Find My Team >>

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

Wrong email/password combination.

Forgot password?

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

Nick Stevens

Last season was a good one

Published: 2012-10-31 01:00:00
Updated: 2012-10-31 01:00:00

Oct 31, 2012

Boys Basketball: Apex vs. Green Hope (Jan. 24, 2012)

Apex's T.J. Evans (# 3) lead all scorers with 23 as Apex defeats Green Hope 68 to 45 at Green Hope Tuesday night January 24, 2012.

For those who know me, it's no secret that basketball is my favorite sport.

Last season was an exciting one. We saw some outstanding performances, some surprises, a new playoff system, and state champions.

We haven't really had a chance to sit back and reflect on the 2011-2012 season, but it's worth doing so.

Young and talented

Who says you need a lot of varsity experience to be good?

Last season, a number of young players stepped up and made a name for themselves. One of the most memorable performances happened at the Holiday Invitational when freshman point guard Julius Barnes hit three 3-pointers and a pair of free throws, helping Garner from behind to be beat Kinston in the semifinals. Garner went on to win the championship for the first time in school history.

Since that game, Barnes' expectations have been on the rise, and so has the attention from colleges. When I was at Garner this summer for an interview with Barnes, Garner coach Eddie Gray told me he had just gotten off the phone with the Clemson coaching staff about Barnes. After his freshman season, named him as an honorable mention selection to the All-Freshman Team.

Things will be tougher for Julius this year though. He's going to transition from a role player off the bench to a starter, and he'll have to take on more of a leadership role – even just as a sophomore.

We've seen some pretty good sophomores in the area too. Apex had a sophomore duo that was extremely talented – T.J. Evans and T.J. Wells.

Both guards are capable of scoring, passing, making big plays and playing good defense. But Apex coach David Neal will tell you one of the biggest things these two sophomores brought to Apex last season was the expectation to win.

Evans was named the Tri-9 Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore, something that doesn't happen very often.


After following the Millbrook boys and girls basketball teams to the state championship in 2011, I had the opportunity to watch the girls team make a return trip in 2012. And this time they won it.

Millbrook has a tremendous amount of talent on the girls roster returning. Of the eight returning seniors, all eight have committed to play college basketball next season. That is impressive, and something I don't know that I've seen before.

The Wildcats posted a 30-2 record, making it look easy at times, but I can assure you winning a state championship is anything but easy. I'm confident coach Chris East would agree. I'm also confident that the feeling of winning a state championship was a very satisfying one for Millbrook after losing in the game the year before.

Can they make a return trip? It's hard to predict that. A lot goes into winning a state championship, a lot more than just pure talent. But the Wildcats do have talent, and they will be in the conversation for a repeat performance.

Seed away

For the first time, the N.C. High School Athletic Association seeded the basketball playoffs. It was experimental, and it got mixed reviews, but it will continue this season.

The concept of seeding the playoffs is something many coaches like. I like it too.

We'd be fooling ourselves if we said the system was perfect last year though. I know it wasn't, the coaches know it wasn't, and the NCHSAA knows it too. This year the system will be tweaked, and they'll continue to do so until the system is something that everyone believes is fair.

Last season there was a big controversy with Panther Creek. The Catamounts thought they should have gotten a wild card spot over a team from the west because they had a better record. But the NCHSAA said one wild card team went to the east, while the other went to the west – which is how the system worked previously.

It certainly created some tough hours for Catamount fans, but it is one reason we're seeing a change in the seeding process now.

Will this year be any better? We'll wait and see. But I am a big fan of seeding the playoffs. It makes it much more exciting than the pre-determined brackets we had previously.

Back to Nick Stevens


This blog post is closed for comments.

More HSOT Today
More On The Trail
HighSchoolOT Forums
More HighSchoolOT Forums
  1. Chris__Edwards: Join us RIGHT NOW for the @Duke_BASE Radio Show on
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 9:00 AM
  2. Chris__Edwards: A little BP this morning while we have our radio show at Coombs.
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 8:46 AM
  3. Chris__Edwards: Still time to get your ?’s in for today’s @Duke_BASE Show. Tweet your ?’s or email Show starts at 9 AM on GoDuke
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 8:39 AM
  4. HighSchoolOT: RT @wraltraffic: It's not just the beginning of a holiday weekend, it's Football Friday! ^nsj
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 6:14 AM
  5. HSOTBigEast: SOUTHERN NASH: Football: Southern Nash vs. Beddingfield (Aug. 28, 2014) #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 3:09 AM
  6. HSOTBigEast: FIKE: Football: Roanoke Rapids vs. Fike (Aug. 28, 2014) #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 3:09 AM
  7. HSOTBig8: SOUTHERN: Extra Effort: Kendall Hinton, Southern Durham (Aug. 28, 2014) #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 2:45 AM
  8. HighSchoolOT: Athens Drive narrowly edges Broughton, 28-27
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 2:04 AM
  9. HighSchoolOT: Totten dominates in Apex win over Leesville Road
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 2:04 AM
  10. HSOTSWAC: ATHENS DRIVE: Athens Drive narrowly edges Broughton, 28-27 #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:46 AM
  11. HSOTCap8: BROUGHTON: Athens Drive narrowly edges Broughton, 28-27 #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:40 AM
  12. HSOTSWAC: APEX: Totten: I just saw daylight #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:31 AM
  13. HSOTSWAC: APEX: Totten dominates in Apex win over Leesville Road #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:31 AM
  14. HSOTSWAC: APEX: Football: Leesville Road vs. Apex (Aug. 28, 2014) #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:31 AM
  15. HSOTSWAC: APEX: Kilby: Apex playing with maturity, confidence #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:31 AM
  16. HSOTSWAC: APEX: Mayo: Athens Drive vs. Broughton, Leesville Road vs. Apex (Aug. 28, 2014) #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:31 AM
  17. HSOTCap8: LEESVILLE: Totten dominates in Apex win over Leesville Road #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:30 AM
  18. HSOTCap8: LEESVILLE: Mayo: Athens Drive vs. Broughton, Leesville Road vs. Apex (Aug. 28, 2014) #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:30 AM
  19. HSOTCap8: LEESVILLE: Kilby: Apex playing with maturity, confidence #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:30 AM
  20. HSOTCap8: LEESVILLE: Totten: I just saw daylight #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:30 AM
  21. HSOTCap8: LEESVILLE: Football: Leesville Road vs. Apex (Aug. 28, 2014) #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:30 AM
  22. ZachMayoHSOT: RT @ErinESummers: Just got a good morning & a good evening from people walking by my desk at work which means it's definitely time to go ho…
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:27 AM
  23. HSOTSWAC: ATHENS DRIVE: Football: Athens Drive vs. Broughton (Aug. 28, 2014) #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:10 AM
  24. HighSchoolOT: Hines' four touchdowns leads Garner past Cleveland
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:00 AM
  25. HighSchoolOT: Fike rolls to 41-7 win over Roanoke Rapids
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:00 AM
  26. HighSchoolOT: Beddingfield earns 19-7 win over Firebirds
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 1:00 AM
  27. HighSchoolOT: INTERVIEW: Isaiah Totten (@SmooveTotten) explains how he rushed for five touchdowns Thurday night.
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 12:35 AM
  28. HighSchoolOT: INTERVIEW: Apex Head Coach Joe Kilby (@Apex_Football) talks about how his team has improved since last season. #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 12:33 AM
  29. HighSchoolOT: Our @ZachMayoHSOT has the highlights as Athens Drive beats Broughton, Apex takes down Leesville Road. #HSOT
      — Friday, August 29, 2014 12:31 AM
  30. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: Working on highlights from Broughton-AD and Apex-Leesville, as well as interviews from Coach Kilby and Isaiah Totten. Com…
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 11:32 PM
  31. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: For anyone keeping track... Apex football has already matched its win total from last season. They host Sanderson next we…
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 11:15 PM
  32. HighSchoolOT: Anyone have the final score for Athens Drive - Broughton football?
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 10:14 PM
  33. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: FINAL: Apex 44, Leesville Road 14. Cougars looked very impressive tonight. #hsotscores
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 9:48 PM
  34. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: Isaiah Totten in again from a yard out. Apex leads Leesville 44-14 late in the 4th. #hsot
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 9:43 PM
  35. HighSchoolOT: @EnloeEagleClub @enloefootball final score?
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 9:39 PM
  36. HighSchoolOT: Final scores coming in. Go to for live scoreboard. Twitter updates at @HSOTScores #hsotscores
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 9:23 PM
  37. HighSchoolOT: You can follow @HSOTScores for score updates on twitter, and be sure to use our #hsotscores hashtag.
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 6:43 PM
  38. HighSchoolOT: RT @ZachMayoHSOT: Thursday Night Lights. I'm at Broughton for varsity football vs. Athens Drive. Kickoff set for 7. #hsot
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 6:43 PM
  39. HighSchoolOT: Varsity football games kickoff in about 20 minutes. Follow our LIVE scoreboard at or on our FREE iPhone/Android apps.
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 6:43 PM
  40. HighSchoolOT: Big 2nd half lifts Northern Nash past Corinth Holders, 24-20
      — Thursday, August 28, 2014 4:31 PM