The Clayton boys, No. 1 in the News and Observers high school basketball rankings, cruised past Johnston County rival Smithfield-Selma 69-44 in the first round of the Greater Neuse River 4A tournament Tuesday night.
The Comets Gary Clark, who leads all area 4A scorers with 24.4 points per game, scored 16 points in the win. Anthony Gaskins added 14 as the Comets climbed to 23-2 overall.
Clayton will play Southeast Raleigh at Garner in the tournament semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The Trojans will play Knightdale, a 71-59 winner against East Wake, at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Southeast Raleigh earned its semifinal spot with a 68-66 win against Harnett Central. Southeast Raleigh made 11 of 12 free throws in the final 4 minutes, 12 seconds and Central Harnett needed a basket at the buzzer to pull to within two points at the end.
Southeast Raleighs William Walker made eight of 10 free throws and finished with 17 points. Demetrius Sanders and Justin Walker had 15 each.
Garner (20-3 and ranked No. 2) pounded West Johnston 87-48. Patrick Henneghan scored 17 and Sammy Saunders had 16.
Knightdales Ronshad Allen-Shabazz had 26 points in the Knight victory.
Cap Eight 4A: Broughton (19-5, No. 11) advanced in the Cap Eight tournament with a 75-42 victory against Heritage. James Hemphill (14 points), Cam Gottfried (13), Chris Brickhouse (11) Devonte Graham (10) and Chase Johnston (10) paced the balanced Broughton attack.
Wakefield, 13-8 and the winners of five straight, also advanced with a 59-47 win against Enloe.
Leesville Road topped Sanderson 72-62 in two overtimes. The Pride will play Millbrook, a 72-67 winner against Wake Forest-Rolesville at Broughton Thursday in the semifinals.
• In girls play, Millbrook (25-0 and No. 1), dominated as usual, rushing past Leesville Road 64-33. Mykia Jones had 17 points.
Broughton (20-4, No. 6) topped Heritage 58-44. Kaila Ealey had 16 points in the victory.
Wakefield (16-7) overcame a four-point first quarter to defeat Sanderson 58-44. Madison Lenox had 19 points in the win.
Tri-Nine 4A: The Apex girls defeated Cary 58-51 as Mia Castagnero grabbed 11 rebounds to go with 16 points. Sam Cucuru had 15 points.
Carys Whitney Coleman, a UNC Greensboro recruit, had 19 in her final high school game.
Apex will play at Holly Springs at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals.
Kiara Leslie scored 18 points and Hadiya Howard had 15 in Holly Springs 56-32 win against Panther Creek.
The Green Hope girls play Athens Drive at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
• The top-seeded Apex boys were tied with eighth-seeded Cary with four minutes left but pulled away for a 64-56 win. The Cougars T.J. Evans had 25 points. Apex will play fourth seeded Lee County, a 64-56 winner against Panther Creek, in the semifinals at Holly Springs at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Middle Creek boys play Green Hope, a 67-57 winner against Panther Creek, at 5:30 p.m.
PAC Six 4A: The Durham Jordan girls advanced to a semifinal game against Durham Hillside with a 44-26 win against East Chapel Hill. Senior Bayley Coleman-Cox had 19 points and sophomore Salita Greene had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Falcons play Hillside Wednesday at 7:30 at Northern Durham.
• The Durham Riverside boys upended Person 68-52 in overtime.
NCISAA: The North Raleigh Christian boys were ousted from the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A playoffs by Charlotte Latin 70-55. Latin exploded for 27 points in the third period to erase a 33-28 halftime deficit. Phillip Haynes had 19 points in the loss.
Ravenscroft defeated Durham Academy 66-31. The Ravens will play High Point Wesleyan at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Charlotte Latin in the state quarterfinals.
• The North Raleigh girls lost to Hickory Grove 55-45.
The Ravenscroft girls (14-11) defeated Durham Academy 50-40 behind Cailin Dorseys 21 points.
The Cary Christian girls (18-3) topped Durham Carolina Friends 45-34. Julie Thompson scored 20 and Amy Van Deventer had 17 in the win.
J. Mike Blake and D. Clay Best contributed