CHAPEL HILL — Sophomore Brian Thornton scored 14 points, and senior Anthony Vanhook added 13 as the Chapel Hill high school boys basketball team edged Oxford Webb 55-52 Friday Night in Chapel Hill.
The win for the Tigers draws them even with the Warriors in the Carolina 3A Conference as both teams are now 7-1 in conference play.
Vanhook, who also had seven rebounds, four steals and four assists, came up with a crucial steal with just under a minute left in the ball game. Trailing by three points, Webbs Mitron Terry drove down the right side of the lane only to be met by Vanhooks sweeping right hand.
That was huge, Chapel Hill coach Tod Morgan said. That steal and pitch ahead to Elliot and a great lay-up finish. That was a big play. In big games, big time players step up in big games and I think Anthony did that tonight.
After the steal, the senior wingman hit Elliot Orenstein in transition for an open layup. That play put the Tigers up by five with less than 50 seconds remaining. Webb closed the gap as big man Isaiah Hicks hit a late 3-pointer, but the Tigers sealed the win at the free-throw line.
Hicks had a dominating performance in the loss. He finished the night with a game-high 16 points to go along with eight rebounds, three assists and six blocks.
Chapel Hill jumped out to a hot start and led by 8-2 early in the first quarter. The Tigers ended the first period with 20 points and a six-point lead. But that hot start soon cooled and the Warriors made their way back into the game by holding Chapel Hill to just eight points in both the second and third quarters.
We had a good game plan, I felt like our kids believed in it, Morgan said about the quick start.
I felt like were ready. It was good to see us get that quick start because then, all that preparation and planning came to fruition. The only thing I worried was that the pace may have been too good. We get 20 points in the first quarter and we love that and we had the lead but thats playing at a higher pace than I wanted to play.
The Tigers slowed down in the next two quarters and Webb took its first lead of the game early in the second half as Stephan Cates made a 3-pointer off of an assist from Hicks. That tied the score at 30 and was a part of the 11-2 run the Warriors put together to start the half.
I think theres a lot of emotion. Webb coach Leo Brunelli said about how his team clawed back into the game. We were overextending things and thats part of it. These are all the tests that weve got to be able to handle Theyre not going to ever stop fighting.
It was Vanhook that took the lead back for the Tigers midway through the final quarter. He made a nifty reverse layup on an assist from Thornton to put Chapel Hill up 48-46 and the Tigers never trailed again.