CHAPEL HILL — A rare Isaiah Hicks sighting was confirmed Wednesday night at Chapel Hill High School, but it wasn't on the court.
The 6-8 Hicks, a UNC recruit regarded as one of the nation's top power forwards, said he expects to play Friday, but that was no help to Oxford Webb as it faced undefeated Chapel Hill, rated No. 1 in the Triangle by the News & Observer, in a game to decide the leader of the Carolina 3A Conference.
The Warriors had to make do with only Hicks' best wishes from the stands and 20 points from K.J. Rogers. Chapel Hill countered with three players in double figures, led by Denzel Ingram's 26, in an 80-58 victory for the Tigers.
Anthony Vanhook added 13 and Stephen Himmelberg 12 for Chapel Hill (17-0, 3-0 conference).
Webb (9-4, 2-1), which had won six straight coming into Chapel Hill, led by 15-6 after a 3-point basket by Becker Seifert. The Warriors were still ahead 18-14 after the second of two first-quarter treys by Rogers.
Ingram scored eight points in a span of 4:38 and assisted on two baskets to spark a 12-2 run that gave Chapel Hill the lead for good. Ingram's baseline jumper with 5:42 left in the first half put the Tigers up 28-22.
"We picked up the tempo after the first quarter," said Ingram, who finished with six assists. "We started a bit slow, but we got it going."
Ingram applied the coup de grace with three straight transition layups in an 8-0 mini-run, putting Chapel Hill up 64-51 with 4:34 to play. CHHS pulled away with another 12-2 run to end the game.
"Chapel Hill looked pretty good, didn't they?" Webb coach Leo Brunelli said. "We talked about stopping their transition, but we didn't do a very good job of that."
Hicks expects to play when Chapel Hill makes its conference visit Feb. 3 to Oxford.
"I'll be playing this Friday" (against Northern Vance), Hicks said.
Hicks transferred back to Webb last summer from Raleigh's Body of Christ Academy shortly after committing to Roy Williams' UNC program. But he was ineligible to play for the Warriors in the fall semester.