Durham Hillside’s strategy going into its second-round game against Clayton was to control Comets star Gary Clark with a box-and-one defense and try to keep the other players from beating them.
Clark had to work for his 22 points, 18 rebounds and 10 blocks, and Chris Dixon’s 23 points were key in the 73-62 4A boys’ second-round game.
“We did a good job defensively on (Clark) and the goal coming in was to make somebody else beat us,” Hillside coach Crasten Davis said. Dixon “had a big game for them.”
“All year we’ve tried to take what the defense gives us,” Clayton coach Denny Medlin said. “They tried to take away Gary, and Chris Dixon got 23 points and Tre Amstead got 12. … If we have other guys in the scoring column like that, we are going to score a lot of points because Gary is still going to score a bunch.”
Robert Robinson Jr. and Malik Evans had 16 points each to lead Hillside (16-12), and Justice Kithcart added 14.
Broughton 60, South Central Pitt 50: The Caps went on the road to eliminate the Falcons (22-4). Roy McMillan led Broughton (21-6) with 13 points, and Jerome Robinson added 11. The Caps will play at Clayton with a berth in the regional semifinal on the line.
Apex 69, Fayetteville Smith 58: T.J. Evans scored 22 points as the Cougars raced to the 4A third round. Ian Boyd scored 21 points, and T. J. Wells had six points, seven assists and 13 rebounds.
Northern Durham 72, Middle Creek 62: Northern Durham, No. 1 in The News & Observer poll, rolled to a sectional final game with Apex. The Mustangs and Knights were tied at 30 at the half, but Northern Durham built a double-digit lead.
Ricky Council had 23 points and Kentrell Barkley 21. The Mustangs’ John Perron had 22 points, including 18 from behind the 3-point arc. Fred Iruafemi added 12 for Middle Creek.
New Hanover 55, Knightdale 53: Lawrence Williams hit a jumper at the buzzer to lift New Hanover (25-2) into the sectional final. The Wildcats will be at home against Panther Creek.
Panther Creek 59, Southeast Raleigh 53: Panther Creek pulled away from a 41-41 tie in the fourth quarter to advance to a sectional date with New Hanover. Juan Munoz scored 19 and Gaqwez Hudson 17 in the win. Nubian Spann added 10. Demetrius Sanders had 19 points in the loss.
Fayetteville Seventy-First 65, Leesville Road 55: Seventy-First (24-4) earned a third-round trip to Millbrook with the win against the Pride (19-12).
Orange 72, Chapel Hill 63: Jawan Chambers scored 11 points in the second quarter to help the Panthers run past Big Eight 3A rival Chapel Hill. Chambers and Keegan Crabtree each had 15 points as Orange beat the Tigers for the third time this season. J.D. Brooks had 18 points.
“It’s always tough when you play a conference opponent for a third time,” said Orange coach Greg Motley. “You know everything that each of you do well.”
Southern Durham 78, Mayodan McMichael 58: The Spartans (17-10) zipped past McMichael and will travel to West Brunswick on Friday. West Brunswick defeated Cleveland 70-51 in the second round.
Wallace-Rose Hill 65, Princeton 44: Wallace-Rose Hill (12-13) continued its late-season push by eliminating Princeton (17-8) in the 1A second round. Leading 35-29 with 6 minutes, 19 seconds left in the third quarter, Princeton turned the ball over 12 times in the final 14 minutes while hitting one of 13 shots as the visiting Bulldogs went on a 36-9 blitz to end the game.
“We went off the rails,” Princeton coach Jeff Davis said. “The score was not indicative of the game – we just can’t turn the ball over 12 times in a half against a good team like that – we just can’t.
Neuse Charter 73, Granville Central 36: Neuse Charter used a balanced scoring attack and a stifling defense to build a 21-3 lead and never looked back. Darrius Stevens had 15 points, Devante Stevens 14 and Jarrod Sealey 14.
Neuse Charter will host Wallace-Rose Hill (12-13), a 65-44 winner against Princeton.
Chapel Hill 59, Swansboro 13: Chapel Hill scored the first 12 points in the opening 90 seconds and led 21-2 in the first quarter and 29-7 at the half en route to the 3A victory. The Tigers (28-0) scored the first 16 points of the third quarter.
“They played a lot of sagging man-to-man, and that’s a good thing because we expect to see a lot of that in the playoffs,” said Chapel Hill coach Sherry Norris. “We had a chance to work on our plays against that defense.”
Raziyah Farrington scored 15 points, 11 in the first half, and Catherine Romaine had 10 for the Tigers.
Millbrook 72, Fayetteville Seventy-First 52: Dazia Powell scored 27 to help Millbrook, which has played in the past three 4A finals, advance to the third round. The Wildcats (23-3) will play Wilmington Ashley, a 47-39 winner against Fayetteville Britt, on Friday.
Riverside 70, Cary 62: Cary’s Azura Stevens completed her high school career with 47 points in the loss. Riverside will play Fayetteville Smith in the section final.
Fayetteville Smith 49, Apex 44: E.E. Smith held on to top Apex (20-5). The Cougars held the Golden Bulls (20-5) to 18 second-half points and closed what was a 31-15 halftime score to a four-point lead with four minutes left.
Senior Aliya Ruffin had 16 points in the loss, and Tiffany Finley had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“It was a tough first half. … We’ve always struggled with tremendous pressure and athleticism,” Apex coach Jay Huffman said. “We played with a little more confidence and a little more speed” in the second half.
Southeast Raleigh 39, Jordan 34: Southeast Raleigh (23-2) couldn’t force the tempo against the Falcons but safely advanced to a third-round game against Wilmington Laney, a 58-44 winner against South Central Pitt.
Cardinal Gibbons 50, Eastern Wayne 49: Morgan Reid made a layup with nine seconds left to send the Crusaders (23-6) to the third round. The Crusaders trailed by eight in the fourth quarter and by five in the final minute before their defense provided the win. Gibbons forced a turnover with 15 seconds left and made a steal after Reid’s basket.
Reid and Madison Beuris finished with 12 points, and Stephanie Girard had 14.
Fayetteville Sanford 36, South Johnston 33: South Johnston closed within one point in the final seconds, but Courtney Roulhac made two free throws to help preserve the victory.
South Johnston’s McKinley Johnson’s long 3-pointer off an inbound pass with a half-second left hit the backboard and bounced off the front rim. Anna Webster led South Johnston with nine points.
Princeton 57, Granville Central 45: The Bulldogs (16-9) stunned Granville Center (22-1) in a 1A game.
Bill Woodward, Michael Held, David Maney,W.E. Warnock, J. Mike Blake, Jay Mumford and Christian Worstell contributed to this story.