RALEIGH — Broughton surged late to top Apex 50-42 Friday, earning the program its first trip to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A Eastern regional since 2002.
The Caps will travel to Fayetteville to face Durham Hillside (21-7) at Crown Coliseum on Tuesday.
Broughton (25-5) took an early lead, but struggled midway through a low-scoring game. The Caps trailed 37-30 entering the final period.
“It was a little weird,” Broughton coach Jeff Ferrell said. “I’m not sure why, but it was like we were a little bit timid. ... We started to set the tone in the fourth quarter with our effort. We got a little more aggressive and that helped create a little more energy.”
Ferrell called a time out with his team down by 11 points with 2 minutes, 36 seconds left in the third quarter.
“I told them I still wasn’t seeing the necessary things in order for us to win this game,” Ferrell said.
The Caps responded with a 7-3 run to build momentum going into the fourth quarter, and Broughton took control.
The Caps got more points in the fourth quarter than in the first half, outscoring Apex 20-5 in the final frame.
Early in the game, both teams struggled to score. Apex ruled the boards and controlled the tempo, but went into the half with just a four-point lead.
“That was a tough one to take,” said Apex coach David Neal. “I thought our effort was as good as it’s been all year in the first half, but we only had 22 points.”
The Cougars executed on plays early in the second half, but struggled to score in the fourth quarter.
Broughton forced consecutive Apex turnovers, including four fourth-quarter steals by Devonte’ Graham, cashing in for points on the other end.
With less than 10 seconds remaining, the Cougars had scored just two points in the fourth. Apex junior T.J. Evans added a 3-pointer with six seconds left to cap his game-high 21-point effort.
On Wednesday, Apex (20-10) bounced back from a scoreless second quarter to beat Millbrook, 59-58.
Neal hoped the same would happen for the Cougars Friday, but turnovers doomed Apex down the stretch.
Graham led Broughton with 19 points. Ian Boyd added 11 points for Apex.