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Vote now: Who should be SBLive's North Carolina Coach of the Year for Girls Basketball?

By Marc Pruitt,

2023-03-15

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Now that basketball season has wrapped up with state champions being crowned last weekend across all four classifications for boys and girls, let’s take a look the coaches who stood out this season.

Here is a list of the coaches and their accomplishments that we think had exceptional seasons with their teams.

Vote for who you think should be the girls basketball Coach of the Year in North Carolina.

Editor’s Note: Our corresponding poll is intended to be fun, and we do not set limits on how many times a fan can vote during the competition. This poll is specifically for fans to vote on the coaches that have been nominated and in no way discredits any other coach that may not be mentioned in our poll.

Voting closes April 30, 2023

Kim Furlough, Northern Guilford: Furlough guided the Nighthawks to a 27-1 record, including a 15-0 mark in conference play. Their only loss came in the second round of the NCHSAA 4A state tournament. Furlough, the only girls basketball coach the school has had since it opened in 2007, announced her retirement towards the end of the season. She led Northern to back to back NCHSAA 3A state titles in 2017 and 2018 and finished her career with 364 career wins, 349 of which came during her tenure at Northern.

McKenzie Graham, Lake Norman: Graham led Lake Norman to a 31-1 record (13-0 in the conference) and a trip to the NCHSAA 4A State Championship game, its only loss of the season.

Brian Robinson, Bishop McGuinness: Robinson led the Villains to a 28-4 record (10-0 in conference play) and their second straight NCHSAA 1A state title last weekend and the 11 th during his tenure, which included nine straight from 2006-2014. He also eclipsed the 500-win plateau this season.

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Brian Robinson

Ken Leak, Parkland: Leak led the Mustangs to a 20-7 record, an appearance in the NCHSAA 4A state tournament, and a Central Piedmont 4A Conference Championship during the regular season, their first since the 2008-09 season, and the championship of the Mary Garber Holiday Classic. This is Leak’s fifth season with the program, which won a total of 12 games from 2011-2018 before he took over.

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Ken Leak

Photo by Josh Williams

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Ashley Poole, West Rowan: Poole guided the Falcons to a perfect 31-0 record and capped it by winning the NCHSAA 3A state title last Saturday. Even more impressive were that 29 of the team’s wins were by 23 points or more, and just one win was by single digits.

Lakai Brice, Salisbury: Brice led the Hornets to a 27-3 record and their second straight NCHSAA 2A State Championship. Pretty good season for girls basketball in Rowan County with two state champions.

Danielle Sullivan, Panther Creek: Sullivan led the Catamount to the NCHSAA 4A State Championship in the school’s first appearance in the title game. Panther Creek finished with a 29-4 record and won the Southwest Wake Conference with a perfect 14-0 record.

Charles Byrd, Seaforth: Byrd led the Hawks to a 27-4 record and an appearance in the NCHSAA 2A state championship game in just their second year as a school. They also won the Mid-Carolina 2A-1A Conference with a 12-0 record.

Pam Gainey, Rocky Mount: Gainey led the Gryphons to a 30-2 record and a runner-up finish in the NCHSAA 3A state tournament, including a 14-0 record and a conference championship in the Big East 3A.

Jason Otey, East Lincoln: Otey guided the Mustangs to a 31-1 record and a trip to the 3A Western Regional Championship game appearance, the team’s only loss this season.

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