The Weddington High boys basketball team will compete for the program’s first state championship Saturday morning (10:30) against Northwood at Providence Grove High in Climax. One of the main reasons the Warriors have reached the state championship game for the first time in program history is the play of 6-foot-5 junior point guard Chase Lowe.
The reigning Union County Player of the Year has scored 1,126 points in his three-year career and this season he’s led the Warriors to a perfect 17-0 record. For the year, Lowe is averaging a team-high 14.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 3.0 steals per game. Across three seasons with Weddington, Lowe has made 54.2% of his field goal attempts.
As a team this season, Weddington is averaging 71.8 points per game while shooting 51.2% form the field and 40.1% from 3-point range. Lowe spoke with The Enquirer-Journal on Thursday about his team’s success in 2021, their midseason quarantine and the matchup with Northwood.
Question: How does it feel knowing you’re the first team in school history to make a state championship game and now you have an opportunity to bring home a state title?
Answer: It feels amazing. We have wanted this for so long. We’ve all been playing together since fifth or sixth grade, so we’ve always dreamed about doing something like this. It would mean the world to us if we could finally bring one home to the school, especially since it would be the first one we’d ever have.
Question: Coach (Gary) Ellington has mentioned that you guys are more of a family than a team. How do you feel like the closeness has helped you during a not-so-normal season?
Answer: I definitely feel like it has been an interesting year. It’s been a tough year, but I feel like because we’re so close with one another and we’re such a tight-knit group, I feel like we’ve been able to get through it together and come out stronger because we’ve all stuck together through all the hardships COVID-19 has brought.
Question: Midway through the season, the team had to go though a two-week quarantine period. What was it like having the season broken up like that? How did you manage to get through that as a team?
Answer: I think it was definitely tough, but I think Coach Ellington always makes sure we’re the most prepared team we can possibly be. Even over that two-week period where we weren’t allowed to see each other, we were all still getting our workouts in by ourselves and just did whatever we could do stay in shape. We had zoom calls to stay in touch and go over plays to make sure we stayed sharp. I think we came out stronger because we stayed together through it.
Question: A.J. Cook and Brock Bowen have really been shooting the lights out, especially from 3-point range. How much easier does it make your job as a point guard knowing that you have multiple knock-down shooters out there?
Answer: It’s been amazing. I’m so blessed and fortunate to play with such a great, talented group. Especially with Brock and A.J., you just don’t see very many shooters do what they’re able to do on a nightly basis. They make my job so easy. They make me look good because they can knock down tough shots night in and night out. They’ve been amazing this season and I couldn’t ask for better teammates. I really couldn’t.
Question: Northwood presents a different challenge for you guys because of their size. How are you guys going to try to combat that and not let their size affect you too much?
Answer: We’re definitely looking at film and are trying to find some weaknesses in their zone. They play a 2-3 zone. We’re just going to stick to our gameplan with what’s been working. Coach Ellington is always preaching that we have a system at Weddington that can work against any team because we play together and we play fast, but under control. As far as our gameplan goes, I don’t think it’s going to change too much. We’ve been really successful this year and we just have to continue to be who we are.
Question: Obviously you don’t want to look too far ahead, but the team will bring back a solid core next year with you, A.J. and Kyle Frazier. How exciting is it knowing this isn’t the last ride?
Answer: It’s so exciting. Caleb (Wetherbee) and Brock have done a great job leading us and making sure we can carry around a winning tradition. And I feel like me, A.J. and Kyle have been a great core for Weddington. Returning all three of us, I feel like we’ll be very competitive next year. I don’t want to look ahead either, but I feel like we’re definitely going to be another state-championship-caliber team next year.