNC outlasted UCLA in a back-and-forth contest that saw Caleb Love take over the game and score 27 in the second half.

UNC controls final minutes to close out UCLA 73-66. Credit to cottonbro on Pexels.com

Brady Manek hit key shots in the first half to help keep the Tar Heels close. In the second half, the Bruins got hit with a lot of Love as he finished with 30 points. Love and Manek had some help with RJ Davis and Armando Bacot also finishing in double figures.

When asked about Love’s play in a post-game interview on CBS, UNC coach Hubert Davis said, “At the end of the day, you just need guys to step up and Caleb Love was absolutely fantastic.”

Bruins fade late

UCLA led early then exchanged the lead with UNC before taking control of the game and leading 31-28 at the half. UCLA continued to lead most of the second half, but the Tar Heel defense took its toll while Love was getting hot. The Bruins had four players in double figures, but dependable scorer Jaime Jaquez was held to just 1-11 in the in the second half, while the team shot 15-35.

What UNC did to win

  1. Second half of second half defense was tight.
  2. Committed just 9 fouls.
  3. Only committed 8 turnovers.
  4. No panic when pressured inbounding the ball.
  5. Led 19-6 on second chance points.
  6. Made 10 three-point baskets while holding UCLA to 5.
  7. Out rebounded UCLA 43-34.
  8. Grabbed 15 offensive rebounds.

Up next

Saint Peter’s continued to pull off upsets as they held off #3 Purdue 67-64 and will face UNC on Sunday. This is the first time that a 15-seed has made it to the Elite 8 and will be the first time that an 8-seed and 15-seed have met in the tournament.

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Robinson over Farmville in 2A final thriller

Jay M. Robinson (28-3) hung on to win the NC Boys 2A Championship 70-68 Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill. Farmville Central junior Jah Short led all scorers with 28 points. Farmville used a prowling full-court defense to help overcome a halftime deficit, and 13-point second half Robinson lead, to tie the score multiple times in the last minute.

Jah Short winds up for fastbreak jam. NC 2A Basketball Championship. March 12, 2022.

This is the first time that state championship basketball games have been played in the large college campus arena settings since prior to our introduction to Covid-19. Three-time defending state champion Farmville Central got down early in the game at the Dean E. Smith Center but did not go away easily.

Deavin Hobbs attacks the rim! NC 2A Basketball Championship. March 12, 2022.

Junior Jermaine Gray led Robinson with 22 points and was named Most Outstanding Player. Junior Daevin Hobbs had 16 points and 17 rebounds and was recognized with the Charlie Adams State Championship MVP Award. Junior wing Zi’ Kei Wheeler also added 14 points for the Bulldogs.

Jermaine Gray scores Robinson in 2A finals at the Dean Smith Center. March 12, 2022.

Short was named Most Outstanding Player for Farmville Central as he impressed with a strong offensive game and was not shy on defense as the Jaguars forced multiple late turnovers as they pushed to even the score. Farmville had trouble securing rebounds after late free throw misses by Robinson in the closing seconds but had one last chance after Robinson’s Jermaine Grant missed the first before making the second of two free throw attempts. Farmville coach Larry Williford used his last time out to draw up a play that ended in a desperation shot from half-court by Short as time expired.

Photo gallery: Game in pictures – Robinson over Farmville Central

J. M. Robinson coach Lavar Batts, Sr. settles team during timeout. March 12, 2022.
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Game in pictures – Robinson over Farmville Central

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