If nothing else, Broughton boys’ basketball coach Jeff Ferrell felt relieved after the Capitals’ game against Knightdale.
“We weathered the storm,” Ferrell said after No. 18 Broughton’s 58-43 opening-round win in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.
The Capitals (17-10) never trailed in the second half, but it was their defense in the first half that allowed them to have more room for error after intermission. Broughton led 30-16 at the break, holding the Knights to eight points in each of the first two quarters.
“I was so proud of our defense,” Ferrell said. “Dondre Griffin is a great player, and we somehow held him scoreless. That’s just a tremendous effort by our kids.”
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Broughton duo Jalen Finch and Aaron Gottfried split the duties of guarding Griffin, who has signed to play at Murray State. The other point of emphasis for Ferrell was keeping Knightdale off the boards. Ferrell knew if Broughton could win in the rebound category, it would have a better chance of knocking off the No. 15 Knights.
Broughton junior center Jack Hemphill was up to the challenge.
“In that situation you really have to come with an aggressive mindset and be physical,” Hemphill said. “We had to make sure we made contact first and go after every rebound. We couldn’t take plays off.”
It looked like the Caps took a couple of plays off in the third quarter, starting the second half with consecutive turnovers. Knightdale took advantage, going on a 7-3 run and cutting the lead to seven after a layup from Josh Schenck (11 points). The faster pace seemed to rattle Broughton early.
“We knew they were going to pressure us a little bit more in that second half,” Ferrell said. “And they did, they made it harder for us to get in our offense. That did create some uncomfortable situations for us, but we regrouped.”
Sophomore Tyler Palmer (six points) started the fourth with a 3 to give Broughton a 12-point lead. Knightdale forward Jordan Shannon (seven points) threw down a slam to pull the Knights to within 10, but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the evening.
A triple by Broughton guard Tharon Suggs (team-high 17 points) and an old-fashioned, three-point play by Jeremy Robinson (13) were the final nail in the coffin on Knightdale’s season.
The Knights were led by Andre Willis with 14 points. Hemphill not only controlled the boards, but he won the battle of the paint between himself and the Knights 6-foot-5 sophomore center Andrew Tuazama, outscoring him 14-5.
“Coach had talked about the (matchup) some,” Hemphill said. “But I’ve played against him for a while, so I knew it was going to be a matchup. But I came into it like any other (game) and just played as hard as I can.”
Broughton will take on No. 2 Garner, who defeated No. 31 Ashley 88-65, in Thursday’s second round. The Trojans are the defending 4A state champions.
“We’re one of 32 teams left in the state of North Carolina,” Ferrell said. “Everybody else is putting up their uniforms for the year. We just want to make it last as long as we can. We will prepare our hearts out (Wednesday) and give it our best shot on Thursday.”
Wildcats cut Warriors’ postseason short: Millbrook’s boys wasted little time getting started in their 81-55 victory over East Wake in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs on Tuesday in Raleigh.
The Wildcats doubled the Warriors’ score in the first quarter (30-15) and more than doubled the Warriors in the second frame to lead 58-28 at the half.
Three players scored in double digits for No. 3-seeded Millbrook (26-1). Trejon Jacob posted a game-high 23 points in a double-double effort coupled with his 15 rebounds. Jordan Whitfield contributed 13 points and Monte Harris finished with 11.
Mason Harrell led the No. 30-seeded Warriors with a double-double of 20 points and 10 blocks. Drew Carroll was the only other East Wake player in double digits scoring, with 12 points.
While both teams shot nearly 50 percent inside the arc, where Millbrook got 50 of its points and East Wake got 44, the Wildcats did the most damage from long range Tuesday. They took seven more attempts than the Warriors (24-17), but also made five more 3-pointers (6-1) in the game.
Millbrook also beat East Wake 51-14 on the boards.
The loss ended East Wake’s campaign at an 11-13 mark. Millbrook advanced to host No. 19 Jack Britt in Thursday’s second round.