Millbrook fell to Garner in the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A boys’ basketball playoffs.
But Trejon Jacob got the Wildcats to the game, hoping for a chance to redeem last year’s semifinal loss to the defending 4A champion.
He lined up for two free throws in the closing seconds against Apex in the third round on Feb. 28 and made both to claim a 75-74 victory.
“I mean, just relaxing and trying not to think about the free throws at all,” Jacob said of how he remained composed with the game on the line. “If you do (think about them), you’re more likely to end up missing them, so I just tried to stay calm and make the free throws like we do in practice and trust the training we do in practice.”
Jacob is a transfer from Houston, Texas, and had been a valuable contributor to the Wildcats’ program in his two years.
Even in the heartbreaking loss to Garner, who played Cary for the East regional final on Saturday, Jacob led a Wildcats rally after halftime. He finished with a game-leading 33 points and made four straight 3-pointers in the second half. He also had seven rebounds in Millbrook’s final game of the season.
“I think we’re a more disciplined team,” Jacob juxtaposed the Millbrook team from last year and the two-loss group of 2015-16. “We’re sticking with the game plan more, and we’re not losing focus.”
The Wildcats poured everything they had into the Garner game after erasing a 19-point deficit and getting to within one twice in the fourth quarter.
After the loss, Millbrook coach Scott McInnes talked about the bond the players share.
Jacob, who’s part of a basketball family and has played since he was 3, said he’s grown from playing on the team. He finished his senior season averaging 13.5 points as part of a diverse scoring core.
He averaged 24 points and 9.5 rebounds in the playoffs.
“The coaches just stayed with me through adversity,” he said. “I used to get down on myself, but my teammates and all my coaches helped me with that. They kept telling me I got it and I could do better. It’s very meaningful. We have something very special here at this school.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Sport / Position: Basketball / Forward
Fun fact: Likes to read books