On Friday night, undefeated South Wake Athletic Conference opponents faced off. Apex Friendship (3-0) travelled to Fuquay-Varina (3-0) for a matchup between the two top teams in the conference.
In the first quarter, we saw a hot start from Apex Friendship as they jumped out to a quick 12-3 in the first 2:34 of the ball game. Apex Friendship did a tremendous job of executing in the half court where they pass and cut extremely well. Defenses are constantly having to guard them. Senior guard, Kenny Noland, and junior guard, Gabe Proctor, exploded for 21 combined points in the opening eight minutes (Noland with 12 points, Proctor with 9 points). Fuquay-Varina’s Sheick Samoura kept his team within striking distance as he added 10 first quarter points. The first quarter ended with Apex Friendship holding a 28-14 lead.
The Patriots continued to expand their lead in the second quarter. Gabe Proctor was the story in the first half for Apex Friendship. The younger Proctor brother is known for his ability to shoot the ball at a very high level, and he did just that, going 3-6 from beyond the arc. He also was able to get to the basket and finish with crafty left handed layups or get to the other side of the rim for the reverse.
Apex Friendship expanded the lead to 49-27 heading into the half. But the game wasn’t over.
In the third quarter, Fuquay-Varina started to make their run, fueled by a big quarter from junior Mayar Wol. Wol did an incredible job on both ends of the floor. He scored from the perimeter, he got to the basket, and hit a pair of free throws. On the defensive end, he was blocking shots and snagging half of the misses that came off the rim.
Ryan Maslow also was key in the comeback efforts for Fuquay-Varina. He has such a tremendous basketball IQ, fills up the stat sheet, and makes the right plays for his team.
Fuquay-Varina cut into the lead, but Apex Friendship held onto a 57-42 lead heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter began to heat up. Fuquay-Varina now had the momentum. Senior guard, Darius Briley, played a major role for Fuquay-Varina in the fourth quarter. Seven of his nine points came in the fourth. He knocked down a tough baseline crossover step-back jumper. He was finding teammates for layups at the end of drives.
But one couldn’t leave the game without seeing the impact that the Apex Friendship senior guard, Luke Proctor, had on the game. The fourth quarter was his. 13 of his 16 points came in the fourth. Every single time that Fuquay-Varina seemed to make a run, Luke Proctor would answer. He scored seven straight points for Apex Friendship. Fuquay-Varina cut the score to 57-46, but Luke Proctor answered with two straight baskets of his own. Once with a sweet hesitation move and went right by the defender for the layup. A few possessions later, with the score at 61-50, Kenny Noland grabbed the defensive rebound, pushed the ball in transition, and found Luke Proctor for the catch and shoot three-pointer to extend the lead back to 14 points with the score now 64-50.
With 2:00 remaining in the fourth, Fuquay-Varina cut the deficit to 10 points with the score at 66-56. But every time Fuquay-Varina cut into the Apex Friendship lead, Apex Friendship would answer. As soon as the score the score got to 66-56, Kenny Noland scored back-to-back baskets of his own to extend the lead once again. One of those was a put-back in transition, and the next possession he came up with the loose ball and took it down the court for the transition basket.
Apex Friendship held onto the lead during the second half surge from Fuquay-Varina. Apex Friendship finished with the 77-66 win to improve to 4-0 on the season.
Let’s take a look at the game’s top performers from each team:
Kenny Noland 6’3 2021 (Apex Friendship)
Kenny Noland was the game’s leading scorer with 29 points. He also added 4 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 assists. Noland made his presence felt from the opening tip. He does an incredible job leading this team. He always has a calm, under control demeanor. Whether they are winning or losing, his manner doesn’t change. He shot the ball well from the perimeter, knocking down four three-point field goals. He got to the basket and to the foul line. What was most impressive during this game was good of an on-ball defender he is. He came up with four steals on the night, and he isn’t someone who gambles. He plays very fundamental defense. He does a great job of keeping his chest in front of opposing ball handlers. By doing so, he is able to force opponents into help, come up with steals, and create easy scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Sheick Samoura 6’5 2021 (Fuquay-Varina)
Sheick Samoura is a long, athletic guard prospect who excels in the open court. He finished with a team high 16 points. Samoura does a tremendous job of getting out in transition and utilizing his athleticism to his advantage when attacking the basket. He is able to finish above the rim. He is able to finish through contact. He is able to contort his body in the air and altar his finishes. He also has the ability to get to the midrange and elevate over defenders to knock down the pull-up jumper. He also can make the three-point shot which opens up the rest of his game. Defensively, he does a good job of utilizing his length and athleticism. He forces tough shots for opponents and makes them have to shoot over his length. He also is able to contest shots at the rim, whether it’s coming up with chase down blocks or rotating for blocks on the weak side. Samoura had originally committed to Air Force but has recently opened his recruitment back up. Expect his recruitment to continue to pick up, especially with him being such a high academic student-athlete.
Luke Proctor 6’1 2021 (Apex Friendship)
Luke Proctor was possibly the most important player of the night for Apex Friendship. He did so much on both sides of the ball to help his team win. He finished the game with 16 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals. Although he only had three points in the first half, he was doing so many other things to contribute to his team’s success. He was defending. He was rebounding. He was making plays for others. Luke Proctor is such an unselfish player. He makes the extra pass to the open shooter. Then when his team needed him to step up and score the basketball, he did. As mentioned above, he scored 13 points in the fourth quarter. Every time that Fuquay-Varina would cut into the lead, he would make a play. One of the most impressive stats of the night was that Luke Proctor took four charges on the defensive end!
Mayar Wol 6’8 2022 (Fuquay-Varina)
Mayar Wol finished the night with a double-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 assists. The long, athletic forward does a great job attacking the glass on both ends of the floor. Defensively, he protects the rim really well. Even when he doesn’t block a shot, he definitely altars it. On the offensive end, he has a skill set that causes a mismatch along the perimeter. He has the ability to step out and consistently make the three-point shot. This spaces the court and allows him to drive it, where he can get all the way to the rim or knock down the midrange. He also showcased great touch as he made a nice floater in the second quarter. Wol also has a good handle for his size. He is able to grab the defensive rebound and start the break for his team. In the first quarter, he grabbed a rebound, pushed the ball in transition, and found Samoura for the dunk.
Gabe Proctor 6’1 2022 (Apex Friendship)
One can’t help but notice the energy that Gabe Proctor brings to this team. In a season where there aren’t many fans, and when you’re on the road with no fans supporting your team at all, teams have to create their own energy. And that is what Gabe Proctor does for this team. Even more so than his shooting ability. He is constantly talking, clapping, and getting his teammates going. This energy is contagious. Gabe Proctor finished the game with 19 points, going 3-6 from beyond the arc. Known for his shooting ability, he forces defenders to have to guard him well beyond the three-point line. He moves really well without the basketball. By doing so, he forces long closeouts and is able to get by his defender. He knocked down two left-handed scoop layups. And another time, he drove the left baseline and finished with a high-handed reverse layup.
Ryan Maslow 6’7 2021 (Fuquay-Varina)
Ryan Maslow is a high IQ player who has a tremendous feel for the game. He does a great job of consistently impacting the game on all fronts throughout the course of the game. The 6’7 guard finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block. Often times running the point for his team, he does a really good job of facilitating. He is a gifted passer who gets into the paint by creating off the bounce and finding the open man. He had a beautiful drive and kick to an open Mayar Wol for the catch and shoot three-pointer in the third quarter. Maslow is also able to get downhill and finish at the rim. He is such a dangerous threat from all levels, especially given his ability to shoot from the perimeter. He has a smooth shooting stroke. Given his size, skill set, and versatility, expect his recruitment to really pick up here over the next few months.
Apex Friendship Final Stats
Kenny Noland – 29 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists
Gabe Proctor – 19 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Luke Proctor – 16 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals
Colin Cleary – 6 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound
Will Asken – 4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist
Patrick Sams – 3 points, 1 steal
Cole Ganim – 3 rebounds, 1 steal
Fuquay-Varina Final Stats
Sheick Samoura – 16 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block
Ryan Maslow – 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block
Mayar Wol – 14 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists
Darius Briley – 9 points, 3 assists, 1 steal
Evan Rogers – 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Jaedyn Bayley – 4 points, 1 rebound
Dylan Smith – 1 point, 1 rebound