RALEIGH — For the second straight season, the girls basketball teams from Millbrook and Green Hope met in the third round of the playoffs for the right to move on to the 4-A East regionals.
But this time, the game was at Millbrook.
And this time, Green Hope didn't have Kristen Gaffney.
Those factors, plus a stalwart defensive effort, sent Millbrook (28-1) to a 48-39 win in a showdown between the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the N&O rankings.
"It's a little bit of redemption," Millbrook coach Chris East said. He then quickly added, "I hate that Gaffney couldn't play."
The area leader in scoring (30 ppg), Gaffney rolled her right ankle in a second-round win over Hillside. She missed most of that one-point victory and was in street clothes Friday, still hobbling on the ankle.
Alex Tomlinson led Millbrook with 13 points while adding four steals and three assists. She also had the unenviable task of keeping Green Hope sophomore point guard Ashley Williams out of the lane.
Williams had 15 points, six rebounds, four steals and six assists - but the Falcons couldn't cut the deficit any lower than two possessions after the third quarter.
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