Oh, it's you again


Tiana Edwards and the Laney girls basketball team will see a very familiar foe in the first round of the state 4A playoffs when they meet Hoggard for the fifth time this season Monday. (Photo by Jeff Janowski)


On Wednesday, Laney girls basketball coach Sherri Tynes called Hoggard the most improved team in the Mideastern Conference.

Tynes and Laney will hope the Vikings haven’t improved too much – they drew Hoggard in the first round of the NCHSAA state playoffs on Monday.

“It’s not often you’re going to play a team five times in a row,” Tynes said. “It’s never easy. We expect that we’re going to have to show up and play well and execute, but we’d have to do that against anybody this time of year.”

The Laney-Hoggard re-re-re-match is one of several conference rematches locally, including three with New Hanover County teams.

Also in the girls bracket, Ashley hosts New Hanover in the two teams’ fourth meeting this season, and the winner of that game plays the Laney-Hoggard winner – potentially a fifth matchup between Laney and Ashley.

Both the Buccaneer girls and the Wildcat boys are hoping late momentum swings will carry them through rematch games and deep into the playoffs.

For Laney, a season’s worth of resume building culminated Friday night with a late comeback win against Ashley to win a conference tournament championship.

Now, the Bucs have a No. 3 overall seed and are hoping to stay around long enough to see the other elite teams in a stacked 4A East girls bracket, specifically undefeated Southeast Raleigh and Seventy-First.

“Any time that we have excelled through the playoffs we’ve had to face a team out of Fayetteville and Raleigh,” Tynes said.  “They’re tough. … But this is the time of year where anything can happen.”

New Hanover’s boys have won six of their past seven games, including a one-point victory on Friday to win the Mideastern Conference championship. Their reward is a first-round playoff game against a tough local opponent in Ashley.

“We have been playing really well,” Angel said. “It’s hard to beat somebody twice, much less three times.”

New Hanover has one thing that most teams don’t: a pair of state-championship veterans. Trevon Brown and Nigel Holley, the Wildcats’ leading scorers, have been part of varsity teams for the past three and four seasons, respectively, and have amassed a 13-2 playoff record.

“They know what this time is all about. I leaned on them. I told them, ‘I coach the team, but this is your team.’ ”

The one team that does get to see a fresh face is the Hoggard boys – but even they face Terry Sanford, who the Vikings played in the postseason last year, and are coached by Bill Boyette, who preceded Queen at Hoggard.

“There’s nothing we can do about that,” Queen said. “I’m glad we’re not playing against somebody from our conference. But I wish that Bill and I didn’t have to coach against each other.”

Queen added that even with a fresh opponent, the quick turnaround between the conference tournament finals on Friday and the first round of the playoffs on Monday means there isn’t much time for X’s and O’s adjustments. Angel agreed.

“This time of the year, it’s more mental than physical,” Angel said.



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