WILMINGTON — The South Brunswick boys basketball team finished 1-2 in the Hoggard Holiday Classic tournament Dec. 27-29. The Cougars lost to Cape Fear Academy, beat Heritage and lost to East Bladen.
Cape Fear 56, South 34
Cape Fear Academy used a pressing defense to take a 12-0 lead and went on to beat a cold-shooting South Brunswick team 56-34 Dec. 27.
The Hurricanes entered the game 8-2, which includes a 57-37 victory Dec. 1 against West Brunswick.
Against South, back-to-back dunks off turnovers gave the Hurricanes a 12-0 lead. A 3-pointer extended the lead to 17-4. The quarter ended 19-4.
A 3-pointer and a three-point play put the Hurricanes ahead 29-4 with 3 minutes, 55 seconds left in the half. Back-to-back 3-pointers extended the lead to 35-9 at halftime.
South outscored the Hurricanes 17-14 in the third quarter. Cape Fear used a deliberate offense in the final quarter as South outscored the Hurricanes 8-7.
For the Cougars, Demerius Wise scored 10 points and Caleb Bernard nine. Rashad McNeil scored seven points, Tony Cox five and Lamarean Mason three.
South 56, Heritage 45
The Cougars started 11-3, hit 3-pointers at the start of the second quarter and sank free throws in the fourth quarter in thwarting a Heritage (Wake Forest) Huskies rally and winning 56-45 Dec. 28.
“We can’t start in an 18-point hole and expect to win,” South coach Mike Loutzenheiser said, alluding to the defeat the previous day. “That’s what we talked about in our shoot-around today, that we have to come out a little bit faster and we got to execute early — and score. Bottom line is we just gotta score. And they did that today. I’m proud of them.”
The previous afternoon, Heritage won for the first time in 11 games this year, beating Topsail 58-28. But South started strong against the Huskies. McNeil scored twice and assisted on a score by Mason as the Cougars took a 6-0 lead. A 3-pointer by Bernard extended the lead to 11-3. The quarter ended 11-5.
The Cougars’ first three baskets in the second quarter were 3-pointers: from the right corner by Bernard, from the left wing by Bernard and from the right wing by Jon Braxton. The scores put the Cougars ahead 20-11.
“I told them at halftime,” Loutzenheiser said, “I’ve never been so excited to see a 3 go in because it feels like we haven’t been able to make any lately. And for us to hit two or three of them in that quarter, I think it kind of lifted a big burden off of everybody’s shoulders, it made them feel a little bit loose. They kind of played with some energy and some confidence.
“It was great to see Caleb Bernard hit a couple, because that kid could stroke it. He’s just been in a little bit of a slump.”
For the game, Bernard hit three 3-pointers and scored 23 points.
The Cougars led 40-26 after three quarters and had an 18-point lead early in the final quarter, but the Huskies rallied. After leading 44-26, South made one basket and one free throw as Heritage cut the lead to 47-40 with 2:44 left. South kept its lead as it made free throws in the final 2:28. For the quarter, Wise made 6 of 8 free throws. For the game, he made 8 of 12 and scored 10 points. McNeil also scored 10 points.
Loutzenheiser said Wise and McNeil, his senior forward/centers, were key players in the victory.
“We’re going to live and die with those two guys,” he said. “We got great guards and they play hard, but if we don’t get some points out of our bigs, we’re in trouble. And both of those two, Rashad and Demerius, played a great game, worked hard on both ends of the court — that’s what I’m most proud about. They scored and we needed it, but they also really clogged the paint, made them shoot jumpers, kept people out of the inside. And that’s what we need from those guys.”
Mason scored six points, Cox four and Braxton three.
“We needed a win,” Loutzenheiser said. “It was nice to get one. It was a team effort. Everybody contributed.”
East Bladen 72, South 48
East Bladen sank 10 3-pointers in beating the Cougars 72-48 Dec. 29.
The previous afternoon against Topsail, East Bladen won 69-40 in improving to 8-1.
In the game against South, the first quarter ended 13-13. In the second quarter, the Eagles outscored the Cougars 8-2 in taking a 19-13 lead. East Bladen then hit two 3-pointers and converted a three-point play in extending the lead to 32-17.
Braxton sank a 3-pointer but the Eagles ended the half on an 8-0 run in taking a 40-20 lead.
The Eagles dominated the opening minutes of the second half, outscoring the Cougars 13-0 — a spree that included two dunks and three 3-pointers — and widening the lead to 53-20. The quarter ended 62-33.
Eagle senior guard Malcolm Bolden sank three 3-pointers and scored 22 points. He had seven assists and three steals. Eagle senior guard Jacob Nixon sank four 3-pointers and scored 19 points. He had six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Both players were named to the All-Classic team.
South, which dressed eight players for the game, dropped to 3-8. Bernard sank three 3-pointers and scored 20 points. He was named to the All-Classic team. Mason scored 10 points, Cox seven, McNeil five, Braxton four and Andrew Hankins two.