Wildcats top Eagles, reach tourney final


New Hanover's Trevon Brown does a little twirl past Ashley's Tyre Gathright Thursday night at Hoggard High School where the Wildcats defeated the Screaming Eagles 61- 50 putting them into the MEC Championships Friday night at Laney High School. (Photo by Jeff Janowski)


Trevon Brown stepped up yet again for New Hanover and led the Wildcats back to the Mideastern Conference tournament boys basketball finals with a 61-50 win against Ashley on Thursday.

Brown scored 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter to break open a close game. He scored seven of New Hanover’s first eight points in the fourth quarter as the Wildcats built a late double-digit lead.

“He’s been huge all season,” New Hanover coach Kirk Angel said. “When I went to him at the point guard, it saved our season.”

Brown’s late scoring outburst came at a critical moment: Ashley coach Bryn McSwain picked up a technical foul late in the third quarter and was ejected with a second technical in the fourth quarter for standing up on the bench. Brown picked up the scoring immediately after McSwain left the game.

“When Bryn got tossed I told them one of two things is going to happen,” Angel said. “They’re either going to come out with their pants on fire or they’re going to fold. And our guys did a good job.”

With the win, New Hanover (13-9) has now won five of its last six games, all by double figures. The Wildcats have relied on Brown and a much-improved defense. On Thursday, New Hanover held Ashley (16-8) to just 25 percent shooting in the second half.

We can do that when everybody buys in,” Angel said. “We’ve got to turn around and bring it tomorrow night, win a championship and get into the first round of the playoffs and see what happens.”

Boys basketball: Hoggard 55, Rose 46

Hoggard’s offense wasn’t clicking at full steam on Thursday night, but the Vikings still had enough juice to dispatch Rose and cruise into the Mideastern Conference Tournament Championship finals for the fifth straight year.

The Vikings won 55-46 despite shooting just 39 percent for the game. The Trevor Singleton-Joe O’Donnell tandem was its usual productive self, combining for 41 of Hoggard’s 55 points.

“We do a good job of getting them the ball in places where they could be successful,” Hoggard coach Brett Queen said. “Joe passed the ball well tonight and that probably freed him up for some of those shots later.”

The Rampants also obliged Hoggard (16-7) with an abysmal shooting night. Rose(10-14) made shot just 27 percent from the floor on Thursday.

“I thought our defense was pretty good all night long,” Queen said. “They gave us some trouble up there. We had a hard time slowing them down. I was really happy with our defensive intensity.”

The win was Queen’s 200th at Hoggard and sends the Vikings to the Mideastern Conference Tournament Championship game again. Even though both New Hanover and Hoggard have playoff seeding locked up for next week, Queen said the Vikings still desperately want to win.

“We’re going for a championship,” Queen said. “You don’t get many opportunities to do that. These kids get four years in high school, two or three years most of them at a varsity level. They don’t get that many opportunities to win a championship, and we want to win it.”