LUMBERTON — The stage is set.
The NCHSAA state basketball playoffs start Tuesday with six of Robeson County’s teams beginning their march toward basketball’s best month.
It’s finally time for some playoff hoops.
Here’s a look at Tuesday’s first-round games involving teams from Robeson County.
No. 18 Farmville Central at No. 14 St. Pauls
On paper, this is the best first-round matchup of the games featuring a county team. Hosting their first playoff game since 2013, the Bulldogs welcome Farmville Central, the defending 2A champions, to town for a 7 p.m. matchup.
Led by Tyler Maye, the MVP of last season’s 2A title game, the Jaguars won’t be an easy out. Under first-year coach Corey Thompson, the St. Pauls boys basketball team is looking for its first playoff win since 2011.
Seniors Cole Humphrey, Ted McNeill and Isaiah Harlee have been key to the Bulldogs’ success this season.
No. 31 Wakefield at No. 2 Lumberton
After finishing the regular season and conference tournament with an unblemished mark in the Southeastern Conference, the Lady Pirates enter the playoffs as the county’s highest-seeded team.
But the real test begins Tuesday when the Lumberton girls basketball team hosts Wakefield. Don’t expect Jada Peebles and the Wolverines to be starstruck against the Lady Pirates. As members of the Cap-8 Conference, Wakefield finished fourth in the standings behind Millbrook, Heritage and Leesville Road — three solid teams from the Triangle area.
Led by London Thompson and Madison Canady, Lumberton has a chance to silence the critics by making a deep run this postseason.
Last season, the Lady Pirates advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2002.
No. 26 Currituck County at No. 5 Fairmont
After last season’s first-round scare against SouthWest Edgecombe, the Fairmont boys basketball team should be more focused heading into its first-round playoff game this season against Currituck County.
With seven consecutive 20-win seasons, including five straight appearances in the third round of the playoffs, the Golden Tornadoes are the gold standard of Robeson County hoops.
With senior leader Jarique Moore returning to form after a wrist injury, look for Fairmont to continue its playoff magic this season as it makes a run for a third regional berth in five years.
If I’m Currituck County, I’m not sure which I’d rather face: Fairmont’s full-court pressure led by Derrick Arnette or a roughly five-hour trip from Barco.
Tre Burton and Nick McDonald lead Currituck County in scoring.
No. 20 Currituck County at No. 6 Red Springs
Coming off arguably its biggest win in years, the Red Springs girls basketball team enters the playoffs with plenty of momentum as the Three Rivers Conference tournament champions.
Coming off a 24-point performance against East Columbus, junior guard Taya Jones leads the Lady Red Devils’ offense. Jones’ aggressiveness on both ends of the court will determine if Red Springs can advance to the second round for the third consecutive season.
The Knights are led by Lindsey Lykins.
No. 24 Red Springs at No. 11 North Pitt
Red Springs boys basketball coach Glenn Patterson is no stranger to the postseason, having led the Red Devils to nine consecutive playoff appearances.
The Red Devils travel to North Pitt on Tuesday looking for their first playoff win since 2014. The Panthers enter the playoffs after upsetting Beddingfield to win the Eastern Plains Conference tournament.
Monte’ Wilkerson and his fellow Red Devils will need a hot-shooting night to keep pace with North Pitt’s Devonte Pettaway and Kevius Whitfield.
No. 27 Fairmont at No. 9 Northside-Jacksonville
Making its first playoff appearance since 2013, the Fairmont girls basketball team has blossomed into a formidable foe for opponents this season.
Kiara Page, Fairmont’s leading scorer, will need to have a big night for the Lady Golden Tornadoes to pull off the upset against a potent Northside-Jacksonville team led by guard Kayla Stephens and forward Tamia Grant.
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.