T.J. Evans closed out his Apex career with a 98-86 loss in the N.C. Coaches Association East-West boys basketball game Monday night at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Evans, the school’s all-time leading scorer who helped the Cougars win this year’s 4A state title, was 1-of-7 from the field and finished with four points. He moved from shooting guard to point guard, making the All-Star week one of transition.
“It was very different, trying to play the 1 (point guard) where I’ve played the 2 all season,” he said.
The West led 49-40 at the half and the East cut it to two late in the third quarter. That’s when an odd feeling hit Evans.
“We were down two and we missed a layup (in the third) and that’s when I realized how terribly out of shape I was,” Evans said. “I couldn’t believe it, but I’ll get back on it and be ready to go before it is time to head to Cape Fear” Community College.
The West pushed the lead to 17 points early in the fourth quarter, but the East closed to 92-86 with 1 minute, 25 seconds to play on a 3-pointer by Evans. That was the end of the East’s late push, however.
The loss only stung a little for the East stars.
“I still think about (winning the state championship) every day. I was talking to Coach (David) Neal yesterday and I’ve started to realize that I’m going to have a new coach for the first time this fall. But Coach Neal will always be by my coach. He did such a great job leading our team to the state title,” Evans said.
“That game is still the best experience in my career. I realize that winning that game (the state championship) helped get me here and that’s due to the work of my teammates who played a big role in getting me here.”