NEW CHAPEL HILL -- Chapel Hill boys basketball coach Robert Sampson said he thought the road his team traveled to win last weekend's Wagstaff Holiday Classic tournament would help the Bulldogs against defending district champion Spring Hill.

He was right. But instead of relying on his talented frontcourt performers, it was Chapel Hill's guard play that made the difference.

Julius Hill led a strong Chapel Hill backcourt showing in the Bulldogs' 65-49 win over No. 23 Spring Hill on Friday night, giving Chapel Hill an early leg up in the District 16-3A championship race.

Chapel Hill's Kavondre Wallace heads for the basket around Spring Hill's Jordan Phelan during their game Friday in New Chapel Hill. (Christopher Vinn,

"It was a huge win for our program," Sampson said. "Spring Hill is ranked and they did really well last year, so for us to come in and compete like we did, that's huge. Winning this game tonight is going to build a lot of confidence with our kids and coaching staff."

Hill finished the night with 19 points, six rebounds and four steals for Chapel Hill (13-7, 3-0), which won its sixth straight. Point guards D.J. Sammons and Gabriel Robinson also came up big, combining for 19 points and three steals.

The guards picked up the slack for leading scorer Michael Harris, a 6-6 post who scored 21 points in the Bulldogs' championship win at the Wagstaff one week ago. Harris still managed a double-double with 10 points, 10 boards and two blocks.

"We like to think we have an equal-opportunity offense," Sampson said. "Sometimes we lean on Michael Harris a lot, but we're able, if he maybe has a little bit of an off game, our guards have been able to pick him up. One thing we've been able to do, and this is our sixth win in a row, we've been able to penetrate the rim and get closer shots. If the guards can knock down 3's at the same time, it's tough to defend."

Spring Hill's Kendon Womack works his way around Chapel Hill's Julius Hill on Friday night in New Chapel Hill. (Christopher Vinn,

Clay Lattier led Spring Hill (14-8, 2-1) with 14 points and Matt Williams added 10 points and five steals, but the Panthers had difficulty all night matching up with Chapel Hill.

"They got after us a little more than we got after them, especially in the first half and especially on the boards," Spring Hill coach Hunter Taylor said. "They did a great job getting on us and we've got to do a better job of blocking out, and we can. We've got some capable guys who can rebound. We'll practice again and we're going to come back better."

Added Sampson: "It's surprised me a little bit. I looked at them on film this last week or so and we were definitely a little quicker than those guys. We got some turnovers in the halfcourt and it led to some easy buckets. We haven't done a whole lot of that this year, so that was nice."

After a closely contested opening quarter, Chapel Hill began the second period on a 10-0 run, taking control of the contest by building a 23-10 lead. Harris and Keith Minor each had two shots underneath the basket during the stretch.

Hill's mid-range jumper as time expired in the first half gave the Bulldogs a 30-18 lead the break.

Chapel Hill extended its lead to 18 in the opening stages of the third quarter on a Hill free throw, Sammons 3-pointer and Keilon Moore layup off an assist from Sammons.

Hill brought it home by scoring seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.

"(Hill) is a very good player and we talked about that before," Taylor said. "He's a guy that we highlighted from the scouting report. He's a good player, but our guys can handle the ball. We didn't do a very good job tonight, and we'll have to get better. That's the bottom line."

Spring Hill continues its season Tuesday at home against Henderson, while Chapel Hill travels to Bullard.

Spring Hill Girls Hand Chapel Hill First District Loss

Audrey Popelar scored 18 points with four 3-pointers in leading the Spring Hill Lady Panthers to a 54-50 win over Chapel Hill earlier on Friday.

Popelar was 3 of 3 in the first half from long range for Spring Hill, which improved to 10-14 overall and 2-2 in 16-3A. Chapel Hill (16-6, 3-1), meanwhile, suffered its first league loss of the season.

Jacey Fleet had 11 points and three steals for Spring Hill, while Ann Hollas added 10 points an six boards.

The Spring Hill win spoiled an outstanding performance from Chapel Hill's Shay Ross, who poured in 27 points with 13 rebounds, seven steals and two blocks. D'Errica Campbell chipped in with 15 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort.

Spring Hill's Matt Williams snags a pass from Chapel Hill's Jeffery Minor during their game Friday night in New Chapel Hill. (Christopher Vinn,


District 16-3A Boys
Chapel Hill 65, No. 23 Spring Hill 49

Spring Hill           10    8   11   20   --   49
Chapel Hill          13   17  14   21   --   65
SPRING HILL--Clay Lattier, 14; Matt Williams, 10; Adam Lattier, 8; Ben Brundrett, 7; Kendon Womack, 4; Layne Patterson, 2; Jordan Phelan, 2; Parker, White, 2.
CHAPEL HILL--Julius Hill, 19; Gabriel Robinson, 11; Michael Harris, 10; D.J. Sammons, 8; Keilon Moore, 6; DD Mumphrey, 5; Keith Minor, 4; Davontae Fuller, 2.
RECORDS--Spring Hill 14-8 (2-1); Chapel Hill 13-7 (3-0).


District 16-3A Girls
Spring Hill 54, Chapel Hill 50

Spring Hill            9   12   19   14   --   54
Chapel Hill         10    9     9    22   --   50
SPRING HILL--Audrey Popelar, 18; Jacey Fleet, 11; Ann Hollas, 10; Mikai Brown, 9; Ashlyn White, 4; Brooke Zailinger, 2.
CHAPEL HILL--Shay Ross, 27; D'Errica Campbell, 15; Dah-jashnae Maddox, 3; Brandi Gouldthorpe, 2; Kadeja Warfield, 2; Gabby Brooks, 1.
RECORDS--Spring Hill 10-14 (2-2); Chapel Hill 16-6 (3-1).