Mar 1, 2013
The Broughton High School Capitals came from behind to defeat the Apex Cougars on Friday night, advancing to the regional round of the state playoffs.
Behind a terrific 4th-quarter defensive performance and 19 points from Devonte' Graham, the Capitals' season was extended in front of a large home crowd at Holliday Gymnasium when they topped Apex 50-42.
The game started out tightly contested. Both teams defended well and saw scoring out of their key players. Graham and Apex's T.J. Evans traded buckets through most of the first half.
Down by 4 points in the 2nd quarter, Apex went on a 7-0 run to stay competitive. Evans had 11 points at halftime.
An integral part to the Cougar lineup was Jon Jones, 6-foot-7 sophomore forward. Jones was the largest presence on the court through much of the game, and Apex took advantage of the size. His defensive prowess lifted Apex to a 22-18 halftime lead.
The momentum continued for the Cougars out of the 2nd-half gates. With 5 quick points from Evans and a 3-pointer from senior captain Jeff Valdini, Apex hit their largest lead of the night when they went up 30-19 midway through the 3rd.
Not much went well for the Cougars after that.
Broughton battled back to a 37-30 deficit going into the final quarter. Then, the Capitals took over.
"We picked up our effort and intensity. It took us about 3 quarters for that to happen," Broughton coach Jeff Ferrell said after the game. He told his players they weren't doing what they needed to do to win, and they took the speech to heart.
Graham scored 7 4th-quarter Capital points, and Chase Johnston contributed 6 more. The Capital defense tightened up, and Apex scored just 5 points in the quarter.
"He didn't get outside of what we do," Ferrell said of Graham. "He stayed within our offense. It wasn't pretty, but he was very patient. That's the kind of guy he is."
Graham gave his team the lead again by knocking down 2 important free-throws with 4 minutes left. It was the first lead Broughton had seen since the start of the 2nd quarter.
He then put the icing on the cake for the Capitals with a big dunk in the final seconds. The final 3 points of the Apex Cougar season were scored by Evans, but they were too little and came too late.
Graham led his team in scoring with 19 points. Cameron Gottfried (8), James Hemphill (7), Zach Palmer (6) and Johnston (6) all contributed as well.
For the Cougars, Evans led the game with 21 points. Ian Boyd carried some weight for the Cougars with 11 points. No other Apex player scored more than 4.
Apex heads into the offseason having accomplished much this year. They finish the year 20-10 overall with a 13-4 conference record, and starting guard T.J. Evans won the Tri-9 Player of the Year award.
Broughton, now 25-5 on the year, will travel to Fayetteville on Tuesday evening to face Hillside High School in the regional semifinals.
Ferrell is confident in his experienced Broughton men.
"I do believe in this group," he said. "They've got the right parts and they've got the right pieces. We just need the ball to bounce our way."
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