The Week Ahead
Spring’s first championship event
The Four Oaks Bank Cup gives Johnston County girls soccer teams the chance to capture championship gold in the first week of the season. That annual event begins Thursday with several quarterfinal matches at sites across the county.
The event shifts to North Johnston on Tuesday with semifinal matches beginning at 5 p.m. Consolation round matches are set for March 6 and the championship match comes March 7 at 7 p.m.
West Johnston is the two-time defending event champion, but the field may be as strong as ever with Cleveland and Corinth Holders both coming off of big seasons in just their second year of existence. Clayton came close to beating West in the semifinals last season, while Smithfield-Selma bowed out in the championship match.
Baseball Opening Day
All spring sports get their start Wednesday but opening day in baseball is universally recognized as an unofficial first day of spring. There are plenty of intriguing afternoon games on the schedule.
Two of those are Johnston County rivalry games with Smtihfield-Selma at Cleveland and South Johnston at Clayton. Cleveland has added pitcher Kodi Whitley, a standout at West Johnston last year, to their lineup. South and Clayton play their traditional opening day match up at Andy Pleasant Field.
There’s another matchup with Johnston County ties on both sides in Princeton Wednesday with Hobbton, coached by former SSS coach Mike Joyner, visiting the Bulldogs.
Saturday has notable games as well with defending 4A state champion Middle Creek at Garner, rivals Corinth Holders and Cleveland meeting and West Johnston visiting 2011 4A state champ Holly Springs.
Early Tennis Clash
The Greater Neuse River 4A Conference jumps right into the league season on opening day (Wednesday) with likely championship contenders Garner and Clayton meeting in Garner. Garner features a senior-laden lineup that may be a bit slowed by injuries early in the season, while Clayton’s lineup could feature several freshmen.
Regional basketball quest
The state basketball playoffs continue Wednesday with second round games and third round games on Friday for teams that survive the second round.
Friday’s winners move into next week’s regional tournaments in Fayetteville. Regional semifinals will be played Tuesday through Friday with regional championships set for Saturday.
Schedules for each classification aren’t announced until Saturday afternoon. But each of the four classifications gets one night during the week for the semifinals