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Hoggard boys pour on offense to top North Brunswick

Hoggard's Trevor Singleton reaches over North Brunswick's Jaeden Phillips for a rebound during their Tuesday night game at Hoggard High School. (Photo by Photo By: Jeff Janowski/StarNews Media)

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

Hoggard's boys basketball team used that strategy to beat North Brunswick on Tuesday night, shutting down the Scorpions' transition game with ruthlessly efficient offense en route to a 61-52 win.

"The best way to stop a transition team is to make shots and make them take the ball out." North Brunswick coach Bryan Hayes said after the game.

Hoggard shot 48 percent for the game and 54 percent in the second half to pull away. Trevor Singleton had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Joe O'Donnell added 20 points to lead four Hoggard players in double figures.

Even Seth Thomas, averaging 3.6 points per game this season, scored 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting. Thomas also drained a pair of critical free throws with 25 seconds remaining to give Hoggard the final margin.

"We did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball," Hoggard coach Brett Queen said. "We scored in some different ways tonight. We were able to drive. It was a different kind of game than we've been playing, but that was good because some people in our conference are going to challenge us that way."

By continually making baskets, Hoggard slowed North Brunswick's transition attack and forced the Scorpions to attack a set defense. Hoggard wasn't shy about using dead-ball substitutions to slow the game, either.

"They're really quick, so we had to do some different things to be able to slow them down," Queen said. "It wasn't a situation where we could just do what we usually do."

Adding to North Brunswick's struggles was the lack of Hoggard turnovers. North Brunswick averaged 11.3 steals per game heading into Tuesday's game, but the Scorpions only came up with five.

The combined effect prevented North Brunswick from stringing together the turnover-fueled scoring runs that have sparked many of the Scorpions' wins. Instead, North Brunswick settled for long jump shots and fell into turnovers of its own.

North Brunswick struggled to close the gap to a manageable margin, and Hoggard led by as many as 13 in the second half. The Scorpions did close to within seven points in the final minute, but free throws from Thomas and O'Donnell kept the final rally at bay.

"We've got some good sets and I felt we got some open opportunities, but we didn't handle them," Hayes said. "We threw it away or missed shots."

With the win, Hoggard has now won six of its past eight games heading into conference play.

"We knew that as long as we kept approaching things the right way, the wins would start coming," Queen said. "We need to continue that. This time of year you need to play with confidence."