NHHS-Hoggard, Laney-Ashley on tap Tuesday with big implications


Ashley's Jamie Durham looks to pass against Hoggard at Ashley Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. (Photo by Matt Born)


Laney High School girls basketball coach Sherri Tynes slipped into the gym of cross-county rival Ashley on Friday night, hoping to do a little scouting.

Tynes wanted a last glimpse of Ashley before the Screaming Eagles visited Laney on Tuesday. After all, rivalry week in the Mideastern Conference means Laney and Ashley squaring off. And, true to form, this year’s first installment of games arrive with plenty more than pride on the line.

The two area girls powers again are vying for a conference title. On Friday’s scouting trip, Tynes saw much that was familiar in Ashley’s 50-32 win against Hoggard.

“What else would we do on a Friday night,” Tynes joked. “We were there to see both: a much-improved Hoggard team and the same hard-nosed Ashley team.”

Tynes is not only familiar with Ashley, she’s familiar with the critical situations that most likely will accompany Tuesday’s game. It will be the eighth meeting in three seasons between the teams. They are 4-4 in that stretch as Ashley narrowly edged Laney for the regular-season conference title last year.

 “Every time we play it always seems like we’re playing for something really significant,” Tynes said. “And that elevates the importance of the game.”

Ashley took the teams’ first matchup this season, beating the Bucs by two points in the Brogden Tournament championship game.

But Laney  comes off a 32-point win against Lakewood, previously the top-ranked Class 1A team in the state. With a game Monday night against Rose before facing Ashley, Tynes said she was also happy with how her team has progressed.

“The balance that we’ve got to have, I think we’re seeing a little more of that,” Tynes said. “As a group the kids know their roles and what they’re capable of doing.”

Ashley coach Adrienne Gale won’t miss her chance to appraise things for herself. With the Screaming Eagles off, Gale said she’d likely stop by for a scouting visit of her own.

“I‘m sure I’ll drop by,” she said.

Wildcats, Vikings, oh my

On the boys side, the stakes are as high as they usually are. Hoggard and New Hanover are currently  No. 1 and 2 in the Mideastern Conference. The Wildcats could create a three-way tie for first place with a win Tuesday night against the Vikings in Hebbe Gym.

Hoggard came out on the losing end of the rivalry last year – New Hanover won three matchups by a combined 80 points – but Queen said the Vikings aren’t discussing last year.

“We haven’t talked about it at all,” Queen said. “They’re a completely different team. We’re different than what we were last year.”

Even without using past games for motivation, neither team will have much trouble getting up for the game. Queen doesn’t even anticipate the turnaround from a roller-coaster win against Ashley on Friday night to be a problem. He cited the Vikings’ experienced roster, a tough nonconference schedule, and, oh yeah, the cross-town rivalry.

“If these guys have a hard time being focused and energetic for these games against teams in our conference and in our city, then we’ve got bigger issues,” Queen said. “I don’t think that will be a problem.”



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