The meetings between Apex and Cary this basketball season have been dominated by the Imps. The first game between the two resulted in a win for Cary by twelve points. On Jan.28, the game ended with a 79-78 overtime loss for the Cougars. Against the then-undefeated Imps, an overtime loss by one point was nothing to be upset about. Any meetings between the Cougars and the Imps have always been rivalry games. For boys’ basketball, the Cougars lead the series 12-5 (since 2004).
Leading up to the championship game, neither team seemed to have much trouble defeating their opponents. Apex beat Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs by ten points and fourteen points, respectively. Cary beat Athens Drive by twenty points and Panther Creek by twenty-two points. Cary was the one seed, and Apex was the two seed; there were no surprises in who was playing for the championship.
The conference championship game was different from the previous meetings between the rivals. Apex had control of the game in the first quarter and held a steady lead but was down by six after the third quarter ended. A twelve-point quarter from Colin Molden helped boost the Cougars to the win. As usual, Ian Boyd was consistent with his scoring and ended the night with twenty points. This tied him with former Chapel Hill player Phil Ford for points scored in his career at 2,076. Junior Eric Fox was a big contributor on both ends of the floor as well, sinking two three-pointers in the first quarter.
Coach Neal and the Cougars have won the SWAC championship for the last five years. They have not lost this season since Jan. 28, and that loss was to Cary. The Cougars are getting hot at the right time. They entered the state playoffs riding a nine-game winning streak and beat the New Bern Bears 89-68. The Cougars started and finished their first playoff game with ease. They took an early lead, and while the Bears made several offensive runs, it was not enough to defeat the Cougars.
The next game that the eleven-seeded Cougars played was against the six-seeded Seventy-First Falcons. The Falcons defeated Panther Creek in their first round of the playoffs by six points. The game was played at Seventy-First High School in Fayetteville on Feb. 25. The Cougars won by four points but lost to Millbrook by one point in the third round.
Apex basketball finished their season with a 22-8 record. Boyd closed out his high school career with 2,128 points. It was a good season, Cougars. We all look forward to seeing what you do next year!