Winning 500 games as a head coach is worthy of a celebration.

That happened Thursday night as Andy Muse of No. 10 Mount Tabor hit the milestone as his Spartans edged No. 26 Weddington 71-67 in the second round of the NCHSAA Class 3-A boys basketball playoffs at Spartan Gym.

Mount Tabor (20-8) will play at No. 2 Concord Cox Mill (26-2), which defeated No. 18 Concord on Thursday, in Saturday’s third round.

After the game, Mount Tabor honored Muse with an on-court celebration and video tribute led by Principal Ed Weiss, along with Andy’s wife, Gina, and two of his sons, twins Aaron and Andrew, who are seniors on the team.

“I really hadn’t thought about it,” Muse said. “I’ve been very blessed to be at Mount Tabor High School my entire career. It’s a great place — 27 years here, 25 as a head coach. I’ve just been very blessed to be at a school with administrators who believe in you and keep you accountable, a faculty that helps you with your players on an off the court, in the classroom, in the community. A great sixth man. Games in Gym, it’s just a fun place to coach.

“My assistant coaching staff over the years have just been tremendous. You coach after young coach after young coach on our staff, and they move on and become head coaches.”

One assistant who wasn’t there was Muse’s father, Tom. Tom Muse was the longtime head coach at Parkland before he retired and later joined Andy’s staff at Mount Tabor.

“He had a mild stroke (on Wednesday morning) and I think the numbness in his left arm and face has come back,” Andy Muse said. “He got to the hospital within the hour, and they got him the medicine he needed before the three-hour window, so hopefully he will recover. Right now, he doesn’t have any paralysis.”

Andy Muse’s mother, Jean, was with Tom at Forsyth Medical Center. In addition, his other son, Adam, was away as an assistant coach at East Forsyth with Andy’s brother, Mike, who is the head coach there. East Forsyth lost at Charlotte Olympic in the second round of the Class 4-A playoffs.

“Just having the twins on the team with a year like this, to be able to celebrate this with them was awesome,” Andy Muse said. “They played well tonight. They had some assists when we needed it. I’m going to miss having them around Mount Tabor. They’ve had a tremendous experience, and they take a lot of flak from being the coach’s son day in, day out.”

Andy also took the time to thank his wife.

“I’ve been very blessed to have a wife, a basketball coach’s wife that I have that allows me to do what we do here at Mount Tabor,” he said. “Scouting, on the road, taking kids home, waiting after practice. Just doing what head coaches do all across the nation. But she is a tremendous basketball wife, and has been there the entire way.”

Aaron Muse finished with 10 points and he became emotional after the game and celebration. Andrew finished with 5 points.

“It means a lot,” Aaron said. “It’s been 27 years in Dad’s career. He’s the most hard-working man that I’ve ever met in my life. He’s a great dad, he’s a great coach and he builds men.”

Another senior, Quest Aldridge, led the Spartans with 22 points. Jakob Moore added 15 points and Dillon Bullard chipped in with 11.

“It was really good,” Aldridge said. “It felt really nice to be able to get him to that point. It’s a very, very incredible accomplishment. I was really happy to be a part of it with his whole family, his sons — we all wanted to do it for him. So we bought into it tonight.”

The Spartans fell behind 15-4 in the first quarter, but they took a 34-28 halftime lead. But the Warriors (16-12) went on a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter to take a 56-51 lead. The Spartans answered with an 11-0 run to take a 62-56 lead after Bullard hit two free throws with 2:52 left.

“They’ve got a really good team, a senior-led team,” said Coach Gary Ellington of Weddington. “And I thought that experience at the end, it was a play or two that they made that was the difference in the game. The game was back and forth the whole time. When a game’s like that it’s just going to come down to one or two plays.

Owen Van Gundy nailed a 3-pointer with 56.5 seconds left to trim the lead to 66-65. However, Mount Tabor made five of its last six free throws.

Brock Bowen led the Warriors with 17 points, Van Gundy had 15 and Chase Lowe scored 13.

“We got some good turnovers and traps. They didn’t like traps,” Aldridge said. “So we kept keeping the pressure up and it worked out well for us.”

Mount Tabor has one day to prepare for Cox Mill, which defeated the Spartans 81-57 in the third round last year and went on to win the state championship.

“It’s a tremendous night for this team,” Andy Muse said. “I know everybody’s talking about the 500, but I want to talk about the 1. This one game for this group of kids is tremendous for us to get in a Sweet 16 this coming Saturday on the road.”

Mount Tabor 71 Weddington 67

Weddington 18 10 16 23 − 67

Mount Tabor 13 21 15 21 − 71

Weddington (16-12): Noch 3, Owen Van Gundy 15, Wetherbee 6, Brock Bowen 17, Dixie 5, Frazier 8, Chase Lowe 13

Mount Tabor (20-8): Woodberry 8, Jakob Moore 15, Quest Aldridge 22, An. Muse 5, Aaron Muse 10, Dillon Bullard 11

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jspivey@wsjournal.com 336-727-7370 @JaySpivey_WSJ

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