No. 5 New Hanover 57 No. 21 Green Hope 35
New Hanover boys’ basketball Coach Kirk Angel has been preaching to his guys all season the Wildcats are at their best when using a strong effort on defense, allowing their intensity to transition on the other end of the floor.
A relentless determination at Brogden Hall on Thursday night guided No. 5 New Hanover to a 57-35 victory over No. 21 Green Hope in round two of the 4A state playoffs.
“We told them to just stay patient because we were really defending,” said Angel. “It all starts on the defensive end every single night. Shots aren’t always going to go in, but we can always defend.”
Coming off a road victory earlier this week in Wilmington, the Falcons struggled to take care of the ball, committing 22 total turnovers, while being held to just 16 points over 24 minutes of action.
With the Wildcats in front by seven at the break, the black and orange went on a decisive 14-0 push during a four minute stretch in the third quarter to take control of the game. Malique Jacobs and Blake Smith accounted for all the points during the spurt, including a pair of treys from Smith.
The junior put an exclamation point on a dominating frame with a buzzer beater from deep in the corner for his third long range shot of the period as New Hanover outscored Green Hope 22-6 during the stanza.
“We really executed in the third quarter,” Angel added. “We started changing sides of the floor and making them move a little more instead of one or two passes and trying to do something on your own. Blake [Smith] has to come off the bench and be a spark. He sucked it up and did a good job tonight.”
Senior Acchaeus Fields went 6 of 10 from the field to finish with 12 points. He also pulled down seven rebounds and paced a 10-2 run in the first quarter to give the Wildcats a 12-5 advantage after the opening eight minutes of action.
Jacobs scored eight of his 12 points during the 22-point third quarter, while Smith chipped in with 11 total points.
The Wildcats shot 52 percent from field and nine different players got into the scoring column.
Green Hope led 3-2 early when Shaq Hampton drew an offensive charge to help spark the first period push as sophomore Freddie Taylor hit a lay-in to give New Hanover a lead it would not give up.
The sophomore point guard also hit a three-ball to make it 34-14 late in the third quarter to finish with seven points, four assists, and three steals. Ramello Williams added six points and six boards.
“We want to keep playing as long as we can,” Angel said. “It was a big game tonight from everyone and we’re going to need that to keep our season going.”
No. 5 New Hanover moved to 23-5 overall and entertain No. 13 J.H. Rose in a third-round 4A matchup on Saturday. The Wildcats are 11-1 on their home floor this season. J.H. Rose upset No. 4 South Central 46-44 to advance in the tournament.
Green Hope 5-5-6-19=35
New Hanover 12- 5-22-18=57
No. 6 West Brunswick 70 No. 11 Eastern Guilford 63
Ty Hill dropped a game-high 29 points to lead No. 6 West Brunswick to a 70-63 victory over No. 11 Eastern Guilford in Shallotte on Thursday.
With a three-point lead after the first quarter, the Trojans took a 37-27 advantage at the break. Josh Woodard chipped in with 15 points and Xavier Gause added 13 to put three West Brunswick players in double figures.
The Trojans stretched its cushion to 56-43 after three quarters of play and held off a late push to advance into the third round of the 3A state playoffs.
No. 6 West Brunswick travels to No. 3 Havelock (24-3) on Saturday, Feb. 27.
No. 11 Heritage 46 No. 6 Hoggard 45
A foul with less than 15 seconds to play put Heritage at the charity stripe and two shots later the Hoggard girls basketball team found itself on the wrong end of a 46-45 result in a season-ending setback at James Hebbe Gymnasium.
Trailing by seven to start the fourth quarter, a 10-2 Hoggard run, including a three-pointer by Emma Haywood, put the Vikings in front 39-38 with 4:20 remaining. Heritage responded with a pair of long-range shots to go up 44-39 at the three minute mark, but Alani Fisher hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to three with 55 seconds left.
Two more points apiece from the charity stripe by Fisher and Haywood gave the Vikings a one-point edge with 21 seconds remaining when the whistle set up the game-winning shots from the foul line.
Fisher sank three shots from beyond the arc to finish with a team-high 13 points and seven rebounds.
Hoggard was down 10-4 late in the opening period before Haywood knocked down a shot from long range to pull home side to within three after eight minutes of action. The Vikings grabbed their first lead late in the first half, but Heritage maintained a 22-20 advantage at the break.
Haywood added 12 points, while Tara Poteat had six points and three assists.
Heritage extended the visitors’ lead to seven, 31-24, midway through the third period and kept it a seven-point cushion headed into the final frame. Hoggard outscored Heritage 16-10 over the final eight minutes after the deciding free throws.
The Vikings close the year with a 20-win season as back-to-back Mideastern Conference Champions. No. 11 Heritage plays at No. 3 Southeast Raleigh (25-3) on Saturday.
No. 2 Millbrook 69 No. 15 New Hanover 53
With a trio of Division I commits on the floor, No. 2 Millbrook jumped out to an early lead and handed No. 15 New Hanover a 69-53 defeat in Raleigh on Thursday night.
Ayonna Cotten and Azariah Fields paced the Wildcats with 16 points apiece, but the effort was not enough as New Hanover scored just four points during the second quarter. Millbrook stretched a two-possession lead after the opening eight minutes to a 36-17 cushion at halftime.
The Wildcats earned a share of the Mideastern Conference regular season title and closed the year with a 20-8 overall mark. No. 2 Millbrook entertains No. 10 East Wake in the third round of the 4A playoffs on Saturday.