High School Sports

Apex sweeps Panther Creek in NC’s first televised high school basketball games

Apex’s Ian Boyd (32) shoots over Panther Creek's Juan Munoz (40) during the boys basketball game, which was played on Thursday, December 17, 2015 in Cary.
Apex’s Ian Boyd (32) shoots over Panther Creek's Juan Munoz (40) during the boys basketball game, which was played on Thursday, December 17, 2015 in Cary. newsobserver.com

Apex’s Ian Boyd and Samantha Michel turned in performances worthy of the TV cameras that were on hand for the first televised regular-season high school basketball games in North Carolina.

Led by Michel’s double-double, the Apex girls’ basketball team held off a Panther Creek rally with a steady fourth quarter to win 54-44 in a Southwest Wake 4A game. The Cougars’ boys answered with an 83-74 win thanks to Boyd’s career-high 39 points.

The games were broadcast by Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, which first began broadcasting regular season select N.C. High School Athletic Association football games in the fall. But even with the cameras and crew on hand, it felt like any other game in the SWAC – filled with action and crowd-pleasing moments.

“It really just felt like a normal game,” Boyd said.

Boyd’s defense carries boys

Yet Boyd’s game was anything but normal.

Boyd, a George Mason recruit, caught fire after a slow first quarter to help Apex (8-3, 6-1) stay firmly in second place in the conference. He did so while also having to chase around Panther Creek’s star guard Juan Munoz, holding the Longwood recruit in check for most of the first three quarters.

“It was just me getting to the basket, getting some free throws,” Boyd said.

He hit seven shots in a row at one point.

“Ian was the best player on the planet; he was the best player for sure in the county for 5-10 minutes straight,” Panther Creek coach Shawan Robinson said. “Each year he comes back, he’s added something to his game.”

Eric Field (17 points, eight rebounds) and Colin Molden (12 points) also gave Apex a spark. The Cougars are second in the SWAC going into the holiday break, behind only undefeated Cary.

“We’re escatatic about scoring 80-plus points, and Ian was just incredible. I don’t know what other word to describe it,” Apex coach David Neal said.

Munoz exploded in the fourth quarter, to finish with 26, as the Catamounts (6-3, 4-2) scored 33 in the final period but could never cut the lead to lower than six. The Cougars led 36-24 at halftime and were up by as much as 20 in the third quarter.

Munoz had nine rebounds and five assists, also team highs for Panther Creek. Justin Smalls (12 points, eight rebounds), Riley Adams (10 points) and Justin McKoy (10 points) all helped in the Catamounts’ final push.

Apex girls stay composed

Apex (6-5, 5-2) jumped out to a 20-8 lead in the first quarter, and it proved helpful when Panther Creek began to rally. The Catamounts (6-5, 3-4) held Apex to six points in the second quarter and took a brief lead in the third before going into the fourth tied at 38.

But the Cougars calmed down and got it inside to Michel, who had 13 points and game-highs in rebounds (13) and blocks (four), Elle Hepburn (15 points) and Josie Tarlton (14 points, nine rebounds).

“I thought our advantage was in the post tonight. We did a great job getting it to Sam and Josie tonight, and we did a great job of crashing the glass,” Apex coach Isaac Bristol said.

Panther Creek’s best moments came on slashing drives to the basket by Shotomei Greaux (11 points) and Kalaya Hall (eight points, five rebounds). The Catamounts forced Apex into turnovers in the second and third quarters to make up for the slow start.

“On any given night, a different girl can score, but we have to get everybody involved and we have to have intensity,” PC coach Danielle Moore said. “Tonight, that came from our guard play, so we were able to get rolling in the third quarter. We just couldn’t hold it out.”

J. Mike Blake: 919-460-2606, @JMBpreps