Each player on Millbrook's girls' basketball team received a flower and a standing ovation Friday afternoon inside the school's gym.
Administrators, teachers and students all cheered on the Wildcats, a team that today will try to win Millbrook's first basketball state title in school history. Millbrook (30-2) will play West Forsyth (25-3) in the NCHSAA 4A championship game at Reynolds Coliseum at N.C. State University.
This was the school's second-ever pep rally not centered on homecoming. Friday also illustrated how Millbrook has become a basketball school. A year ago, Millbrook held a pep rally after both boys' and girls' teams advanced to the title games.
Although the boys didn't make the championship this time, the entire team was in the stands to support the girls.
"I felt happy that we have received the recognition," guard Brianna Hinton said. "It means a lot to know your friends and the faculty are behind you."
Coach Chris East, who has built the girls program for 15 years, recorded the event with his camcorder.
"I wanted to make sure the girls have a chance to see this again," East said.
Today's game is expected to be essentially a home game for Millbrook since the school is nine miles away from Reynolds Coliseum. Already, the school has sold more than 1,000 tickets and expects more fans to show up at the ticket window before tipoff.
"It was great to see the support we had (at the pep rally)," East said. "Hopefully, we'll see it at the game."
The student body kept the enthusiasm going throughout the pep rally with chants. The school's band, cheerleaders and dancers all performed as well, which brought smiles to the Wildcats.
"We didn't think we were going to get to do this again," guard Courtney Best said of the pep rally. "A lot of the guys were with us the whole way this season."
The event centered on a three-point shooting competition between the Wildcats and a group of teachers.
Hinton, along with guards Mykia Jones, Katelyn Mitchell and Alex Tomlinson, beat the teachers with ease in seeing who could make 10 3-pointers first.
The biggest highlight came when Carlee Clemons, a guard on the boys' team, jumped over teacher Cheryl Boswell for an impressive one-handed dunk. That brought the crowd - and the Wildcats - to its feet in celebration.
"That was a phenomenal play," Best said. "That was really amazing."
Before the event ended, the Wildcats were asked to speak.
Hinton was the player who gave the Wildcats' message to the crowd. With her teammates behind her on the court, Hinton grabbed the microphone.
"We need support from everyone!" Hinton said to the crowd. "I want to see more people come to this game than any other this year!"