Boys Basketball

Boyd scores 2,000th career point as Apex beats Middle Creek

Posted February 11, 2016
Updated February 12, 2016

— Apex senior forward Ian Boyd was identified as a promising player very early in his Cougar career; it happened before he helped lead his team to three conference championships and one state championship, before he was named the championship's Most Valuable Player, and before he passed a milestone that had not been touched since before he was born.

"In the summer he's a rising ninth grader, and in the first week of practice, it took us about half a practice to realize that he is different, and that he is special," said Apex head coach David Neal. "After one or two practices, he was in the starting five. He was just that much better than everybody else."

Jumping ahead four years, Boyd surpassed even the highest expectations that were placed on him upon his arrival at Apex. Boyd entered Thursday night's home game and regular-season finale against the Middle Creek Mustangs just 12 points shy of the 2,000-career-point mark. He was held to 11 in the first half, but reached the rare achievement midway through the third quarter with, fittingly, a hard-fought bucket in the paint. For the 6-foot-4 George Mason recruit, scoring tough points in the post has been a staple of his career.

The game, which ended as a 76-48 blowout in favor of Apex, stopped momentarily as Boyd was honored at halfcourt.

"I had no idea I was going to have a chance to get 2,000 at the start of my career," Boyd said. "I'm just happy I did it."

Boyd went on to score six points in the fourth quarter, ending the game with a team-high 19 points and bringing his career mark to 2,007. Before that, though, Boyd shared a congratulatory moment on the sideline with his family.

"His mom is there every day," Neal said. "She's at every game, and she's been incredibly supportive of me in terms of what I've tried to do, in terms of coaching Ian. They're just a really special family, and I'll get choked up if I keep talking about it and thinking about it coming to an end."

The game was a night to remember for six other Apex players as well, as all seven of the team's seniors were honored prior to the last regular-season home game any of them will play as members of the Cougars. Those players included Maxx Owens, Liam Fulling, Colin Molden, Trevor Downey, Eric Field and Kevin Cheng.

Molden finished with 16 points for Apex, while Owens and Field each scored 14 points. Eric Fox had seven.

The win guarantees Apex will finish in second place in the 4-A Southwest Wake Athletic Conference. Middle Creek will finish in third. Neal said his Cougars, who have not lost in the month of February, are getting hot at the right time. Molden, he said, is one of the reasons.

"Colin has been playing incredible basketball," said Neal. "When we started playing really well is when he started playing lights-out. Before tonight and last night, he had two games out of three where he had 18 assists and zero turnovers, and the ball is in his hand all the time. He's a scoring point guard, but he can really pass it too."

Despite a tough shooting night, Middle Creek got 18 points from Demetrius Bastian. Michael Zamojcin scored nine.

Boyd was mostly held in check for the first quarter of the game, but the Cougars still got off to a 6-0 run and eventually led 14-6. Field and Molden set the early tone and scored seven points apiece in the first eight minutes.

Middle Creek outscored Apex in the second quarter, 14-13. Still, Boyd put up seven points in the period and Apex led by 12 at halftime.

The Cougars went on to score 20 points in each of the remaining quarters, and held the Mustangs to just eight points in the fourth quarter.

"You always want to win on senior night," Neal said. "Middle Creek's had a great season and they're a great team. I had no idea it would play out the way it did tonight."

Both Apex and Middle Creek finish the regular season trailing only the undefeated Cary Imps in the conference standings. The SWAC tournament will tip Monday.

Thursday's game allowed Boyd to not only advance his status as Apex's most prolific scorer in school history, but also do something that had not been done in Wake County since the early 1990s. Garner legend Donald Williams was the last player in the area to record more than 2,000 points. Williams played from 1988-1991 and scored 2,574 career points, scoring 26.3 points per game.

"Those were the days I was playing, which was a long, long time ago," Neal said. "Donald was the most incredible high school player I’ve ever been around, so to be able to mention Ian in the same company as Donald Williams is really, really special.

"Talk about somebody who’s humble, to be a superstar like he was--and I think Ian’s a lot like him in that regard. It’s just incredible that nobody’s done it since then."

According to the N.C. High School Athletic Association's record book, Boyd's current scoring total ties him at 39th all time in career points in North Carolina.

Follow Zach Mayo on Twitter at @ZachMayoHSOT

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