RALEIGH — Millbrook’s girls are another step closer to the team’s two-pronged goal set out before this season. On Friday night, takeaways and dominant rebounding propelled the Wildcats to a third consecutive regional appearance on Friday.
The defending 4A champions, still perfect on the year, shut down Holly Springs 45-24.
The goal of a second straight state title was always apparent, but winning one this year means more to Millbrook (30-0) because it’s at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill.
That’s where Millbrook fell in the 2011 state championship game.
“To right a wrong” as Millbrook coach Chris East puts it.
“That’s been our motivation all along,” he said.
The first quarter ground to a halt with the Wildcats up 7-6. But Holly Springs (26-4) missed all nine of its shots in the second quarter, and Millbrook led 20-6. The Wildcats had only shot 7-for-30 (23.3 percent) themselves at that point. But the Golden Hawks were 2-of-15 (13.3 percent). The differential in attempts was a credit to its edge in rebounding and forced turnovers.
“I thought we did a good job on the boards, on offense and defense,” East said. In the second half, Millbrook began to open up the scoring more thanks in large part to the court vision of point guard Alex Tomlinson. Tomlinson ended the game with 10 assists on the Wildcats’ 19 field goals.
“(She) had an excellent floor game,” East said.
Holly Springs, which ended the game 9-of-33 (27.2 percent) from the field, was led by Kiara Leslie’s 11 points.
Millbrook’s leading scorer was Briana Day, who had 18 points. Mykia Jones had eight.
East credited Day’s defense on Leslie, saying it was her best performance this year.
Millbrook will face Cap-8 rival Broughton in the 4A regional semifinals Wednesday night in Fayetteville at the Crown Coliseum.
Blake: 919-460-2606; On Twitter: @JMBpreps