WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - What a difference a year has made for the New Hanover boys basketball team.
The Wildcats (21-5) are the No. 2 seed in the 3A East playoff bracket after finishing 15-11 the year before.
“They got beat up a lot last year,” said New Hanover coach Kirk Angel. “They remember and they bought in and have got after it.”
Eight of the sixteen players on the roster are freshmen and sophomores. Young and old have bonded around one goal.
“I think it's just the will to win,” said New Hanover senior Mikai Stanley. “Especially the seniors. We're not trying to lose… this is it. I think the young guys understand that.”
“Just trusting each other to make shots that’s when we make the extra pass,” added New Hanover sophomore Dee Barnett.
The Wildcats have taken care of business, winning both the Mideastern regular season and tournament championship. Still, the coach had one simple message for his team after their last victory.
“Congratulations you’ve done your body of work,” said Angel. “Now this is do or die. You lose, it’s done, season over. You go with your teams and I’ll see you during spring practice.”
The Wildcats will face 15th seeded Person High School on Tuesday at Brogden Hall at 7 p.m.