Apex’s Colton Williams hadn’t made much of an impact on the boys’ basketball game between Apex and Leesville Road through three quarters. But it was the junior guard who came off the bench and propelled his team to a 57-51 win in the nonconference tilt Thursday.
The Cougars (3-2, 1-0) kept the rotation pretty short, and Williams watched most of the game on the sideline, until the fourth quarter when coach David Neal needed him in crunch time.
With 5:48 remaining in the game, Apex’s Eric Field received a technical foul and the Pride (2-3) had all the momentum.
“It just didn’t look good,” Neal said.
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The Cougars kept fighting for a few more minutes and finally regrouped, in large part due to Williams’ play.
He hit the go-ahead 3-pointer, down 51-49, with about 1:30 left, and the Cougars wouldn’t look back.
They said it
“Colton’s just a guy that’s been all in with this team from Day 1,” Neal said. “If he’s on the bench, he’s talking and pulling for his teammates. He’s an awesome teammate, so I’m really really happy for him that he made the plays at the end.”
With 1:41 remaining in the game, Apex’s Eric Fox hit two free throws to close the deficit to two points. On the ensuing Leesville possession, the Cougars pressed around halfcourt and created a quick turnover. Colin Molden passed up a 3 and found Williams for a more open elbow triple, which he swished.
Three who mattered
Ian Boyd, Apex: Like always, Apex relied heavily on its star forward. The senior scored 10 in the first quarter, and though he cooled off after that, he still ended up with 22 points.
Jonathan Mebane, Leesville: Mebane led the Pride in scoring with 17 points, but it felt like a quiet 17. Points are points, though, and his four triples in the second half were a big reason why Leesville had a chance late in the game.
Colton Williams, Apex: Williams scored seven points, and all came in the fourth quarter. He was the catalyst for Apex in starting and finishing off a late comeback. After the go-ahead 3, Williams grabbed a defensive rebound with 16.6 seconds remaining, got fouled and hit both free throws to extend the Cougars’ lead to three.
The Cougars’ free throwing shooting was clutch down the stretch. They went 19-for-22 from the line overall.
“Right there at the end when we needed all of them, we made all of them,” Neal said.