Next Up: On to Wilmington!

AJ Banker drives to the basket on Tuesday vs Faith CS | Staff photos

By Thomas Grubb | Co-Editor

APA varsity basketball coaches Dory Hines and Kelly Johnson have done amazing jobs this year with their respective basketball programs, helping the teams earn state playoff bids for the first time in a long time.

The boys have not sniffed the NCISAA 2A playoffs since 2011, while the girls’ squad has not qualified for the tourney since 2012.

The Patriot boys dominated their first round tourney game Tuesday night at home against Faith Christian Academy, 88-41, with seniors Kris Wooten and AJ Banker each scoring 20 points, and freshman Nick Harrison leading all scorers with 23.

The Patriots’ next tourney matchup will be against No. 6 seed Coastal Christian HS (22-6) tonight in Wilmington at 7:30.

The teams have split their two games during the season, with each team winning at home.

Thanks to breakout seasons from Wooten and Banker, and a stunning first-year coaching job by Hines and his staff, the Patriots have turned a mediocre 14-10 regular season and 3-5 Coastal River Conference run into an already successful playoff run.

As for the girls, junior Kim Siebert and seniors Scarlet Combs and Darci Basden have  led the team to a successful season of 15-7 overall and a 4-4 mark in conference play.

Two Lenoir Co legends — APAs Hugh Pollock and Bryan Hanks — work Tuesday night’s game vs FCS

Coach Johnson’s leadership has led the Lady Patriots to a successful playoff run, beating St. Davids School in Raleigh, 42-30.

Siebert led the scoring versus the Warriors with 18 points, adding 16 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocked shots.

Combs and Basden netted 14 points each.

The girls continue their tourney play tonight against Cape Fear Academy in Wilmington at 5:00.

FREE THROWS: Kris Wooten and AJ Banker were honored this year for reaching the 1,000-point marks for their Patriot careers . . . Kim Siebert, a German exchange student, leads the Lady Pats with a 15.6 PPG . . . Best wishes to APAs Reagan Perry, who underwent surgery yesterday in Chapel Hill. All the best from the entire Patriot family! . . . Kris Wooten has committed to playing D1 basketball at Elon University in 2018-’19. Good luck, Kris!

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