Hoops teams prepare for postseason

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Person High School and RCS basketball teams end their regular season this week, with conference tournaments starting next Monday.

The Person women’s basketball team (12-7, 6-5) and RCS men’s basketball team (12-11, 8-5) have the best chances to host postseason games, as each team sits in fourth place of their respective conference. The Person men’s basketball team (7-13, 5-6) is one game behind McMichael for fourth place, while the RCS women’s basketball team (4-18, 2-11) jostles for position with Oxford Prep and TMSA for the final two berths in their conference tournament.

“The top four seeds host,” said RCS men’s basketball head coach Justin Bettendorf. “The games are on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We would prefer the three seed over the four seed, as that means we would not have to see Henderson Collegiate until the championship game.” The Bulldogs host Voyager Academy (last night), Triangle Math and Science Academy (Senior Night on Thursday), and Henderson Collegiate (Friday) to close out their regular season.

“We could possibly be seventh or eighth,” said RCS women’s basketball head coach Earl Bailey. “We’ll probably get the higher seed of the two because we beat Oxford Prep (41-23) by more than they beat us (43-40), and we beat TMSA. We’ll either match up against Falls Lake or Vance Charter.” The Lady Bulldogs hosted Voyager Academy last night, and greet Triangle Math and Science (Thursday), and Henderson Collegiate (Friday) to close out the regular season.

“If we can take care of business this week and win all three games, it’ll definitely put us in the opportunity to be in fourth place and host a conference tournament game next week,” said PHS men’s basketball head coach Charles Dacus. “Teams like us in the middle of the pack have a little bit more to play for.” The Rocket boys played last night at Rockingham County, host McMichael tonight at 7:30 p.m., and Northeast Guilford at 7:30 p.m. on Friday for Senior Night.

“McMichael on Wednesday will be the biggest game,” said PHS women’s basketball head coach Jay Carmichael. “That game won’t mean anything, however, if we don’t take care of business (Tuesday night) against Rockingham. If we win like we need to win, that will solidify our fourth place spot.” The Lady Rockets close out their regular season with Senior Night on Friday against Northeast Guilford.

If each team ends its respective season on a high note, state playoffs become a reality.

“Top three are guaranteed a spot in the state playoffs, but because of our state ranking (396), we should get into the playoffs, even as a four or five seed in conference,” said Bettendorf.

“Two 3A schools and one 2A school from our conference are guaranteed a spot in the state playoffs,” said Dacus, referring to Person’s split 2A/3A Mid-State Conference. “If we win these three this week, and win a couple of games in the conference tournament, that would put us in the bubble area to where we could get a wild-card.”

The story is the same for the Person women’s team.

“How we finish this season will determine whether we make it and how we get seeded,” said Carmichael.

Each coach emphasizes to their respective team that this week’s games are of utmost importance, with the postseason tournaments currently afterthoughts.

“One of our biggest issues this year has been focusing on the bigger picture,” said Bettendorf. “However, the Voyager game has been highlighted since day once, and I’m not particularly worried about the guys overlooking this one.”

“We’re not going to worry about the conference tournament, we’re just worrying about the next game,” said Bailey. “All we’re going to do is go out there and give it everything we have, play our hardest. I just want to finish clean.”

“Friday night’s game doesn’t mean anything if we don’t take care of Tuesday or Wednesday night,” said Dacus. “What’s going on out there next week doesn’t matter. We’ve got to take it one day at a time. That’s what we keep stressing.”

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