After leading their teams to top spot in the division, seniors Acchaeus Fields (New Hanover) and Emma Haywood (Hoggard) were named Mideastern Conference Basketball Players of the Year following a recent vote by the league’s seven coaches.
The Wildcats went 12-0 in conference play to claim the regular season championship. New Hanover finished the year 24-6 overall after dropping a 58-49 overtime contest in the fourth round of the playoffs to the eventual 4A East Regional representatives in this weekend’s state title game.
Fields was the leading scorer for the black and orange, averaging 15.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He contributed in all facets on the floor and closed his senior campaign with 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
“It a great feeling to be recognized,” said Fields. “Down the stretch we wish we would have won that game against Cary, but they’re a good team and playing for a state championship. Moving towards the end of the year, I really started playing with confidence and knew the season was coming to end. I just wanted to keep playing and [be] efficient.”
Fields has been overlooked for a large part of the year by many collegiate coaches, but following his performance over the last few weeks of the season, he started to draw interest to continue his playing career at the next level. At this point, Fields is undecided on the next step after high school, but with a sharp focus on his game and the right mindset, the New Hanover standout is hopeful he’ll find the right fit as graduation approaches.
He was joined by teammate Ramello Williams (9.9ppg/4.7rpg) to earn First Team All Conference accolades along with A.J. Frye (Hoggard), Xavier Johnson (Hoggard) and Ty Hill (West Brunswick). Frye and Johnson dominated the scoring column for the Vikings, who closed the year 19-9 overall and 9-3 in league competition.
Hill was lights out for Coach Eric Davis at West Brunswick. He recorded multiple 20-plus point games this season, averaging 18.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.7 steals per game.
Hoggard claimed its second straight Mideastern Conference Tournament Championship after defeating New Hanover for the first time in three tries after a 60-57 result at Brunswick Community College on Feb. 19. Frye poured in 14.3 points per game, while Johnson averaging 11.9 points and 6.8 rebound per game. Johnson announced in January that he would follow his grandfather and uncle and enlist in the Marine Corps once he graduates from high school on June 11.
Emma Haywood became the second Hoggard girls’ standout in as many years to earn Conference Player of the Year honors, guiding the Lady Vikes to back-to-back regular season and tournament titles. Hoggard put together a 22-win season and 10-2 mark inside the conference under Coach of the Year Boubacar Aw.
The silky smooth Haywood shot 50 percent from the floor this season, averaging 14.7 points per game. She sank 25 shots from beyond the arc, with a team-high 70 steals and 82 assists.
In just her first season in Wilmington, junior transfer Alani Fisher (Hoggard) was named First Team All Conference, alongside Lola Lovitt (Ashley), Baley Edwards (Laney) and Ayonna Cotten (New Hanover).
Fisher drained a team-high 34 shots from long range. After a 17-point performance in round one of the conference tournament, Fisher dropped 21 points – including five treys – to help guide Hoggard to its second straight Mideastern Conference Tournament Title. The junior transfer went 7 of 10 from the field and 5-for-7 from beyond the arc in the game.
As a UNCW commit for soccer, Edwards proved to be a catalyst for the Lady Buccaneers on the hardwood. She averaged 11 points per game. Cotton (13ppg) helped New Hanover to a 10-2 mark in the division and 20-8 overall record. Lovitt was the only underclassmen to make First Team All Conference. She put in 12.3 points per game and missed six games this season due to injury.
Player of the Year: Accheaus Fields, New Hanover
Coach of the Year: Kirk Angel, New Hanover
Team Sportsmanship Award: South Brunswick
- Acchaeus Fields, New Hanover
- A.J. Frye, Hoggard
- Ty Hill, West Brunswick
- Xavier Johnson, Hoggard
- Ramello Williams, New Hanover
- Jack Bagley, Hoggard
- Chris Bennett, Laney
- Ryan Keller, Ashley
- Xavier Gause, West Brunswick
- Malique Jacobs, New Hanover
Player of the Year: Emma Haywood, Hoggard
Coach of the Year: Boubacar Aw, Hoggard
Team Sportsmanship Award: South Brunswick
- Ayonna Cotten, New Hanover
- Baley Edwards, Laney
- Alani Fisher, Hoggard
- Emma Haywood, Hoggard
- Lola Lovitt, Ashley
- Dominique Bryant, Topsail
- Dana Craig, Ashley
- Lexi Melville, Laney
- Amani Muhammad, New Hanover
- Aleah Thompson, Hoggard