The New Hanover boys basketball team closed an impressive run to the Mideastern Conference regular season title with a 64-52 victory at home against Ashley on Senior Night.
Seniors Acchaeus Fields and Shaq Hampton combined for 28 points as the Wildcats finished unbeaten at 12-0 in league play and recorded their 20th win of the year.
“It was definitely tough out there tonight for Shaq and me,” said Fields, who led all scorers with 21 points on 8 of 10 from the floor and 5-for-7 from the free throw line. “We worked to not overlook the conference, but now it’s getting back to practicing hard to get ready for the playoffs.”
New Hanover shot 62.8 percent as a team, while Hampton finished 7-for-10 from the field. Freddie Taylor added seven points and five assists, while Fields pulled down seven rebounds. The Wildcats are riding a six-game winning streak ahead of a first-round bye heading into the Mideastern Conference Tournament.
With the game tied midway through the first quarter, the Wildcats went on a 12-4 push to close the frame to go up 18-10 after the opening eight minutes at Brogden Hall. Following two points from Malique Jacobs, Taylor found Blake Smith in the corner for three on next possession and the sophomore point guard finished a three-point play from the charity stripe just before the buzzer for the early advantage.
New Hanover extended its cushion to 22-12 with a 15-foot jumper by Jacobs, who left the game early with a bone bruise, but shouldn’t miss any time because of the week off leading up to postseason play.
Jordan Gagum knocked down his only long range shot of the game for Ashley to keep it a 10-point deficit with four minutes to go in the first half, but that’s as close as the Screaming Eagles would get as the Wildcats went up 36-20 at the break and maintained a 50-35 advantage after three quarters.
“It’s a good feeling to get this win and see all the hard work pay off,” Hampton added. “My teammates have been there all season and we’re going to continue to work better.”
Daitreon Daye had a team-high 12 points for Ashley, while Ryan Keller chipped in with nine. Josh Smiley hit back-to-back buckets for the Screaming Eagles early in the first quarter to give Ashley its only lead of the game, 6-4, but Fields answered with a bucket high off the glass.
Ashley dropped to 5-6 in league play and 11-11 overall. The Screaming Eagles play in their regular season finale at home against West Brunswick on Thursday, Feb. 11.
Laney 59 South Brunswick 48
Chris Bennett and Jordan John had 13 points apiece to lead Laney past South Brunswick 59-48 on Tuesday. Sherod Sidbury also finished with 11 rebounds and five steals.
John was honored prior to tip-off on senior night in Buctown, alongside classmates Marquan Miller, Micah Jones, Chase Rhew, Tyler French, Ronald Dombroski, Brenner Woodcock, Josh Carr and Cole Childers.
Laney finished the regular season 5-6 in conference and 11-12 overall.
West Brunswick 74 Topsail 58
Ty Hill dropped 22 points and dished eight assists as West Brunswick ran away from Topsail 74-58 on Tuesday. Xavier Gause added 17 points and Jon Jordan pulled down 10 rebounds.
The Trojans improved to 8-3 in conference and 15-6 overall.
Northside 88 North Brunswick 51