New Hanover controlled both ends of the floor in Shallotte on Tuesday night as the Wildcats broke away from West Brunswick en route to a 73-50 victory in the Mideastern Conference opener for both teams.
Senior Shaq Hampton led three scorers in double figures with a game-high 17 points, while five different players for New Hanover hit from behind the arc.
“We knew we had to come out and play hard,” said Hampton, who went 6 of 7 from the free throw line. “We wanted to make a statement on the road in our first conference game.”
Trailing by one after Ty Hill drained a long range shot, New Hanover went on a 9-0 run to gain a 15-7 lead before Tyler Stanley drove the lane for two points to close the first quarter. Hampton dominated the paint to spark the push and Blake Smith hit his first trifecta in transition after Freddie Taylor picked up a loose ball following a Trojans turnover.
A 15-foot jumper from Taylor extended the cushion before Hill brought West Brunswick to within four in the opening minute of the second period.
Leading 21-15, the Wildcats scored 14 straight points thanks to a well-balanced attack to gain some breathing room heading into the break. Ramello Williams grabbed a defensive rebound and took it the length of the floor for the basket and one, while Malique Jacobs picked up an assist to Williams for the 24-18 advantage. Smith drained his second three-ball during the spurt and Taylor found Acchaeus Fields for three on the next offensive possession.
Free throws by Williams and Fields extended the lead to 38-18 and Jacobs got an offensive put back to fall, closing an impressive first half for the Wildcats.
“We brought it tonight and need to keep working hard in practice,” said Hampton. “The coaches and my teammates set me up tonight. We need to keep playing our game and good things will happen.”
Hill scored seven straight points for West Brunswick to start the third quarter, closing the deficit to 42-28, but New Hanover responded with a 14-2 spurt over the next five minutes to put the game in hand. Wiz Vaughn hit two treys during the run.
Taylor finished with 13 points and Fields added 11 for the Wildcats, who improved to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in conference. Hill scored a team-high 12 points for the Trojans. West Brunswick fell to 4-2 on the year and 0-1 in league play.
New Hanover 15-25-22-11=73
W. Brunswick 9-10-17-14=50
Hoggard 55 Topsail 30
Jack Bagley and A.J. Frye score 18 points apiece to lead Hoggard past Topsail 55-30 in Hampstead on Tuesday.
The Vikings led by eight after the first quarter and blanked the Pirates over the next eight minutes to take a 24-7 lead at the break.
Hoggard moved to 1-0 in league play and 5-1 overall. Topsail fell to 1-7 on the year.
Ashley 57 South Brunswick 35
Leading by six after the first quarter, Ashley grabbed a double-digit cushion at the break and never looked back as the Screaming Eagles picked up a 57-35 win over South Brunswick on Tuesday.
Bryston Davis scored a game-high 10 points for Ashley, while D.C. Russ and Ryan Keller added eight points apiece. Brandon Gonzales finished with nine points to lead South Brunswick.
The Screaming Eagles moved to 7-1 on the year and 1-0 in conference. South Brunswick saw their three-game winning streak come to an end as the Cougars fell to 0-1 in league play and 3-2 overall.
S. Brunswick 13-11-9-2=35
Carolina Forest 64 Laney 44