Vikings hold on

Hoggard's Joe O'Donnell (left) shoots while defended by Ashley's Quincy Rhodes at Ashley in Wilmington on Friday. (Photo by Matt Born)

Ashley was headed toward another late-game comeback win – until Hoggard's Joe O'Donnell took over.

The Hoggard senior guard scored seven of the Vikings' final nine points Friday night, including the go-ahead bucket, to give the Vikings a 57-52 road win against Ashley and put Hoggard alone in first place in Mideastern Conference boys basketball.

"He was big all night," Hoggard coach Brett Queen said of O'Donnell. "We saw some things that they were doing defensively that we thought we could take advantage of with him, and did a great job of executing in the second half."

O'Donnell scored 21 points for the game, but his main contribution was countering Ashley's furious comeback. The Screaming Eagles (12-4, 3-1) rallied from 13 down and tied the game at 50 with 1:31 to play.

O'Donnell countered with a driving three-point play – the layup was ruled good after a goaltending call and O'Donnell made the free throw to put Hoggard up for good. O'Donnell added two more three throws to seal the game.

For much of the second half, it didn't look like the Vikings (10-6, 4-0) would need any heroics. Hoggard led by two at halftime and extended the lead to double-digits in the third quarter.

Even while things deteriorated for Ashley, the Screaming Eagles fought back by taking advantage of quick shots by Hoggard and converting in transition.

When Ashley tied the game at 50, Trey Eller, Tony Mack and Quincy Rhodes had already fouled out. T.J. Williams scored 13 to lead the Ashley comeback and Tyre Gathright added 10.

But Hoggard was able to counter just enough, and instead of Ashley pulling out another late-game win, Hoggard finally closed out a close game.

For the Vikings, Tuesday's win was especially important after watching a series of close games slip away in a tough nonconference schedule.

"I have never once questioned the mentality of our guys," Queen said. "But at some point, you've got to be able to say to your guys, this is why we did what we did. And I was able to say that to them tonight."

Girls: Ashley 50 Hoggard 32

Ashley's girls basketball team overpowered Hoggard, dominating the boards and using a halfcourt trap to create easy buckets.

Ashley led 22-10 at halftime, and when Hoggard closed to within six points in the third quarter, Ashley responded with an 8-0 run to put the game out of reach.

The Screaming Eagles (13-3, 4-0) also dominated the glass, outrebounding Hoggard 29 to 11. Felicity Havens scored 16 points and added seven rebounds, while Breanna Edwards scored 14 with seven rebounds.

"We talked about that in the locker room: We rebound, we're going to win," Ashley coach Adrienne Gale said. "We're the bigger team, the stronger team, and we have to crash."

Sarah Downing scored 11 points to lead Hoggard (7-8, 2-2).

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