Southwest Guilford vs Cox Mill (copy)

Southwest Guilford boys basketball coach Guy Shavers shouts to his team during the NCHSAA Class 3-A West Regional final against Concord Cox Mill on March 9 in Hickory. The Cowboys won 88-58 and face Williams in Saturday's state championship game.


Smith Center, Chapel Hill, 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Admission: $15  TV: WMYV-48

Players to know: Williams — G Nasir Johnson, 6-1, Sr. (19.2 ppg, 3.6 apg, 3.1 rpg, 1.5 spg); G Kennedy Miles, 6-0, Jr. (15.3 ppg, 5.7 apg, 3.8 rpg, 2.2 spg); F Rashaud Alston, 6-0, Sr. (12.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg); F Tamari Graves, 6-3, Sr. (6.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg). Southwest Guilford — F Jay'den Turner, 6-5, Sr. (15.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.5 spg, 1.9 apg); G Keyshaun Langley, 6-1, Sr. (13.4 ppg, 7.2 apg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 spg); G Kobe Langley, 6-1, Sr. (11.5 ppg, 6.1 apg, 3.4 rpg, 2.5 spg); F Joel Pettiford, 6-5, Sr. (11.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg).

Keys to the game: To have any chance against Southwest, Williams must commit fewer turnovers than the 18 that Cox Mill had against the Cowboys in the regional final. The Bulldogs also must shoot better than the 12 percent (3-for-25) that Southwest held Cox Mill to in that 88-58 rout. The Cowboys just need to do what they've done all season by forcing turnovers and converting them into transition baskets while shooting a high percentage (53 percent for the season). They have beaten each of their opponents this season by at least 11 points and have an average margin of 30.9 points. Southwest also has a significant edge in experience, with most of its rotation players already wearing one state championship ring from the 2017 Class 4-A title.

X-factor: After a 30-point win over nationally ranked Cox Mill in the regional, a letdown is a possibility for Southwest Guilford. But even without injured senior G-F Christian Martin, the Cowboys should have too much talent and experience for Williams. "My seniors are used to winning," coach Guy Shavers said. "It's in their DNA."

Southwest Guilford coach Guy Shavers on the Bulldogs: “They're guard-oriented and have some players. We really have to be aware of (senior forward Rashaud Alston) because he's slippery. He works between people and finds ways to get inside for shots and grab offensive rebounds.”

Williams coach Tommy Cole on the Cowboys: “I know they're very, very good. From everything I've heard or read, the little Bulldogs don't have a chance. They're so powerful it might be true, might be a fact. I do know they're very deep and play a lot of people. They like to play uptempo and pressure with their defense. We have to be able to handle the pressure.”

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Contact Joe Sirera at 336-373-7034, and follow @JoeSireraNR on Twitter.

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