Lady Gamecocks Lose A Heartbreaker And A Preview Of The Spring Football Game Of The Year
Multiple media outlets are reporting that North Carolina is hiring assistant Hubert Davis as its new men's basketball coach. This comes after longtime Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams retired last week. The News and Observer is among numerous publications reporting that the UNC board of trustees is meeting this hour to approve Davis's hiring.
In other sports news, the South Carolina Lady Gamecocks lost in heartbreaking fashion. And we'll have a preview of the most anticipated high school football games of the spring season. With "All Things Considered" host Gwendolyn Glenn to talk sports is Langston Wertz Jr., a longtime sportswriter with The Charlotte Observer.
Ryan Ruocco game audio: And Brink loses it. Boston has it! Squeezes it to Beal. Two Seconds Left! Beal ... misses. Boston ... NOOOOO!!!!! Aliyah Boston’s follow just misses at the buzzer.
Glenn: And just like that, the Lady Gamecocks season is over. Langston, what led up to that last-second bucket?
Wertz: Oh, man, that was heartbreak. You know, last year's USC team didn't get a chance to go to the (NCAA) tournament. They may have been the best team in school history. They were 19-0 in conference play. They had 13 wins over ranked opponents. They beat UConn by 18. This year, they get to the semifinals. They had two shots to win a championship. They were down one. They stole the ball. Brea Beal stole it. She drove down, did a Euro step ... missed. All-American Aliyah Boston, got the rebound, dead to rights right in front of the rim, and hit the back of the rim like it was going in. I was halfway out of my chair screaming, that game was so good.
Glenn: And of course, head coach Dawn Staley says she's proud of her team and how they played. Who's coming back next year and what do you think their future looks like?
Wertz: Oh, the starters are coming back, including Zia Cooke who scored all of the points in the run. Aliyah Boston's back. And they also have the number one recruiting class in the country next year coming in. And Gwen, I would not bet against them. I think they're the odds-on favorite to cut them down next year.
Glenn: OK, no North or South Carolina teams were in the men's NCAA. But let's slide over to the Gonzaga and UCLA game this weekend that still has folks talking.
Jim Nantz game audio: “Juzang .. .again with the ball in his hands in the paint. Floater! Short! Got it back, ties it with three seconds left. Gonzaga has time to do something. Suggs for the win! Ohhhh. YES. YES. Unbelievable…”
Glenn: The Gonzaga Bulldogs beat the UCLA Bruins 93-90 on a last-second shot from freshman Jalen Suggs. This was a back-and-forth game, Langston, down to that last shot.
Wertz: Yeah, I mean, Gonzaga has been drilling everybody all season. I think, you know, a No. 1 seed playing No. 11 seed. Everybody thought that they would just run through UCLA, similar to how Baylor won their semifinal against Houston. UCLA had the lead for a lot of that game. Gonzaga playing a close game or slightly behind, it comes down and goes into overtime. And Jalen Suggs made two phenomenal plays. You know, he had a steal and an assist, and then after Johnny Juzang got his rebound and put it in and everybody's screaming, "We're going to a second overtime," this guy comes down and pulls up one step inside the half-court line and knows it's going in. He took off running before it went in.
Glenn: It was a great game. On to spring high school football and Friday's game between No. 2 Hough High School and No. 1 Vance. Tell us about the strengths and weaknesses, Langston, of these two powerhouses.
Wertz: Not a lot of weaknesses. These are the two best teams in North Carolina. Hough lost, Gwen, like 11 players — 10 of them went to school early and one opted out for the season. And when you lose 11 starters and you're still 6-0, you're still the second-best team in the state, that's an amazing job your coach has done. So hats off to Hough.
Vance is the killer program. They look like the dominant team in the state right now. They're a young team, but they're battle-tested. They're the defending state champions but Hough beat them last year. And this is the game of the year in the state of North Carolina, it's the game of the year in Charlotte. These two teams will probably play again, the state playoffs at some point. But this is all the marbles, right here it's really important to get that No. 1 seed.
Langston Wertz Jr is a long-time sportswriter with The Charlotte Observer.