Monday, April 22, 2024

New Hanover girls take down Hoggard in first-place battle; Three rivalry games decided by five combined points

Boys basketball

 Hoggard 45    New Hanover 43

In three matchups between Hoggard and New Hanover last season, all were decided by five points or less. So, it was only fitting the first meeting of the 2016-17 season came down to the wire.

Robert Wilkerson led Hoggard in the scoring column on Tuesday. Photo courtesy- John Crouch
Robert Wilkerson led Hoggard in the scoring column on Tuesday. Photo courtesy- John Crouch

Tuesday’s rivalry game marked the final contest between the two crosstown foes at James Hebbe Gymnasium as Hoggard gets ready to move into its new home. The back and forth play lasted until the final minute when Robert Wilkerson and Keon Bradley each knocked down a pair of clutch free throws to seal a 45-43 victory.

The win by Hoggard creates a four way tie atop the Mideastern Conference with New Hanover, West Brunswick and Ashley. The Vikings improved to 5-2 in league play and 11-6 overall.

With a one-point lead moving into the final frame, Patrick Morrison keyed a 7-0 run with a three-pointer from the top of the arc. Two foul shots from Wilkerson grew the Vikings advantage to 37-29 before Justin Aldrich recorded his first field goal to close the New Hanover deficit to six with 5:59 to play in regulation.

Wilkerson led the way with 16 points on four field goals, one shot from long range and 5 of 7 free throws. Morrison added eight and Tyler Steinman contributed with seven points, including a strong drive in the lane to give Hoggard a 41-38 edge with 2:38 remaining.

Ramello Williams recorded a game-high 19 points, but the New Hanover standout was held scoreless over the final eight minutes thanks to lock down defense by Hoggard. Freddie Taylor and Hayden Edger had seven points apiece.

The Wildcats dropped to 5-2 in conference and 14-5 overall.

 NHHS       15-4-10-14=43

Hoggard   9-14-7-15=45


Laney 54     Ashley 53   

Chris Bennett. Photo courtesy- Rodney Williams
Chris Bennett. Photo courtesy- Rodney Williams

Three players finished in double figures for Laney on Tuesday night as Chris Bennett came alive for 10 of his 12 points in the decisive fourth quarter. The Bucs let an early lead slip away only to come back and grab a 54-53 victory against Ashley.

The Screaming Eagles have been no stranger to playing from behind. In a season where the garnet and gold have rallied multiple times to get in the win column, the junction boys erased an early 14-point deficit.

 Tyquan Berry capped an impressive opening period for Laney when he banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to give home side a 19-5 cushion. But, Ashley closed to within striking distance at the break. An 11-0 run for the Screaming Eagles to start the second half helped Ashley draw even, 38-38, moving into the decisive fourth quarter.

 The Screaming Eagles used a 6-1 spurt over the opening stages of the final frame to gain separation before Bennett pulled the home team ahead one last time. Berry finished with a team-high 16 points, while Hunter Cook chipped in with 10. Berry and Bennett combined for 12 rebounds.

Ashley dropped to 5-2 in league play and 11-7 overall. Laney improved to 2-4 in the division and 9-9 on the year.

Ashley    5-16-17-15=53

Laney     19-11-8-16=54

Azariah Fields. Photo courtesy- Rodney Williams
Azariah Fields. Photo courtesy- Rodney Williams

Girls basketball

New Hanover 57    Hoggard 41

 It’s been a long time coming for the New Hanover girls basketball team as the Wildcats got over a big hurdle on Tuesday night.  In a match up between two previously unbeaten teams atop the Mideastern Conference, New Hanover pulled away from its crosstown rivals during a third-quarter surge to grab a 57-41 result inside James Hebbe Gymnasium.

With the win, New Hanover defeated Hoggard for the first time since December 2015. The Wildcats took possession of first-place in the division standings, improving to 7-0 in league play and 16-2 overall. New Hanover is now winners of nine in a row.

The lead was no more than two possessions for either team during the first half. The Wildcats carried a 28-22 edge at the break, but went on a decisive 8-2 run to start the third quarter thanks to a balanced effort. New Hanover outscored the Vikings 16-6 during the frame for a 44-28 cushion moving into the final period.

Azariah Fields finished with a team-high 16 points, including two makes from long range. She was 7 of 13 from the field. New Hanover shot 52 percent as a team, while Michelle Jacobs added 12 points as nine different Wildcats found the scoring sheet.

Following a mid-range jumper by Lola Lovitt to put Hoggard ahead, 17-15, with just under six minutes to play in the second quarter, Ayonna Cotten sparked an 8-0 push for New Hanover. An assist from Cotten to Elizabeth Criner for a base line jumper started the spurt. Cotten followed with four straight points to build a lead New Hanover wouldn’t relinquish. The senior guard chipped in with 11 points and five assists. Fields also dished five assists and grabbed four steals.

Lovitt scored a game-high 23 points to lead Hoggard, but 22 turnovers created an uphill battle for a team that made just 4-of-16 attempts from beyond the arc and 9-for-16 at the free throw line.

Lexi Melville. Photo courtesy- Rodney Williams
Lexi Melville. Photo courtesy- Rodney Williams

Despite the disappointing setback, there’s a silver lining for the Vikings (6-1, 15-2), who saw its season long 12 game win streak snapped. Although its a different team and not one player was on the squad from the 2015 push, the last time Hoggard dropped a contest to New Hanover, the Vikings ran off 16 straight to advance to the final four in the state for the first time in school history.

NHHS        11-17-16-13=57

Hoggard   11-11-6-13=41


Laney 35     Ashley 33

 A closely played match up in Buctown was decided late in the fourth quarter when Lexi Melville drained the game-winning three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to give Laney a 35-33 triumph against Ashley. Melville led the way with 14 points.

The Bucs moved to 3-3 in conference and 12-6 ovearll. Ashley dropped to 1-6 in the division and 4-12 this season.

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