CHAPEL HILL – A computer malfunction at the home offices of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association postponed the bracket release for the upcoming high school basketball playoffs.
On Sunday, local teams learned their fate as they prepare to move into opening round action on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Second round play tips-off on Thursday, Feb. 23, with third-round games set for Saturday, Feb. 25.
The boys and girls teams for both New Hanover and Hoggard begin postseason play with home games.
The North Brunswick girls have the highest seed of any local team after an impressive run to the East Central Conference Championship, but look to respond after falling the conference tournament final.
- 6 New Hanover (22-6) vs. No. 24 Middle Creek (13-7)
Take away the forfeit in the regular season finale and New Hanover has won nine in a row moving into the playoffs. The Wildcats won three games last week to clinch the Mideastern Conference Tournament Championship.
New Hanover is 8-1 on their home floor at Brogden Hall.
- 12 Hoggard (18-8) vs. No. 19 Apex (15-5)
The Vikings are 12-2 overall since the start of the New Year, with a 7-3 record at home this season. Averaging 11.6 points per game, senior Robert Wilkerson is Hoggard’s leading scorer. A stingy defense has average allowing just 44 points per game.
Tyler Steinman gives the Vikings an outside threat, with Chris Toudle, Grantland Adams and Patrick Morrison rounding out a group of players looking to make an impact this postseason.
- 18 Ashley (16-9) at No. 16 Cardinal Gibbons (15-5)
Ashley has three players averaging near double figures. Senior Altavon Mack has emerged as The Screaming Eagles best scorer at 12.1 points per game. Daitreon Daye provides the garnet and gold a solid presence at the point guard position.
- 4 West Brunswick (16-4) vs. No. 29 Western Harnett (10-10)
- 4 New Hanover (23-3) vs. No.28 Riverside-Durham (12-8)
New Hanover hits the reset after winning 16 games in a row before dropping the Mideastern Conference Tournament Championship, 53-47. The Wildcats has the most dynamic group of back court players in the area behind Ayonna Cotten (14 ppg) and Azariah Fields (11.4ppg).
Kalyeigh Merrell, Amani Muhhamad, Michelle Jacobs and Elizabeth Criner round out an experienced group as Coach Vertha Dixon-Wright looks for one last playoff run in her final season as head of the New Hanover program.
- 10 Hoggard (23-4) vs. No. 22 Jack Britt (14-6)
The Vikings carries a four-game winning streak into the postseason after knocking off New Hanover for the first time in three tries this season to claim the conference title.
Hoggard hasn’t hit its stride, but the Vikings have the talent to make a move in the playoffs. Lola Lovitt averages 13.4 points per game, while Alani Fisher (10.4ppg) has the ability to heat up at any time from beyond the arc.
Mix in the stability of four-year varsity point guard Tara Poteat alongside Mia Boone, Keeley Britt and Angel Smith, the Vikings look to turn some heads this week.
- 7 Topsail (15-9) vs. No. 24 Walter M. Williams (11-9)
- 31 West Brunswick (10-14) at No. 3 Orange (19-1)
- 3 North Brunswick (21-3) vs. No. 31 Durham School of Arts (9-11)
North Brunswick has largely flown under the radar this season as a result of playing a conference schedule outside the Wilmington area. Taylor Perkins guides a senior latent team by averaging nearly 21 points per game.
Jada Bellamy (14.2ppg) represents a second viable scoring option for the Scorpions, who had a 12-game winning streak snapped in the East Central Conference Tournament Championship following a 56-43 setback to Northside-Jacksonsville.