This past weekend, the NCHSAA playoff brackets were announced for all classifications. Now, teams will transition into the final stage of the high school season as they look to pursue a state championship. Each classification has clear favorites, intriguing darkhorses, and loads of next-level talent. Similar to the private-school playoffs, there is a much greater level of parody than we’ve seen in the recent years. Let’s take a closer look at each group, moving onto 1A…

All Brakcets:

Despite being the smallest classification, there’s so much excitement surrounding the 1A bracket. Not only does it sport a healthy collection of competitive, title-contending teams, but it’s easy to envision a variety of different outcomes. It’s worth noting that charter/private schools have won seven of the last eight and ten of the last twelve 1A NCHSAA titles. This year, the top seeds have been doled out to Wilson Prep and South Stokes with Corvian Community and Washington County securing the second seeds.

In looking at South Stokes’ group, it’s difficult to foresee a ton of teams halting their momentum. However, Piedmont Community, Andrews, Carolina International, and Eastern Randolph should each make some noise in the playoffs. Any of these four teams have the capability of upsetting a higher-seeded opponent at any given point, and could certainly come out of this quadrant.

Finishing up the western side of the bracket, there’s a lot of anticipation surrounding a potential matchup between Bishop McGuinness and Corvian Community. The Villains longtime coach, Josh Thompson, will be hunting for yet another state title. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ coach, Ron Murphy, is hunting for his first championship in only two seasons at the helm. Obviously, teams like Mount Airy, CPLA, Cherokee, and various others should pose strong challenges for those two programs.

In all honesty, betting against Wilson Prep is something that should no longer occur. They’ve won two of the last three titles, and their one non-winning year still led to a final four appearance. Between the basketball knowledge and accumulation of talent, Coach Ant Atkinson continues to dominate 1A. While there are several quality teams in this grouping, folks should expect Wilson Prep to make their fourth consecutive final four.

Rounding out this classification, Washington County earned the other top seed out of the east. While several teams stand out from the initial glance, this grouping is fairly wide-open. This quadrant features squads like Voyager, Henderson Collegiate, SE Collegiate Prep, Chatham Charter, West Columbus, Columbia, Bertie, KIPP, Pamlico County, Rosewood, East Wake Academy, Vance Charter, Lejeune, and Falls Lake Academy.