Apex swats Hillside in MLK Classic
North Carolina Tar Heels legend Jerry Stackhouse was around for the first period when the Hillside boys’ basketball team went against Apex in the MLK Black Wall Street High School Basketball Classic at Riverside High School on Monday.
If the presence of the two-time NBA All-Star lifted either team to play better basketball in the early going, it was Apex. The Cougars jumped out to a 10-point lead en route to a 78-57 victory over the Hornets.
Hillside coach Crasten Davis said his guys started off flat.
“Early on, defensively, we gave up too many transition points,” Davis said. “We spent too much time watching the play end (on the offensive end) and not getting back on defense.”
Hillside did not have an answer for Apex guard T.J. Evans, who scored a layup off the opening tip and hit a 3-pointer to give the Cougars a 5-0 lead.
Marcus Bowling scored on the other end to get Hillside its first points, but the Hornets were beat getting back on defense, allowing transition points on the next two possessions.
A 3-pointer from Apex’s John Kitoko gave the Cougars a 12-2 lead four minutes into the game.
Hillside finally found its footing, getting four more points from Bowling and four from point guard Justice Kithcart. The Hornets played the Cougars evenly for the rest of the period.
Hillside narrowed Apex’s lead to five points midway through the second period when Robert Robinson Jr. hit a 3.
On the next possession, Hillside’s Malik Evans took a charge that gave the ball back to the Hornets. Then Evans was fouled on the other end of the floor and made one of two free throws to narrow the Cougars’ lead to four points.
That was as close as the Hornets would get.
With a minute left in the first half, Apex’s T.J. Wells passed the ball half the length of the court for an Ian Boyd dunk.
Hillside entered the fourth period down nine points but got outscored 25-15. Apex closed the door on Hillside with a 3 from Boyd that gave the Cougars a 20-point lead with 4:30 left in the game.
“I really feel like we’re doing good things and moving forward,” Davis said. “People need to realize that we’re a young team still getting our chemistry together.”
Hillside has three seniors.
Evans was named the game’s most valuable player.
Regarding the UNC alum who played 18 seasons and scored more than 16,000 career points in the NBA, Stackhouse was in attendance for the first two games Monday of the MLK Classic to show support for SJG Greater NC Sports, the charitable group that organized the tournament.
SJG Greater NC Sports president Donyell Bryant said the organization raises money that benefits high school basketball programs around here and offers mentoring wherein college and professional basketball players reach out to high school players.
The organization also receives support from both former NBA forward Rasheed Wallace, who played with Stackhouse at UNC, and former UNC assistant coach Phil Ford, who played at UNC and in the NBA.
Apex 78, Hillside 57
Apex |23 |15 |15 |25 — 78
Hillside |12 |15 |15 |15 — 57
Apex — T.J. Evans 27, Ian Boyd 13, John Kitoko 12, Jon Jones 8, T.J.
Wells 6, Majid Raji, Davis Dupree 2, Justin Moore 2, Reyho Tshiama.
Hillside — Robert Robinson 15, Justice Kithcart 12, Timothy Bowling
10, Malik Evans 9, Timothy Mangum 5, Trevion Thompson 2, Jalen McGee
3-point field goals — Apex 7 (Boyd 3, Evans 2, Kitoko 2); Hillside 5
(Robinson 2, Kithcart 2, Mangum 1).
Records: Apex is 10-6; Hillside is 8-6.