RALEIGH — Broughton coach Jeff Ferrell wanted his team to experience what it felt like to win a championship. Millbrook denied the Caps the satisfaction of winning the Cap Eight 4A regular-season title.
In Friday night's tournament final, Broughton reigned 52-34 and hoisted the championship plaque in front of its home crowd.
During the regular season, each won on the opponent's court. That trend appeared to be on its way to continuing early in the second half.
Millbrook started the third quarter with three consecutive baskets to build a seven-point lead. That's when Ferrell called a timeout.
"It wasn't looking pretty," Ferrell said. "I just said in the huddle, 'Look, we have the whole second half to get back into this game.' "
Actually, the Caps (21-6) only needed the rest of the third quarter. After pulling even with Millbrook, point guard Devonte Graham made 3-pointers to end the third quarter.
"I was passing up open shots in the first half," said Graham, who had 14 points. "I know in order for us to win I was going to have to take some chances."
Each of Graham's baskets gave his teammates, and the crowd, energy.
"They were probably the biggest buckets in the game for us," guard Cameron Gottfried said. "It gave everyone new life."
The Caps orchestrated their comeback without starters James Hemphill and Chris Corchiani.
Hemphill, a forward who averages 11 points, fouled out early in the fourth quarter. Corchiani missed the game after injuring his right ankle the night before in a win against Leesville Road.
That helped allow Gottfried to score six of his 10 points in the fourth quarter.
"Coach gave me the opportunity," Gottfried said. "I wanted to take advantage of it because the atmosphere was unbelievable."
With the lead, Broughton switched a 2-3 zone in the fourth quarter. The defensive adjustment forced Millbrook to shoot from the perimeter. The Wildcats missed 13 3-point attempts in the second half.
Millbrook girls 53, Broughton 46
Millbrook had the best offensive and defensive players on the court against a scrappy Broughton team. The two players - center Briana Day and forward Ryan Flowers - also were the tallest players the court.
That was the advantage Millbrook (25-2) used to get past Broughton (20-7) to win the tournament title.
Flowers led the Wildcats with 23 points.
"We have multiple scorers on our team," Flowers said. "It was team effort to find the opening person and I was that player."
Day anchored Millbrook's defense with 12 blocks.
"I know it's a 50-50 chance the refs are going to call a foul," Day said. "I really tried to block the ball without using the body, and it worked."
With less than a minute left, the Caps had a chance to cut the Wildcats' lead to a single possession. Broughton center Adrienne Simmons was able to get past Flowers on her way to the basket. Simmons didn't get by Day.
Just like she had done the entire game, Day blocked Simmons' layup attempt to secure the victory.
"This is a big win for us," Day said. "We showed determination because Broughton didn't back down."