The New Hanover girls basketball team used a big push in the second quarter en route to a 58-38 bounce back win over Ashley on Friday night. Junior guard Ayonna Cotten led all scorers with 20 points for the Wildcats, who improved to 5-1 in conference and 12-5 overall.
“We were out of sync at times, but got a good win heading into exam week,” said New Hanover Coach Vertha Dixon-Wright. “We’ve been working on defense and how to play defense, looking to build from here.”
With a three-point advantage after the opening eight minutes of play, New Hanover went on a decisive 20-2 run over a 4:30 stretch in the second period to grab control of second place in the division. The Screaming Eagles committed 37 turnovers in the setback.
Following a dish from Morgan Carpenter to Dana Craig for a two-point bucket to get Ashley within one early in the second quarter, Azariah Fields led the charge for the Wildcats as the sophomore point guard drove the lane and delivered a nice bounce pass inside the key to Kaleigh Merrell for an easy lay-in to spark the push.
Fields hit a long two-point jumper next time down the floor to go up 15-10, while Cotten contributed two steals, four points and a pair of assists during four consecutive possessions to put New Hanover in front by double figures. Elizabeth Criner scored back-to-back buckets in the frame and Fields closed the first half with four quick points as the lead stretched to 31-12 at the break.
The Wildcats led 50-24 at the end of the third quarter as Cotten scored nine points of her 20 points during the eight minute period and went 8 of 12 from the free throw line. Merrell chipped in with 11 points and Fields finished with nine after knocking down her only three-pointer of the game during the final frame.
Angel Smith put in a team-high 11 points for Ashley as the Screaming Eagles fell to 3-2 in league play and 6-8 on the year.
Ashley returns to the floor against West Brunswick on Friday, Jan. 22, while New Hanover has next week off and get back into action with a home game against West Brunswick on Monday, Jan. 25.
Laney 48 South Brunswick 33
Coming off an overtime setback earlier this week, Laney got back in the win column with a 48-33 road win at South Brunswick on Friday.
Baley Edwards put in a team-high 11 points for the Bucs, who moved to 3-2 in the division and back over the .500 mark to 9-8 on the year. Lexi Melville added nine points in the result and Anna Rae Porcelli chipped in with seven.
Laney carried a 25-15 lead into the second half and used a big effort over the final 16 minutes of play to grab the result.
Topsail 46 West Brunswick 35
Dominique Bryant scored 15 points to lead Topsail to its first conference win of the season as the Pirates defeated West Brunswick 46-35 on Friday night.
The Trojans had a one-point lead after the first quarter, but Topsail responded to grab a 21-17 advantage at the break.
Brandy Williams chipped in with 12 points for the Pirates, who grabbed their tenth win of the season. The lead stretched to 13 after the third period as Topsail held on to the double-digit cushion over the final frame in a turnover-fueled 3A Mideastern Conference matchup.
The Pirates moved to 1-4 in league play and 10-5 overall. West Brunswick is still in search of its first conference win, falling to 0-4 in the division and 6-8 on the year.
North Brunswick 57 Southwest Onslow 15
North Brunswick evened its mark inside the East Central Conference with a dominating performance on Friday in a 57-15 rout at home against Southwest Onslow.
Taylor Perkins had a game-high 17 points and Jada Bellamy finished with 13 points. The Scorpions are 1-1 in league play and 10-4 overall.
Fayetteville Academy 66 Coastal Christian 27
Harrells Christian 44 Cape Fear Academy 29