Apex boys basketball coach David Neal said he has never had much trouble keeping his T.J.’s straight, but he constantly struggles with his Malik and his Majid.
Senior guards T.J. Evans and T.J. Wells solved the identification problem during their sophomore years. Neal calls for T.J. if we wants Evans and calls for Wells if the coach needs T.J. Wells.
“They asked me to do it this way back when they were sophomores,” Neal said.
Malik Williams and Majid Raji are much more difficult for Neal to get straight.
Both are about 6-foot-4. Both are lanky. “I’m always calling them the wrong names,” Neal said.
Early in the season, the whole team had an identity problem.
The Cougars were expected to be among the best teams in the area, but lost four of their first six games. Apex has won three of its last five, including a pair of losses to out-of-state teams in the Holiday Invitational, and is 7-6 overall.
“We’ve had really good practices and we are shooting better,” Neal said. “We were 6-for-6 on three pointers in the first quarter against Athens Drive and hit 10 of 21 threes against Cary. We didn’t shoot that well early in the season.”
Apex and Panther Creek match 4-0 Southwest Wake Athletic 4A records on Friday at Panther Creek.
“It looks like a good league,” Neal said. “Holly Springs is a surprise at 4-0 because they lost their first seven games, but everybody knew that Panther Creek was going to be very good.”
Oak Hill visits Mount Zion: Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy, a perennial national high school basketball power, plays at Durham Mount Zion on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Oak Hill is 19-1 and features N.C. State 6-foot-6 recruits Caleb and Cody Martin.
All-American Hines: Garner running back Nyheim Hines is a first-team selection on the MaxPreps Junior All-American football team. Hines rushed for 3,137 yards and scored 60 touchdowns for the Trojans.
He is one of the All-American team’s four running backs.
Concord runner Rocky Reid was named to the second team. He rushed for 3,355 yards and 39 touchdowns.
Granville girls: The Granville Central girls basketball ended a long holiday break Wednesday night with a 58-6 victory over the Haliwpa-Saponi Tribal School. The Panthers, 9-0 and ranked No. 15 in The N&O, had not played since Dec. 20.
Granville showed no rust, grabbing a 38-0 lead in the first period. The rest of the game was played with a running clock.
Senior Keena Evans has led Granville Central in scoring in every game and is averaging 26.7 points per game, second in the area to Cary’s Azura Stevens (31.5). Evans recently committed to (Augusta) Georgia Regents University.
Senior Alex Bailey averages 15.1 points per game.
Jones resignation: Southern Durham football coach Adrian Jones’ resignation leaves Hillside coach Antonio King as the longest-tenured head high school football coach in Durham. Jones, who took the Southern head job in 2007, had been in place the longest.
King was named head coach in 2009 and has five years at the Hornets’ helm. David Hackney, named Riverside coach in 2011, is second in the county with three seasons.
Millbrook’s Clarence Inscore leads area 4A schools with 13 years.