Find My Team >>

Log in to High School OT with one click using your favorite social network:
OR
Log in using your High School OT account:



Wrong email/password combination.

Forgot password?

Register with High School OT using your favorite social network:
OR
Register for a High School OT account using our web form.
Log In
Register

Nick Stevens

Apex had been there before

Published: 2014-01-19 13:10:00
Updated: 2014-01-19 13:11:48


Jan 19, 2014

Apex-Wheeler

Ian Boyd (23) dunks for Apex. HighSchoolOT Holiday Invitational at Broughton High School, Raleigh N.C. held on December 28, 2013. The evening games included Apex against Wheeler High School. Wheeler wins by 30 with a final score of 75 – 45. (Chris Baird/ WRAL Contributor)

Most people who follow high school basketball in the Triangle would not have predicted a 2-4 start for Apex this season. In fact, the Apex players and coaches are quick to point out they didn't expect it.

Nevertheless, that was the start Apex faced in December.

It's easy for coaches and especially players to panic in such a situation, especially when the expectations were high coming into the season. That didn't happen at Apex though, and it's probably because they had been in that situation before.

"I told (the players), 'We've been right here with you guys,'" said Apex basketball coach David Neal.

He wasn't lying.

Last season, Apex started the season 0-2. The Cougars opened the season with a 71-45 loss to Leesville Road, then fell 51-47 at Sanderson in their second game.

This year the Cougars opened the season with another home loss to Leesville Road, but managed to get a 59-50 win over Jordan in the second game of the season.

Apex didn't panic last season, and they didn't panic this season. For Neal, it was a matter of putting it in perspective.

"We've always really emphasized our conference games being more important than our non-conference, not that we don't want to win our non-conference games," said Neal. "I just kept trying to repeat that these aren't the ones that matter, we want to win them, but I'd rather lose here in November or December than in a conference game in January or February."

That has worked pretty well for Apex in the past. Last year the Cougars went on to win 20-games and made a run to the third round of the state playoffs.

"This is the same group as last year, and last year we were in the third round after a pretty miraculous win over Millbrook in the second round," Neal said.

Apex was on the verge of beating Broughton, the eventual state runner-up, too.

"We were up seven at the end of three quarters against Broughton and just had a really bad third quarter," Neal said. "Broughton went on to win the east and I thought we were just as good as any of those teams, but we didn't get it done."

It was the second year in a row Apex lost in the third round, and Neal hopes that is motivation for the talented group of seniors who are playing high school basketball for the last time.

"Hopefully that's in the back of our seniors' minds and they're using that for motivation, I know I am," he said.

Neal has the advantage of seeing what a turnaround can look like too.

In 2007, Apex started the season with a 4-9 record. Wins over Green Hope and Panther Creek helped spark a run that ended with the Cougars losing in the 4-A state championship game to East Mecklenburg.

That isn't a story Neal has pulled out for this team though.

"I haven't mentioned that comparison to them at all. I hadn't even thought about that until you asked the question," he said.

Apex has one game left in the first round of conference play – a home game on Wednesday against Apex. A win means the Cougars enter the last half of the conference season with a perfect league record and at least a one game lead over everyone else.

Follow Nick Stevens on Twitter @NickStevensHSOT

Back to Nick Stevens
COMMENTS

0 Comments



This blog post is closed for comments.

HighSchoolOT Forums
More HighSchoolOT Forums
  1. HighSchoolOT: .@GHBaseball won another important SWAC game last night, beating Middle Creek for the second time this year. STORY: http://t.co/SfPHfdGg0G
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 11:21 AM
  2. HighSchoolOT: The mercy rule went into effect yesterday when Heritage softball traveled to Leesville Road. STORY: http://t.co/vM1EPmZGX6
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 11:18 AM
  3. NickStevensHSOT: Here's what my day is consisting of. Hopefully the frost stuff is over. http://t.co/wuni7Sv3tQ
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 10:25 AM
  4. HSOTPAC6: RIVERSIDE: Howell named head football coach at Riverside http://t.co/D1KwZw6oV8
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 9:11 AM
  5. Chris__Edwards: RT @CoachJordan2: http://t.co/ZvCFGP7R8N
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 8:23 AM
  6. HSOTSWAC: GREEN HOPE: Green Hope stays hot in win over Middle Creek http://t.co/lmWccUMgyE
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 5:12 AM
  7. HSOTCap8: LEESVILLE: Heritage softball slams Leesville in six innings http://t.co/p0hrO5tFqA
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 4:46 AM
  8. HSOTPAC6: NORTHERN DURHAM: Panther Creek dominates Northern in non-conference meeting http://t.co/VZOdp1PoUt
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 3:19 AM
  9. HSOTGNRC: SOUTHEAST RALEIGH: Southeast Raleigh tops Garner to win Wake track championship http://t.co/NEVkmschL6
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 3:15 AM
  10. HSOTCap8: HERITAGE: Heritage softball slams Leesville in six innings http://t.co/XuLZBwZQ0l
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 3:14 AM
  11. HSOTCap8: HERITAGE: Heritage softball slams Leesville in six innings http://t.co/cXJ14Jfmii
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 12:49 AM
  12. HSOTCap8: LEESVILLE: Heritage softball slams Leesville in six innings http://t.co/qubO1eQByd
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 12:26 AM
  13. ZachMayoHSOT: I'd like to give a S/O to Cookout for being Cookout.
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 12:18 AM
  14. HighSchoolOT: Green Hope stays hot in win over Middle Creek http://t.co/6SxHNt05iE
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 12:14 AM
  15. HighSchoolOT: Heritage softball slams Leesville in six innings http://t.co/LIBLzPHW9p
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 12:14 AM
  16. HSOTSWAC: MIDDLE CREEK: Green Hope stays hot in win over Middle Creek http://t.co/wgEwArXxKw
      — Friday, April 18, 2014 12:09 AM
  17. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: The Green Hope Falcons stayed on top of the @HSOTSWAC tonight with a win over Middle Creek. READ: http://t.co/9wGRJoOT1l
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 11:16 PM
  18. ZachMayoHSOT: The Green Hope Falcons stayed on top of the @HSOTSWAC tonight with a win over Middle Creek. READ: http://t.co/9wGRJoOT1l
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 11:13 PM
  19. HSOTSWAC: GREEN HOPE: Green Hope stays hot in win over Middle Creek http://t.co/Xg7f6DPmpU
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 11:08 PM
  20. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: BASEBALL FINAL: Green Hope 6, Middle Creek 3 #hsotscores
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 8:49 PM
  21. ZachMayoHSOT: BASEBALL FINAL: Green Hope 6, Middle Creek 3 #hsotscores
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 8:44 PM
  22. ZachMayoHSOT: A huge sixth inning from Green Hope has the Falcons up 6-3 on Middle Creek entering the seventh.
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 8:38 PM
  23. ZachMayoHSOT: After three full innings, Middle Creek baseball leads Green Hope 3-2. #hsotscores
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 7:51 PM
  24. ZachMayoHSOT: Green Hope alum and current Mercer bball player John Mosser at the game tonight. He got a round of applause for beating Duke.
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 7:23 PM
  25. ZachMayoHSOT: Green Hope/Middle Creek baseball is underway. Michael Merryman pitching for GH, Liam Brew pitching for MC.
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 7:09 PM
  26. HighSchoolOT: Triton's Gaines, Rocky Mount's Gainey win NCHSAA Coach of the Year awards http://t.co/RmqzNFx4NV
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 6:50 PM
  27. Chris__Edwards: Powerful and moving moment for me this afternoon looking at the memorial at Virginia Tech http://t.co/XC8fxOQwYY http://t.co/6bNeDFLuMO
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 6:38 PM
  28. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: SOFTBALL FINAL: Heritage 13, Leesville Road 3 in six innings. #hsotscores
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 5:42 PM
  29. HighSchoolOT: ALERT: Triton's Wendy Gaines, Rocky Mount's Michael Gainey earn Coach of the Year honors from NCHSAA http://t.co/wvvqfpSzOJ
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 5:18 PM
  30. HighSchoolOT: RT @rhsramsftball: Just in case you missed it last night! http://t.co/nMZlMlcdCY #HSOTJamboree
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 2:54 PM
  31. HighSchoolOT: Profiles of each team in the #HSOTJamboree are here: http://t.co/LKmVWgFDjJ
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:09 AM
  32. HighSchoolOT: You can watch the #HSOTJamboree Announcement Show hosted by @NickStevensHSOT here: http://t.co/EElg5ioPDO
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:08 AM
  33. HighSchoolOT: ICYMI the field & schedule for the #HSOTJamboree was released last night. It's pretty good too: http://t.co/arheLPGqpO
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:07 AM
  34. HighSchoolOT: RT @NickStevensHSOT: For those asking about teams not in #HSOTJamboree, several were invited but had already committed to other events. Oth…
      — Thursday, April 17, 2014 9:04 AM
  35. HighSchoolOT: We hope you enjoyed tonight's #HSOTJamboree announcement. Let us know what you think about the match-ups. Which are you looking forward to?
      — Wednesday, April 16, 2014 11:36 PM
  36. HighSchoolOT: RT @Brian_Allen52: We got lee county in the #HSOTJamboree
      — Wednesday, April 16, 2014 11:21 PM
  37. HighSchoolOT: RT @stubbs_j153: We play green hope in the hsot jamboree 👌😈🏈
      — Wednesday, April 16, 2014 11:21 PM
  38. HighSchoolOT: RT @ColeTolson: Ready to play Jack Britt in this #HSOTJamboree
      — Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:44 PM
  39. HighSchoolOT: Top teams, players headline HighSchoolOT Jamboree http://t.co/ZMAhHboDcp
      — Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9:53 PM
  40. HighSchoolOT: 2014 http://t.co/pGWDmjVwmt Jamboree Announcement Show http://t.co/8xHIqO3fef
      — Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9:53 PM