RALEIGH — Broughton’s boys’ basketball team knew Thursday’s matchup against Millbrook would be a defining moment for its conference season.
After losing a one-point battle at Millbrook in the Cap Eight opener, the Caps hadn’t dropped another league game, but Millbrook was still undefeated and the team to beat.
“We knew it was a situation where if we don’t win this game, we’re playing for second place,” Broughton coach Jeff Ferrell said.
The Caps (16-3, 8-1) responded accordingly, jumping out to an early lead and holding off the Wildcats to secure a 65-54 win at home.
The game was Millbrook’s first conference loss. The two teams now sit tied for first place.
“We needed it,” Ferrell said. “It’s kind of a new ball game now.”
Millbrook (11-5, 8-1) didn’t lie down without a fight. The Wildcats pulled within one point with just more than 6 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but Broughton quickly distanced itself, scoring 12 straight points in transition.
The Thursday night game, a make-up date from last Friday’s weather postponement, means both teams will have a short turnaround for their Friday contests.
“We’re so excited about winning tonight, and in less than 24 hours we have to go out to Wake Forest-Rolesville,” Ferrell said. “We can’t celebrate too much, because that’ll be a game too. Every game will be a battle.”
Devonte’ Graham and James Hemphill led the Caps with 20 and 18 points, respectively.
Cameron Sykes led Millbrook with 17.
Millbrook girls remains undefeated
Millbrook’s girls’ team pulled out a 56-47 win against Broughton to remain undefeated, but the defending state champion had to fight for its latest conference win.
Broughton (14-4, 6-3) came out in a zone defense, limiting Millbrook’s looks inside and forcing consecutive turnovers, which the Caps turned into points in transition.
The teams went into the half tied at 27.
“It was an ugly game for us, and Broughton made it that way,” Millbrook coach Chris East said.
Millbrook (19-0, 9-0) settled down a bit in the second half and was able to pull ahead.
“They had us rushing ourselves, and then we calmed down,” said Millbrook guard Alex Tomlinson, who led the Wildcats with 13 points. “Defense is key for us, and when we move the ball and play unselfishly, we’re really hard to beat.”
Mykia Jones added 12 points, including hitting 7 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Broughton coach Brad McCorkle said his team played with as much heart as possible, but was eventually doomed by free-throw shooting.
The Caps shot 8-for-21 from the charity stripe in the second half, but McCorkle gave Millbrook credit for playing a good game.
“There’s a very good reason why they’re undefeated,” he said. “That’s a tough team.”
Broughton’s Kaila Ealey led all scorers with 14 points.