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LELAND—Ryan Waldrep called it one of his best “hustle” games.
South Brunswick High School boys’ basketball coach Dan McGougan said Waldrep had a “good night, but he does that every night. But tonight was one of his best.”
And North Brunswick coach Travis Lemanski is hoping some of his underclassmen such as Reggie Cobia, Tyshon Walker and others can get to that level before their prep basketball careers come to an end.
Waldrep, a 6-foot-5 senior, scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed 20 rebounds Friday night as the Cougars whipped North Brunswick 53-33 to secure the Brunswick County championship with a 3-1 record.
“We executed well both offensively and defensively.” McGougan said after the Cougars improved to 6-4 in the Waccamaw 1A/2A Conference and 14-8 overall. They were coming off two close losses.
“We lost a couple of really tight games. We lost an overtime game with Pender at their place and then South Columbus threw one in at the last second the other night,” McGougan said.
“We battled really hard. We came back and played our county rival really hard today. I told the kids that before the game that if you win this game you’re county champs.”
“Coach gave us a pretty good pre-game speech,” Waldrep said. “He told us to play hard and that even though we lost to South Columbus, we still had something to play for. We all put it together. Everyone chipped in a little bit.”
Even before the game, Lemanski knew what Waldrep means to South Brunswick.
“I think he’s their best player,” he said, “I know Ervin (Hall) can do a lot of things as well, but (Waldrep) is their most fundamentally sound player.
“He brings the same game every night, hits the same shots from the same places on the floor and that’s one thing about being a go-to, consistent player.
“My guys are so young. There is no consistency. They might give me two minutes of great basketball and the next two minutes they’re making rookie mistakes.
“A guy like Ryan doesn’t have those mistakes. He plays the whole game at the same level. There’s no fall-off. He’s done it enough times he knows what’s expected of him. That comes with experience, and I hope Reggie and Tyshon and some of the others will get to that level.”
Lemanski also thought South Brunswick controlled the game with its half-court offense.
“I thought the difference in the game was pretty obvious. I thought their execution in the half-court offense was a lot better than ours,” he said.
“You can tell that he’s got four of his five starters back from last year and they know where they’re supposed to go on offense. That was pretty evident. They got the ball down low pretty much any time they wanted to. They got it down low off of movement. We were so stagnant tonight on offense.”
Hall chipped in with 16 point for the Cougars, who will close out the regular season with a home game against Trask on Tuesday and visit Whiteville on Friday.
Shawn Sanders led North with 14 points. The Scorpions (3-8 conference, 6-14 overall) faced South Columbus Monday and will host county rival West Brunswick in Friday’s regular-season finale.
The Waccamaw Conference tournament opens Monday, Feb. 18 with three girls’ games at East Columbus in Lake Waccamaw. There will be three boys’ games on Tuesday with doubleheaders scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights.
S. Brun. 13 12 14 14—53
N. Brun. 8 8 8 9—33
South Brunswick scoring: McNeil 2, Miller 7, Hall 16, Hines 6, Waldrep 18, Stanley 2, Ferguson 2.
North Brunswick scoring: Sanders 14, Lennon 2, Riley 2, Moore 4, Merrick 3, Walker 8.