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'There is no intimidation factor': L.C. Bird boys and girls face tall tasks in state semis

'There is no intimidation factor': L.C. Bird boys and girls face tall tasks in state semis

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For the first time in school history, the L.C. Bird boys and girls basketball teams are Class 5, Region B champions in the same year.

The boys beat Manchester 55-53 in the region final last Wednesday, just after the girls downed Midlothian 49-41. The region crowns earned both Skyhawks squads spots in Wednesday’s Class 5 semifinals at the home site of the Region A (Hampton Roads) champions at 7 p.m.

Here’s a look at the matchups awaiting Bird at the east end of I-64:

Boys

Opponent: Green Run (Virginia Beach)

The Region A champion Stallions (8-0) were declared co-state champions along with Norview (Norfolk) last year after the final was canceled because of the pandemic.

Green Run was led by seniors Elijah Kennedy (33 points) and Jacob Cooper (24 points) in an 87-68 win over Salem in Saturday’s 5A final.

Bird won the Class 5 state title in 2017 and was runner up in 2016.

“It’s going to be a fun game against an experienced, talented team,” said Skyhawks coach Troy Manns. “We are going to their home trying to win another game — survive and advance.”

Girls

Opponent: Princess Anne (Virginia Beach)

The Cavaliers (8-0) shared the title with Highland Springs last year, their record seventh consecutive state crown. Princess Anne has won state titles in nine of the past 12 years, and was the runner-up in the other three.

“As always, Princess Anne has experience and size,” said Skyhawks coach Chevette Waller.

“I’m a bit excited, because the majority of my girls know little about PA’s tradition except our scouting report so I expect them to take the floor, play hard and have fun. There is no intimidation factor.”

The Cavaliers are led by senior N.C. State recruit Aziaha James, who scored 23 points in PA’s 75-43 5A final victory over Salem. Cyriah Griffin and Michelle Ojo scored 14 apiece, and Zakiya Stephenson added 10.

ZJoachim@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6555

Twitter: @ZachJoachim

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