HUNTERSVILLE Even an off night from Luke Maye couldn’t derail Hough High’s boys’ basketball team Monday against North Mecklenburg.
With other players stepping up, the Huskies pulled away in the second half to take a 58-44 victory over the Vikings and clinch a share of the MECKA 4A title.
Tucker Thompson, a 6-foot-11 center, scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds, and three other players scored in double figures for Hough (18-4, 12-1), which can lock up its first conference title and the No. 1 seed for next week’s tournament with a win Thursday over Vance.
Theo Mack scored all 13 of his points in the second half, and Jaqueaz Jackson added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Huskies, who saw North Meck (18-4, 9-4) fight back from a 10-point, first-quarter deficit to pull within a point twice.
“It’s been our goal this season to win that conference title,” Hough coach Justin Batts said. “And we didn’t want to have a letdown like we did last week against West Charlotte (a 68-61 loss Friday).
“To hold (North Meck) to 44 points is a pretty significant achievement; it’s a lot better than giving up 68 like we did in our previous game.”
Maye, the Huskies’ highly touted forward, sat for nearly nine minutes over the first half after picking up his second foul early in the first quarter.
Maye finished with 10 points – nine below his season average – and 13 rebounds, but he scored just one point during the second half.
That’s when his teammates stepped up.
With Hough leading 27-21 at the half, guard C.J. Bryce (12 points) scored five consecutive points to open the third quarter and pull the Vikings within 27-26 with 6 minutes, 50 seconds remaining.
But Jackson scored six points and Thompson and Mack added five each during a 20-6 Huskies run to close out the quarter, with Connor Whipp’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer putting Hough ahead 47-32.
The Vikings would pull no closer than 11 points after that, losing Bryce to fouls midway through the fourth quarter.
Taj Middleton finished with 13 points for North Mecklenburg, which will play Friday at Mallard Creek in its regular-season finale.
HOUGH 58, NORTH MECKLENBURG 44
HOUGH (58): Thompson 17, Mack 13, Jackson 12, Maye 10, Whipp 3, Friday 2, Post 1.
NORTH MECKLENBURG (44): Middleton 13, Bryce 12, Mintz 7, Beasley 7, McCollum 2, Watts 2, Collins 1.
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