Wildcats rally past Tigers for victory
East Chapel Hill outscored rival Chapel Hill 10-2 over the final 2:40 of Friday night’s game, including Louis Levin’s tiebreaking layup with two seconds left, to down the Tigers 38-34.
In the girls’ game opener, Jessica Wall led all scorers with 18 points as Chapel Hill raced to a 20-0 lead to open the game and won 72-25.
The Chapel Hill girls improved to 3-0, while ECH dropped to 0-3.
The nightcap featured Wildcats and Tigers of different stripes.
“A chess match; that’s exactly what it was,” Chapel Hill coach Tod Morgan said.
East Chapel Hill coach Ray Hartsfield had a different take on the cross-county rivalry. “War” and “donnybrook” were Hartsfield’s words.
Justen Best’s four-point play with 51 seconds left — he was fouled while making a 3-pointer from the corner — brought East Chapel Hill back from two points down to a two-point lead.
“I called for a 3, not a 4,” Hartsfield said of the four-point play.
Chapel Hill’s Anthony Vanhook tied it with a layup underneath off a feed by Brian Thornton in the right corner with 13 seconds left, and Levin’s drive for his only basket of the game won it for the Wildcats with two seconds left.
“Levin has three options on that play, two of them passes,” Hartsfield said. “But he can drive and he can score, and that was one of his options and he made it.”
The low-scoring game was created by tenacious mostly zone defense and probing offense, with both teams going early to the Four Corners made famous in town by former North Carolina coach Dean Smith.
Chapel Hill, which welcomed star power forward Vanhook back for the first time after missing a pair of games with a sprained wrist, used him less than normal, and he struggled with his shot. But Vanhook did contribute, finishing with a team-high seven rebounds, and his nine points were just a pair behind Chapel Hill leader Stephen Himmelberg’s 11.
East Chapel Hill led 15-12 at the half and 23-21 on a 3-pointer by Malik McCray at the end of three quarters, an appetizer for what was to follow. A second McCray 3-pointer, this one to open the fourth quarter, got the packed house rocking.
But then Himmelberg began taking charge, scoring eight points in three minutes, six from the line and two on a steal and layup.
Robert Wilson and Vanhook traded buckets, and Chapel Hill led 32-28 with 4:12 left.
Wilson’s two free throws with 2:40 to play cut the margin to two, and ECH got the ball back with 1:52 to play setting up Levin’s pass to Best in the right corner for the go-ahead four-point play.
Morgan called three consecutive timeouts to set up a court-length pass from forward Ryan Hegedus on the ECH baseline to Thornton with 0:02 on the clock, but Hegedus’ high pass bounced off a low-riding ceiling beam at midcourt — out of bounds by rule.
“We don’t have an issue with that in our gym,” Morgan said. “We would’ve liked to have gotten something done on that play, but one play didn’t decide the game.”
With ECH up by a pair, Levin just had to inbound the ball to end it. Himmelberg pulled Best to the floor for a foul without the clock starting, but the foul was ruled to be intentional.
Best hit two technical free throws, and East Chapel Hill got the ball back with no drama left but for security officials to attempt to keep the home fans from rushing the court.
ECH (B) 38, Chapel Hill 34
CHAPEL HILL — Stephen Himmelberg 11, Anthony Vanhook 9, Ryan Hegedus 8, Jamison Richmond 4, Wilson Collins 2.
EAST CHAPEL HILL — Arkavius Parks 2, Tykeem Woodard 3, Louis Levin 3, Jake Hilkey 2, Justen Best14, Robert Wilson 8, Malik McCray 6.
East Chapel Hill|8|7|8|15—38
Rebounds—CH 24 (Vanhook 7), ECH 21 (Levin 6, Hilkey 5). Assists—CH 5 (Brian Thornton 2), ECH 6 (Levin 4). Steals—CH 6 (Himmelberg 3), ECH 7 (Wilson 3). Blocks—CH 1 (Vanhook), ECH 4 (Wilson, Lawyer Dallas, Hilkey, Parks).
Records—Chapel Hill 2-1, East Chapel Hill 3-1.
Chapel Hill (G) 72, ECH 25
CHAPEL HILL — Tamia Eatmon 8, Laura Musalem 4, Autumn West 6, Arianne Jacobs 6, Sophie Bozymski 2, Jessica Wall 18, Mariah Jacobs 9, Raziyah Farrington 6, Catherine Romaine 4, Jamella Smith 4, Olivia Clayton 2, Jasmine Suitt 4.
EAST CHAPEL HILL — Ali Cyr-Scully 6, Teara Holt 5, Riley Foster 1, Jazmine Daye 1, Adrienne Davis 7, Sarah Towne 5.
East Chapel Hill|2|9|6|8—25
Records—Chapel Hill 3-0, East Chapel Hill 0-3.