Thursday, July 25, 2024

New Hanover boys stay hot in 4A bracket; West Brunswick comeback falls short

No. 5 New Hanover 62    No. 13 J.H. Rose 52

Playing for the third time in five days, the New Hanover boys’ basketball team continued its torrid postseason run and held serve at Brogden Hall as the Wildcats sprinted past No. 13 J.H. Rose 62-52 on Saturday afternoon.

No. 5 New Hanover returns to action in the fourth round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs against No. 1 seed Cary. The Imps held off No. 25 Leesville Road 54-50 to advance to the final eight in the state. New Hanover fell to Cary 60-53 in the Leon Brogden Holiday Tournament at UNCW in their only meeting this season.

Freddie Taylor.
Freddie Taylor. Photos courtesy- John Crouch

“My guys are playing right now,” said New Hanover Coach Kirk Angel. “We’re guarding, playing defense. It’s just about surviving and advancing at this point. We had chances to win both of those games earlier this season so it’s just about having fun and see what happens.”

For the second consecutive outing, the Wildcats used a big second quarter push to break away from their opponents, outscoring the Rampants 11-3 during the eight-minute stretch. J.H. Rose recorded its only field goal of the period with 1:52 left in the first half.  New Hanover went on a decisive 14-0 spurt in Thursday’s victory against Green Hope.

Blake Smith and Freddie Taylor each knocked down a triple in the frame to help give the Wildcats a 28-16 lead at the break. Smith went 7 of 8 from the free throw line during the fourth quarter to help preserve the result, closing with a team-high 13 points.

“Freddie [Taylor] guarded tonight and hit some big shots,” Angel added. “He passed it, stole it. We ran Blake [Smith] out there to knock down some free throws, subbing offense-defense, with Blake and Wiz [Vaughn] and made them when we needed them. We had a bunch of guys in double figures. Acchaeus [Fields] had one of the best athletes guarding him and he did other things to help us out, at the line, on the glass.”

Taylor kept the momentum going with his second trey of the game on a step-back jumper after a cross-over dribble created space from his defender to grab a 35-19 advantage with 2:51 left in the third quarter. The sophomore point guard finished with 10 points, while Shaq Hampton and Malique Jacobs chipped in with 11 points apiece.

Ramello Williams.
Ramello Williams.

J.H. Rose closed the deficit early in the final act thanks to five successful trifectas, but Jacobs knocked down consecutive buckets to stretch the cushion back to double figures, 45-33, at the five-minute mark of regulation. Smith and Acchaeus Fields put the exclamation point on the victory with a solid stroke from the charity stripe

New Hanover moved to 12-1 at home this season and 24-5 overall. They look to keep their season going on Tuesday, March 1.

3A playoffs

 No. 3 Havelock 84    No. 6 West Brunswick 81

 Down by 10 headed into the fourth quarter, West Brunswick narrowed the gap to one possession as No. 3 Havelock held off a late push to hand the Trojans an 84-81 season-ending setback on Saturday.

No. 6 West Brunswick trailed by three after the opening period and were down 37-30 at the half when Havelock knocked down buzzer beater from long range for the seven-point advantage. The lead swelled to double figures when the Trojans got to within two, 79-75, with 1:32 left.


West Brunswick ended the year 19-9 overall.

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