Full Court Press: Ashley girls and New Hanover boys claim MEC titles

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BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY)–Friday night finished up the Mideastern Conference tournament with the Ashley girls and New Hanover boys winning the 2020 MEC tournament titles.

In the girls game, the Ashley Screaming Eagles jumped out to the 12 point lead at the half and cruised to their first MEC title since 2012 beating Laney, 53-41. It was another monster double-double for Saniya Rivers, the junior finished with 24 points and 20 rebounds.

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“I know everybody feels like without me Laney’s nothing, but that is a really good basketball team regardless,”said Ashley junior Saniya Rivers. “Playing against them and getting the win with my girls it just feels amazing.”

It was another good night offensively for Taylor Chism. The Laney sophomore scored a team-high 13 points, but it wasn’t enough for the Buccaneers. The win for Ashley leaves them with a perfect record throughout the year in conference play, just one of the goals the Eagles set for themselves.

“We have little pieces of accomplishments and goals that we try to do throughout the year and this was one of them,”said Ashley head coach Adrienne Gale. “We went into Tuesday thinking that we wanted to be undefeated this week and we did just that.”



The boys championship game was controlled by Hoggard through a half of basketball. The Vikings led New Hanover 25-20 at the break, but the pace of the game begun to change in the third quarter. The Wildcats outscored Hoggard 19-10 in the third quarter on their way to the 59-54 conference championship win.

The title is New Hanover’s third in the past four years and they knew it wasn’t going to be easy beating a team three times in the same season.

“I told the kids before the game we’ve beaten them twice and its really tough to beat a well coached good team three times,”said New Hanover head coach Angel Kirk. “I am proud of the way our kids battled after some early adversity and just glad we got the job done.”

Sophomore guard Dee Barnett led the Wildcats in scoring with 17 points , while James Jones Jr. chipped in 14 off the bench in the the win.  It took awhile for New Hanover to get going offensively after Hoggard started the game with a zone defense.

“At halftime coach Angel told us ‘they weren’t going to let us do what we wanted to offensively, so we had to just settle down in the half court’,”says Wildcats sophomore Dee Barnett. “That worked when we were able to make shots and defend.”

The Vikings were led in scoring by Sabastian Haidera with 16 points. The four schools will now have to wait and see where they land in next weeks NCHSAA playoffs. The seeding and brackets will be released on Sunday evening.

FULL COURT PRESS ALL-AREA TEAMS

GIRLS
Player of the Year: Saniya River – Ashley

First-Team
Chloe Kernan – Cape Fear Academy
Icess Tresvik – Hoggard
Patience Ward – East Bladen
Mia Seemedray – Ashley
Taylor Chism – Laney

Second-Team
Sydney Hartgrove – Topsail
Brooke Barton – Coastal Christian
Anisa Lewis – Heide Trask
Kennedy Martin – Laney
Julia Sullivan – Topsail

Honorable Mention
Anya Massey – Hoggard
Reagan Steward – Laney

BOYS
Player of the Year: Jajuan Carr – Pender

First-Team
Emmanuel Bonsu – Cape Fear Academy
Brady Rankin – Hoggard
Mikai Stanley – New Hanover
Jakwon Moore – Pender
Jadyn Parker – West Brunswick
Georges Lefebvre – Cape Fear Academy

Second-Team
Dee Barnett – New Hanover
Sebastian Haidera – Hoggard
Tyre Boykin – West Bladen
Brandis Kelly – West Columbus
Marc McLaurin – Laney

Honorable Mention
Skylar Davies – Coastal Christian
Reece Edwards – Laney
Maleec Myers – New Hanover