Before April 4, 2016, few people knew who Kris Jenkins was. Of course, people had heard his name throughout the tournament, and Villanova followers knew exactly what he could do. But after the ending of the NCAA championship game Monday night, no one will ever forget his name or what he did.
The championship game was a toss-up. Two-seed Villanova had just come off of a forty-four point win (the largest-ever margin in the Final Four game) against Buddy Hield and Oklahoma. One-seed UNC had beaten ten-seed Syracuse in what was, compared to the Villanova-Oklahoma matchup, overall a pretty close game. The Tar Heels won by seventeen, though the final score does not accurately depict how close the game really was. Fans all over the country watched the games and made their picks for the championship. A Villanova win would be their first championship since 1985, and a UNC win would be their first since 2009.
Winter has come to a close, and spring is upon us; with it comes a bevy of new sports Apex’s student-athletes will participate in. Among the most successful in years past is the lacrosse team, led by Coach John Hayden. Apex has played in six of the past eleven State Championship games, winning in 2005, 2013 and 2015, and has participated in nine of the past twelve Final Fours. The lacrosse team (7-1) was undefeated before they lost their first game of the season in an OT thriller against Marvin Ridge in Waxhaw, North Carolina. Senior Jack Hayden, Coach Hayden’s son, leads the team with thirty-five points and thirteen assists. The team’s next game is April 12, at home versus Holly Springs.
March Madness officially kicked off Sunday with the conclusion of conference tournaments, and the bracket has been announced. This year’s festivities begin with the First Four round on Mar. 15 in Dayton, Ohio. Along with the insanity that comes this month, there was plenty of shock and controversy once the seeds were made public. A few conference champions were granted one-seeds in the likes of Kansas, UNC and Oregon while the Jayhawks were named the number one overall seed. Virginia claimed the final controversial spot on the top line, edging the B1G Champion Michigan State Spartans, who claimed a two-seed.
With brackets released, fans have started zeroing in on the most likely upsets to expect come Mar. 17. No. 10 Temple looks like a candidate to knock off the superior Iowa Hawkeyes, slotted at No. 7. Also coming from the South region, No. 9 Connecticut looks like it could reasonably be favored in their matchup against No. 8 Colorado in lieu of their American Athletic Conference Championship. Out west in Anaheim, No. 13 UNC-Wilmington prepares for in-state foe Duke, attempting to knock the Blue Devils out of the first round for the second time in three years. No. 10 VCU looks like another team playing an inferior team ranked higher, with No.7 Oregon State on the slate for them. While other games can and will have non-expected outcomes, these are some of the more prominent upset bids on the bracket.
Ex-Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning announced on Sunday, Mar. 6 that he will retire from playing football after eighteen seasons in the NFL. He was arguably one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, and his legacy will be remembered by the NFL fan base. It seems as if it is all too good to be true after winning Super Bowl 50; he is the only quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl with two different franchises, and the victory against the Carolina Panthers marked the 200 win of his career, advancing past Brett Favre on the all-time quarterback wins leaderboard. Manning was set to make $19 million if he remained on the roster for the upcoming season. He turns forty on March 24.
There are very few Division I basketball programs in the country that are as up-and-down as NC State University’s. Your typical UNC fan would boo-hoo about a one-point loss to Duke and say that they have it worse, and a Kentucky fan would try to trump you by pointing out that they had an undefeated season and lost in the Final Four to Wisconsin last year. As a lifelong NC State fan, I can promise fans of both schools that they don’t know how good they have it. The UNCs and the Kentuckys of the world will never be swept under the rug or put down as much as the NC States will.
The arrival of March on the horizon that means two things: March Madness is almost here, and baseball is back. Pitchers and catchers have reported while position players are making their way south in bunches. Spring Training is near, and another incredible season is within grasp. The Royals triumphed over the Mets in New York almost four months ago, and an offseason that saw free agents collect almost two billion dollars collectively ensued. The Cubs open as favorites for this year’s World Series, with 4-1 odds of winning it all; the Astros and Angels follow as 10-1. The divisions have been shaken, and teams have started to form on paper, but they play out the season for a reason. The 2015 Nationals were crowned champs well before last season started, and they limped to the finish line, decimated by injuries and barely floating above five-hundred. The 2016 season is bound to be oversaturated with the parity that baseball fans crave, and said season will officially kick-off when Spring Training games begin March 1.
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.
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The staff and students of Apex High knew that the Staffsketball game last Thursday would be a fun spectacle, but no one could have predicted what a good game it would really be. For one, the game had a huge turnout, filling up the gym with over six-hundred students. The action on the court, however, was more intense than expected. The Black and Gold teams, coached by Elle Hepburn and Ian Boyd, respectively, were virtually neck-and-neck the entire game, but the Gold team eventually prevailed thanks to rock-solid teamwork and the aggressive play style of science teacher and Staffsketball M.V.P. Frederick Blanks. Both teams put their all into the game, and it was great to see the teachers play with that level of heart. Basketball coach Forrest Moog was not surprised at all by the Gold Team’s close win, saying, “They are our archrivals in the conference. Every year it’s a great game; it’s tight whether it’s here or away. It’s a tradition, but I told everyone beforehand that the Gold Team is just better looking. Honestly, when you know you’re going to win it’s not as exciting, but it still feels good.”
Hall of Fame inductee, the first coach to win 350 games at two different schools, two national championships; any Tar Heel fan would know exactly who is accountable for these prestigious accolades: Roy Williams. Yet when will it be time to stop? Despite coming off two straight losses and a tough game at Boston College Feb. 9, something far worse occurred. During a media timeout, Williams was irate with an official over a call and quickly returned to his team’s huddle, finding himself collapsing to the ground with players fortunately there to catch him. All signs point to Williams’s long struggle with vertigo and his inability to step away from basketball to overcome health issues.
Shooting Guard Ian Boyd recently passed Jerry Stackhouse on the basketball scoring list in North Carolina in a huge win against Middle Creek. During the game on Feb. 11, Ian passed the 2,000-point mark, and the game was paused upon his record breaking score. Ian was given a ball to recognize his accomplishment. He then went on to give the ball to his mother; he explained that she was the first person he thought of to give the ball to.
Now that Ian’s high school career is ending, he went on to talk about what is to come in college. “I committed to George Mason because they made me feel like I would be a big part of the team,” said Boyd. “The other college tours were fun, but I didn’t feel like I would have the best opportunity for success at other schools.” GM is the best option for him because it is a division one school, and he will likely have a starting role as a shooting guard; GM expects Boyd to impact the team from his first year.