Both crosstown rivalry games in Wilmington came down to the wire on Friday night.
The New Hanover boys basketball clinched the Mideastern Conference crown to remain unbeaten in league play following a 40-37 victory over Hoggard. Meanwhile, Ashley trailed most of the game against Laney, but stayed within striking distance to grab a 43-40 road win in Buctown.
New Hanover 40 Hoggard 37
In a similar ending to their first matchup this season, the Wildcats rallied in the final few possessions of the game to pick up their fifth straight result. New Hanover improved to 11-0 in conference and 19-4 overall.
“Going to Hoggard is always a tough place to play,” said New Hanover Coach Kirk Angel. “They execute, play really well at home and we just showed some toughness in the second half to win the game.”
Trailing by one after Charles Stanfield knocked down his second trifecta with 2:10 left in regulation, Ramello Williams put the black and orange in front for good on a hard drive to the hole for two points. A pair of turnovers down the stretch by Hoggard proved costly as Williams grabbed a loose ball and found Acchaeus Fields on the break to go up, 38-35.
Two free throws by Robert Wilkerson brought Hoggard to within one, but Fields collected himself after missing the front end of a 1-and-1 moments earlier with a steal in the waning seconds and two points from the charity stripe to secure the result.
Fields scored a game-high 16 points, while Williams went 5 of 7 from the floor to finish with 10 points.
“Each team called a timeout and coach just told me that we needed to get it back on defense,” Fields said. “We turned around on the next possession, got a steal and were able to get those free throws. It felt great to hit those shots. We lost by like 20 points last year here. It was my last time playing in this gym and I wanted this one bad.”
The 32-minute contest never saw a lead bigger than two possessions. A steal and coast-to-coast lay-in by Stanfield early in the final frame put the Vikings in front 31-28 for their first lead since the second quarter. Blake Smith answered with his only three-pointer at the midway point of the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a 34-30 advantage, but a nice head fake by A.J. Frye and baseline jumper cut the deficit to a bucket.
Stanfield scored a team-high 12 points for the Vikings. Wilkerson added seven, including a three-pointer at the buzzer to close the opening period. Walker Bateman also knocked down a 15-foot jump shot as time expired in the third quarter to keep it a three-point game, 29-26, in favor of New Hanover.
“I’m real proud of the guys,” Angel added. “Acchaeus had a chance to seal it, then knocks two down at the end. He’s been through it and a senior. We got the weekend off, senior night against Ashley and a good little rest before the conference tournament so we’ll see what happens after that.”
Hoggard saw its five-game win streak snapped as the Vikings fell to 8-3 in league play and 15-8 overall. Both teams play in their regular season finale next week. New Hanover will have the No. 1 seed in the Mideastern Conference Tournament set for Feb. 15-19.
Ashley 43 Laney 40
With the game tied 36-all and under two minutes to play, Ryan Keller got to the rim off an assist from Qadhafi Turner to give Ashley a lead it would not relinquish. Keller scored five straight points during the decisive push and 11 of his 15 points in the second half.
Laney carried a four-point advantage after the opening eight minutes of action and Hunter Cook sank a three-ball with two seconds left in the first half to put the Bucs in front 20-17 at the break. Laney kept it a four-point edge headed into the fourth quarter and led by two possessions at the five minute mark.
Ashley moved to 5-5 in the division and 11-10 overall. Laney dropped to 4-6 in conference and 10-12 on the year.
West Brunswick 73 South Brunswick 31
Coastal Christian 72 Fayetteville Christian 59
Roy Holdford had 18 points and eight rebounds for Coastal Christian. Brian Howell also recorded his 16th double-double of the season and finished with 14 rebounds.
The Centurions close the regular season 16-8 overall and 8-2 in conference. Coastal Christian secured second place in the Coastal Rivers Conference Tournament. The Centurions are 10-2 since the holiday break.