Fans in Broughton’s Holliday Gym should have paid double for the pair of exciting games they witnessed Friday night.
In the Cap-8 Conference opener for both schools, Broughton and Wake Forest split varsity contests, each coming down to the last possession. The varsity girls’ and boys’ games were decided by a combined six points, with the Wake Forest girls winning 47-44 on a last-second shot and the Broughton boys prevailing 56-53.
Broughton rallies past Cougars boys
Broughton boys’ basketball coach Jeff Ferrell looked like he barely had a chance to catch his breath standing in the hallway outside the locker room.
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“If our next 13 conference games are going to be anything like that,” he said leaning against a wall, “it’s going to be incredible. I don’t know how you top something like that.”
The Capitals (4-3, 1-0 Cap-8) erased a five-point deficit with 6 minutes remaining to defeat the visiting Cougars.
Wake Forest (2-5, 0-1) was down, 54-53, and had a chance to take the lead, but Theo Howard’s shot bounced off the rim. There was a scrum under the basket, and the officials charged the Cougars with a timeout. The problem was, Wake Forest didn’t have a timeout remaining.
Cougars coach Todd Seymour pleaded with the officials that no player called a timeout, but the call stood.
Broughton’s Tharon Suggs hit one free throw. Jalen Finch added another moments later, and Wake Forest couldn’t get another shot off as the final horn sounded.
“We’re just waiting to get over that hump and win a tight game,” Seymour said. “We’ve been in every single game we played.”
Ferrell and the Caps know that feeling all too well.
“We’ve been in some tight games this year, and we’ve lost some close ones where we didn’t some things down the stretch,” Ferrell said. “We did that tonight.”
Some of those things Ferrell mentioned were getting stops, taking care of the basketball and hitting free throws. Suggs, who finished with a game-high 19 points, hit five big free throws in the closing minutes. Finch added another pair that put Broughton ahead, 54-52, and the Caps were able to contain Howard on the Cougars’ last possession – the key stop they needed to secure the win.
Jeremy Robinson and Jack Hemphill scored 15 and 10 points, respectively, for the Caps to help Suggs. Xach Gill led Wake Forest with 12 points. Demetrius Everett and Isaiah Jones each added nine for the Cougars.
Keenan Surles finds her shot
Wake Forest’s Keenan Surles admitted her shot wasn’t falling against Broughton. But when the Cougars needed a big bucket, the sophomore guard did not hesitate to pull the trigger.
Tied at 44 with less than 15 seconds remaining, Surles pulled up from the left wing, knocking down the triple to give Wake Forest the victory.
“I wasn’t really shooting well the whole game,” she said, “but I knew that I had to shoot because there wasn’t much time left in the game. I knew it was going in.”
The Cougars (2-6, 1-0) struggled from the three-point line, going 4-of-19 from deep, but made the one that counted the most.
“Our coaches are always telling us just to keep shooting,” Surles said. “It only takes one shot to get on.”
At one point, it didn’t even appear that Wake Forest would need that shot.
The Cougars led by as many as 10 in the fourth quarter, but that’s when Broughton (2-4, 0-1) forward Katie Wadsworth (12 points) heated up. Wadsworth hit a pair triples to make it a four-point game, and the Caps eventually tied the game at 44 after a layup from Brittney Smith.
The Cougars got the ball back with 44 seconds remaining, milking the clock until the ball found its way into the hands of Surles, who calmly knocked down the big shot.
For Broughton, which outscored Wake Forest 22-15 in the fourth quarter, it was too little, too late.
“The message to my girls was really simple,” Caps coach Brad McCorkle said. “You can’t take three quarters off and expect to win a game in one quarter. That’s it. You have to play every quarter.”
Wake Forest got going in the first half thanks to a big second quarter from forward Jayla McDaniel, who personally outscored Broughton 8-4 on her way to a team-high 13 points.
“What can I say? She’s like my Charles Barkley,” Cougars coach Patrick Surles said. “She rebounds and only missed two free throws the whole game. That’s huge.”
Huge is the perfect word to describe the shot coach Surles saw his daughter take to win the game.
“She’s not scared to take the last shot,” coach Surles said. “Having the guts like that on the road to take that last shot was beautiful.”