SOUTHERN PINES -- One of the most disappointing losses in recent Louisburg College men's basketball memory came last year when the Hurricanes were defeated at home by Richard Bland in the finals of the Region X Tournament.
Current members of LC's sophomore class weren't about to see history repeat itself at this year's tourney.
Instead, Louisburg punched its ticket for a return trip to the nationals with a decisive 78-63 triumph over Catawba Valley in the region championship last Saturday at Sandhills Community College.
LC had fallen to Catawba Valley late in the regular season, but dominated from the outset in the rematch and led by as many as 32 points in the second half of action.
"We guarded the heck out of (Catawba Valley),'' said LC head coach Neil Dixon. "We played some great defense. We didn't do anything differently, but maybe there was a sense of urgency from our guys because it was the postseason. Our defense was at a different level.
"We talked about what happened last year and how Richard Bland beat us on our home court in a game we feel like we should have won. And (RBC) went on to win the national championship. I think our guys were motivated.''
LC had advanced in the tourney with decisions over Wake Tech and Pitt CC before tangling with the Buccaneers.
The Hurricanes were never threatened after roaring to a 43-25 advantage at intermission.
C.J. Hill, the Region X Most Valuable Player, came through with a double-double of 18 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Jamarcus Hairston delivered 17 points and nine boards, and supersub Vinny Agee came off the bench to register a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.
Hill and Hairston were First Team All-Region selections, while point guard Raekwon Harney made the Third Team.
Louisburg will now make its fifth national tournament appearance over the past seven seasons beginning next Tuesday at 4 p.m. against South Mountain out of Arizona.
The tournament is once again being held in Danville, Illinois.
Louisburg, with a 27-5 overall record, will enter as the No. 6 seed.
"I feel like we have a confident group,'' Dixon said. "That's a good thing if you keep it in perspective. We're not just happy to be going out there -- we are wanting to make a run.
"Before the season, we set three goals -- win the region regular season, win the region tournament and win the national championship. We have now accomplished two of those goals.''
LC WOMEN'S HOOPS: Louisburg College also reached the championship game of the Region X Women's Basketball Tournament, which concluded last weekend at Brunswick Community College in Supply.
But the Lady Hurricanes were defeated in hearbreaking fashion against top-seeded Cape Fear Community College.
Cape Fear survived Louisburg in overtime by a 70-68 margin to advance to the nationals.
Louisburg, coached by Shay Hayes, wrapped up its campaign with a 23-7 record.
The Lady Hurricanes led 35-30 at halftime before Cape Fear was able to rally. Cape Fear outscored Louisburg by an 8-6 margin in the extra session.
LC SOFTBALL: Louisburg College's fast-pitch softball squad enjoyed a successful journey to Virginia last weekend to take part in the Richard Bland Invitational Tournament near Richmond.
The Lady Hurricanes, who had already swept Catonsville at home last Friday, kept rolling Saturday in tournament action with victories against Cuyahoga (7-6) and Potomac State (10-2).
After winning a rematch versus Catonsville on Sunday by a 6-1 mark, only the College of Southern Maryland stood in the way of the Lady Hurricanes' quest to finish off a perfect weekend.
Louisburg was able to get the job done by a 4-1 margin as DaSha Hill homered and drove in all four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning of action.
At that point, LC trailed 1-0 before Hill's clutch slam.
Louisburg College, coached by Michelle Carlson, racked up 10 hits for the game, including two apiece from Tiffany Ellison and Alexis Hobson.
Lauren Sitterson worked six strong innings as Louisburg's mound starter, while Kayla Meares finished things off in the top of the seventh to register the save.
The Lady Hurricanes will return home Friday for a meeting with Herkimer College at Sheilah R. Cotten Field.
First pitch for the doubleheader is scheduled for 2 p.m.
The Lady Hurricanes, who are now 12-2 overall, will carry an eight-game winning streak into the twinbill. LC will remain home Saturday for a doubleheader against Richard Bland College.
LC BASEBALL: Louisburg College's baseball squad, under the direction of new skipper Blake Herring, has also put together a recent winning streak on the diamond.
The Hurricanes are now 10-5 overall, but have won their last eight outings.
The latest decision came Sunday on the road as Louisburg College was an 8-0 winner against the Lenoir Community College Lancers in Kinston.
LC had already swept a twinbill one day earlier over the Lancers at Frazier Field before heading to Kinston on Sunday for a single-game rematch.
Louisburg plated three runs in the top of the first and never looked back, thanks in part to a 13-hit uprising.
Jordan Sergent and John Garcia came through with three hits apiece to spark the Hurricanes. Sergent also drove in a pair of runs.
On the mound, Louisburg's Matthew Davis offered a complete-game masterpiece that featured just one hit allowed. Davis also struck out 10 and walked one.
Louisburg College will kick off its Region X schedule this weekend with a four-game home series against long-time rival University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie.
Doubleheaders will begin Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. each day, and tickets will be available at the gate to Frazier Field.
Louisburg struggled in region action last season, so the Hurricanes would love to get off to an effective start this time around as Herring is in the process of rebuilding the proud program.
Louisburg College was at home on Wednesday for a non-conference showdown against the Wake Tech Eagles.
Herring is a former Louisburg College assistant who has returned this spring after a successful stint as an assistant coach at Division II Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee.
Pictured (Above): OUR TIME. Members of the Louisburg College men's basketball team pose with the championship plaque after the Hurricanes claimed the Region X Tournament Championship last Saturday with a victory against Catawba Valley Community College in Southern Pines. The Hurricanes, coached by Neil Dixon, will be making their fifth appearance over the past seven seasons at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament beginning next Tuesday in Danville, Illinois. (Photo Submitted)