NCHSAA 1A State Playoffs SMC 2nd Round Matchups & PredictionsSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports February 22, 2023
Round 2- Five Smoky Mountain Conference teams advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA 1A State Playoffs with first-round wins last night.
Robbinsville and Cherokee girls both punched their tickets to round 2 with big wins over their opponents in round one, while the Robbinsville and Murphy boys teams had to fight all 32 minutes to come away with a victory. The Swain County boys also advanced to round two with a win over familiar foe Hiwassee Dam.
Robbinsville is the only team in the SMC that has advanced both their boys and girls teams to the second round.
#6 Robbinsville vs #22 Swain Co.
An in-conference matchup in round two should make for a packed house at Robbinsville High School on Thursday. Swain handed Robbinsville their first conference loss of the season earlier this year, but Robbinsville took care of business when they caught the Devils at home the second time around. This one should be very fun to watch as both of these teams are familiar with each other and their play-style. Coach McMahan and his Maroon Devils are going to be underdogs in this one for sure as they go on the road, but they might be able to catch Robbinsville in a victory hangover as the Knights are coming off of a one-point gut-it-out win just one day ago.
Prediction: Robbinsville 65 Swain 61
#13 Murphy @ #4 Bishop McGuinness
The Dogs get another team from the Northwest Conference as they go on the road this time to face the Bishop McGuinness Villains. At 22 and 5 on the year, Bishop McGuinness is yet to lose to a 1A team this season. Although these two teams are hundreds of miles apart, they do have some common opponents to look at on their schedule. Bishop played Cherokee at home near the start of the season and defeated them 60-20, and the Villains have also played and beaten Winston-Salem Prep 3 times in the regular season. Murphy’s biggest advantage this year has been their size down low, but it looks like they might not win the size battle in this one as Bishop lists 3 players over 6 foot 3, including Cal Barrett at 6 foot 9 inches tall. Murphy is going to be fighting an uphill battle in this one, but if they can keep it close down the stretch and Dillian Brown can get hot from 3, who knows what can happen.
Prediction: Bishop McGuinness 73 Murphy 65
#3 Cherokee vs #19 Mount Airy
The Lady Braves made it look easy in round one as they jaunted past Highland Tech. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a repeat in round two, as they face a Mount Airy team that pulled off a round 1 upset over Thomas Jefferson by just 4 points. Give me the Lady Braves big in this one.
Prediction: Cherokee 78 Mount Airy 35
#13 Robbinsville vs #4 Albemarle
The Lady Knights might be playing their best ball at the right time. They took Cherokee (who some pick to win the state title) into overtime in the conference championship game just last Friday, and then whooped up on a good Starmount team in round one. Things will get tougher as they’ll be on the road in the playoffs from here on out, but if they can maintain their composure and rally behind their senior leaders then they should be able to make a deep run. As they go on the road tomorrow to Albemarle, they’ll be up against a Bulldog team led by Sophomore Amari Baldwin who is averaging nearly 17 points per game. The Baldwin-Trammell matchup will be the one to watch in this one, as both elusive guards will be the main scorers for their team. Whoever wins that battle will ultimately win the game.
Prediction: Robbinsville 62 Albemarle 59
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