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.

Blogs
*
More HSOT Today
*
More On The Trail
HighSchoolOT Forums
More HighSchoolOT Forums
  1. HSOTSWAC: PANTHER CREEK: Panther Creek downs Holly Springs, moves closer to SWAC title http://t.co/NLLm2Uk74o
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:25 AM
  2. HSOTSWAC: HOLLY SPRINGS: Panther Creek downs Holly Springs, moves closer to SWAC title http://t.co/gfI8FYMpte
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:21 AM
  3. HighSchoolOT: Chapel Hill advances to third round in boys soccer http://t.co/Qi4H9lbamo
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:18 AM
  4. HighSchoolOT: Hines, Garner run past Southeast Raleigh http://t.co/JSp25LSCaY
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:18 AM
  5. HighSchoolOT: Balanced Northwood attack helps Chargers top Tigers http://t.co/F5rRH3Z1q5
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:18 AM
  6. HighSchoolOT: Panther Creek downs Holly Springs, moves closer to SWAC title http://t.co/9BbXq7Y4gj
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:18 AM
  7. HSOTGNRC: GARNER: Football: Southeast Raleigh vs. Garner (Oct. 30, 2014) http://t.co/GiRHejPnQH
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:09 AM
  8. HSOTGNRC: GARNER: Hines, Garner run past Southeast Raleigh http://t.co/sizzbfPNq2
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:09 AM
  9. HSOTBig8: CHAPEL HILL: Football: Northwood vs. Chapel Hill (Oct. 30, 2014) http://t.co/C4xYoFI0Ey #HSOT
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:03 AM
  10. HSOTBig8: CHAPEL HILL: Balanced Northwood attack helps Chargers top Tigers http://t.co/MRMbhDZzOu #HSOT
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:03 AM
  11. HSOTBig8: CHAPEL HILL: Boys Soccer: Fike vs. Chapel Hill (Oct. 30, 2014) http://t.co/kcgvrOpAT4 #HSOT
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:03 AM
  12. HSOTBig8: CHAPEL HILL: Mayo: Northwood vs. Chapel Hill (Oct. 30, 2014) http://t.co/73tp10lOo3 #HSOT
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:03 AM
  13. HSOTBig8: NORTHWOOD: Football: Northwood vs. Chapel Hill (Oct. 30, 2014) http://t.co/C4xYoFI0Ey #HSOT
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 2:02 AM
  14. HSOTGNRC: SOUTHEAST RALEIGH: Hines, Garner run past Southeast Raleigh http://t.co/WQndLe5AA6
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 1:58 AM
  15. HSOTGNRC: SOUTHEAST RALEIGH: Football: Southeast Raleigh vs. Garner (Oct. 30, 2014) http://t.co/xX5PKZtl57
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 1:58 AM
  16. HSOTSWAC: HOLLY SPRINGS: Football: Holly Springs vs. Panther Creek (Oct. 30, 2014) http://t.co/m3F9sueX46
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 1:46 AM
  17. HSOTBigEast: FIKE: Boys Soccer: Fike vs. Chapel Hill (Oct. 30, 2014) http://t.co/Gkm76WTglw #HSOT
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 1:32 AM
  18. HSOTBig8: NORTHWOOD: Mayo: Northwood vs. Chapel Hill (Oct. 30, 2014) http://t.co/73tp10lOo3 #HSOT
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 1:27 AM
  19. HSOTBig8: NORTHWOOD: Balanced Northwood attack helps Chargers top Tigers http://t.co/MRMbhDZzOu #HSOT
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 1:27 AM
  20. HSOTSWAC: PANTHER CREEK: Football: Holly Springs vs. Panther Creek (Oct. 30, 2014) http://t.co/9iqdPp045A
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 1:13 AM
  21. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: Highlights from Northwood's win over Chapel Hill tonight hitting the world wide web shortly. #HSOT
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 12:17 AM
  22. ZachMayoHSOT: Highlights from Northwood's win over Chapel Hill tonight hitting the world wide web shortly. #HSOT
      — Friday, October 31, 2014 12:17 AM
  23. Chris__Edwards: For those asking, the SE Raleigh at Garner game will air on TWC 323: 4:30pm Fri, 10pm Sat., Sun at 5p & 11pm #twcsports
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 10:56 PM
  24. Chris__Edwards: That is a VERY good Garner football team. So dangerous and poised to make a deep run. #twcsports
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 10:54 PM
  25. NickStevensHSOT: Can't wait! RT @TheHeraldSports: The @HH_Hooligans will be seeing @NickStevensHSOT tomorrow. #Back2Back
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 10:29 PM
  26. HighSchoolOT: @chhsfutbol That's our plan!
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 4:22 PM
  27. HighSchoolOT: @mtmeadornc We will be there.
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 3:09 PM
  28. HighSchoolOT: Brackets released for Holiday Invitational http://t.co/iTZET8Q30z
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 1:21 PM
  29. HighSchoolOT: 25 photos from Green Hope's 3-0 win over Wakefield in soccer playoffs: http://t.co/sypSM0RFEm #HSOT http://t.co/Z5dXxFBO1u
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 1:18 PM
  30. HighSchoolOT: 61 photos from Middle Creek's 1-0 win over Garner in soccer playoffs last night: http://t.co/w3R4jI6JrE #HSOT http://t.co/zD1IxHczhF
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 1:15 PM
  31. HighSchoolOT: RT @NickStevensHSOT: Hey @HH_Hooligans I think I have something that belongs to you... http://t.co/3Eq2CvyNol
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 1:09 PM
  32. HighSchoolOT: RT @gchs_soccer: Game time for Saturday's playoff game vs Union will be at 1 @GCHS_PANTHERS @PrepsNow @HighSchoolOT
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 12:48 PM
  33. HighSchoolOT: Here's the girls bracket for the #HSOTInvite. Dec. 26-30 at Cary Academy & Broughton HS. http://t.co/DwhyeOqieP
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 12:39 PM
  34. HighSchoolOT: Here's the private school boys bracket for the #HSOTInvite. Dec. 26-30 at Broughton HS. http://t.co/f6TcgqP4uT
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 12:36 PM
  35. HighSchoolOT: Here's the public school boys bracket for the #HSOTInvite. Dec. 26-30 at Broughton HS. http://t.co/WyqxJ1zm64
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 12:29 PM
  36. HighSchoolOT: ALERT: Brackets released for 2014 http://t.co/yxM2pJYrjc Holiday Invitational scheduled for Dec. 26-30 http://t.co/2bo1gEmBkR
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 12:06 PM
  37. HighSchoolOT: There are three #HSOTInvite brackets to release today… The public school boys, the private school boys, and the girls. #HSOT
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 11:24 AM
  38. HighSchoolOT: Don't forget. The brackets for the #HSOTInvite are being announced today on http://t.co/pGWDmkczot. Some great basketball games coming!
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 11:15 AM
  39. HighSchoolOT: Get the best of @HighSchoolOT conveniently delivered right to your email inbox. Link to register: http://t.co/j5SUC7mP3i
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 11:03 AM
  40. HighSchoolOT: Green Hope advances with 3-0 win over Wakefield http://t.co/gEAsDzGthS
      — Thursday, October 30, 2014 2:47 AM