Wildcats top Vikings for title


New Hanover players celebrate their 48-47 victory over Hoggard in the Mideastern Conference championship game Friday night at Laney High School. (Photo by Jeff Janowski)


After two games that were decided by 20 points or more during the regular season, the Mideastern Conference championship game between New Hanover and Hoggard was due for some drama.

The Wildcats and Vikings did not disappoint.

New Hanover narrowly escaped with an exhilarating 48-47 win over Hoggard to capture the title Friday night at Laney’s gym.

The two teams traded baskets in the final minutes of regulation, and with 1.9 seconds remaining, the Vikings had the ball with a chance to win the game. However, the in-bounds pass intended for Trevor Singleton was knocked away by the Wildcats as the last second ticked off the clock.

“I told the guys before the game it was going to come down to the last four minutes,” said New Han­over coach Kirk Angel. “They’re a very mentally tough team. They got tired and we got tired, and it came down to mental toughness. It’s a good win.”

The Vikings scored the first seven points of the game and did not trail in the first half, taking a 27-22 lead into the break. Much of the Vikings’ focus was to key on Trevon Brown, who seemingly has been un-guardable as of late.

“They definitely were (keying on Brown),” said Angel. “Joe (O’ Donnell) was doing a good job fronting him in the post. They’re such a well-disciplined defensive team. They very rarely get caught out of position.”

In the second half, the Wildcats went on an 11-4 opening run to take their first lead of the game, 33-31. Just three minutes into the third quarter, though, forward Nigel Holley picked up his third foul of the game.

 Angel made a bold move and kept Holley in, and it paid off. Holley finished the game with 11 points and seven rebounds while playing outstanding defense against Singleton. Singleton finished the game with 12 points, an average night by his standards.

With the win, the Wildcats will most likely play Ashley in the first round of the state tournament on Monday. It would be the fourth time the two teams have met this season.

“This time of the year is all about momentum. If we catch fire at the right time, maybe we can do some damage,” Angel said.

The Wildcats certainly have plenty of that, having now won six of their last seven.

Brown led the Wildcats with 19 points in the win, while Austin Louthan led the Vikings with 13.