As they headed into Thursday’s regular season finale, Hoggard had seen mixed results in a dozen games that have come down to the final few possessions.
So when the crosstown matchup against Laney moved into overtime, the Vikings relied on their past experiences and used a big effort by a trio of seniors to pick up a 58-55 victory.
Jack Bagley has been well known for his ability to shoot the rock during the course of his high school career, but the program’s all-time leader in three-pointers used a physical play in the paint to score the game-winner and one with two seconds on the clock.
“I didn’t have any room to get a shot off, couldn’t find a passing lane and with time running down I was able to finish it,” said Bagley. “This season really has helped us in these types of situations like tonight because we were down. We were able to get it to overtime then win it. We’ve done it before and didn’t panic because of that. It’s a really good feeling and a big win because now it sets us up to get hopefully a first-round playoff game at home.”
Trailing by six with 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Vikings cut the deficit to 51-49 when A.J. Frye took possession at the top of the arc and found Robert Wilkerson beneath the basket for two points as time expired to force the contest into an extra four-minute period.
Frye went 9 of 10 from the field and finished with 21 points, while Xavier Johnson led all scorers with 24 points, five blocks and eight rebounds.
Both teams kept it within two possessions until early in the fourth quarter after Johnson’s turnaround jumper put Hoggard in front 39-32, with 6:38 left. Jordan John gave Laney a 46-44 edge with his fourth long range shot at the 2:05 mark and Chris Bennett finished an assist from Sherod Sidbury to go up by four.
Bennett took a charge on the other end of the floor seconds later and Sidbury buried a pair of foul shots to make it 50-44 when the Vikings went on a 6-1 spurt in the final minute to send it into overtime.
“Jack [Bagley] thinks of himself as a shooter, but he’s made himself into a good basketball player and he made a basketball play to win it,” said Hoggard Coach Brett Queen. “Your players have got to make plays in those situations. A.J. [Frye] and Robert [Wilkerson] made a play at the end of regulation and Jack made a play in overtime. I’m just really proud our guys for not quitting.
“This has been an incredibly fun group of guys to coach. We’ve had 12 of our 24 games go down to the last possession and we were 6-6 in those games. You would have never known whether we won or lost the way our guys have come to work each day.”
Bennett led the way for Laney with 19 points, while John finished with 12. Sherod Sidbury put three players in double figures and closed with 10 points.
After Bennett and Johnson exchanged points in the paint during overtime, Wilkerson hustled to a loose ball and knocked down a pair from the charity stripe to put the Vikings up 55-53. Hunter Cook came up clutch with two free throws to tie the game and set up the dramatic finish.
Hoggard improved to 9-3 in conference and 16-8 overall. Laney dropped to 5-7 in league play and 11-13 on the year. Both teams return to the floor at the Mideastern Conference Tournament beginning on Monday, Feb. 15.
West Brunswick 68 Ashley 45
Ty Hill knocked down five treys and finished with 30 points as West Brunswick used a big third quarter to break away from Ashley in a 68-45 result on Thursday.
The Trojans sank 10 total shots from long range, while Josh Woodard finished with 10 points. West Brunswick finished the regular season 9-3 in conference and 16-6 overall.
Ashley jumped out to a 22-18 advantage after the opening frame as Qhadafi Turner and Bryston Davis each had five points during the push.
Turner sank his second three-pointer of the game at the buzzer to give the Screaming Eagles a three-point edge at the break, but West Brunswick clamped down defensively and outscored Ashley 26-3 during the third quarter to grab the win.
Hill drained three field goals from beyond the arc during the decisive run and scored 13 points during the eight minute push.
Ashley fell to 5-7 in conference and 11-12 on the year.
South Brunswick 71 Topsail 44
Kareem Randolph dropped 23 points to lead South Brunswick in a 71-44 victory at home over Topsail.