Milan Harrison doesn’t like losing and the only thing he hates more than losing is watching his team lose from the sidelines.
The News & Observer’s top-ranked team, Garner, didn’t take its first lead against No. 2 Millbrook until Harrison knocked down the go-ahead pull-up jumper with 15 seconds to go to give his squad a two-point lead en route to a 62-59 victory.
“I was on the bench and I was upset,” he said, “I knew I’d find a way to pick my team up … I told (coach Eddie Gray) that if he gave me one more chance, I’d go in there and hit it for him and I did.”
Harrison also hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 1:02 to go. The two shots were his only made field goals of the night.
Despite the fact the much-anticipated match-up proved to be a sloppy – and at times, chippy – game, Garner coach Eddie Gray was ready to adapt. In the second half, Gray placed an emphasis on pressuring Millbrook’s ballhandlers, forcing a plethora of costly turnovers.
“We went to a trap and man-to-man defense and we needed to put more ball pressure,” Gray said. “We weren’t getting them into double team situations and when we did, we got some easy steals.”
THREE TO KNOW
Patrick Dorsey, Millbrook: Dorsey scored 16 points for the Wildcats, and did it on only nine field goal attempts.
Gee Kalejaiye, Millbrook: Kalejaiye’s numbers (4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals) don’t jump off the page, but his hustle on the perimeter and quick hands made him a spark plug for the Wildcats’ defense all night.
Alex Reed, Garner: Despite shooting 2 for 13 in the first half, Reed was able to bounce back by leading all scorers with 21 points by choosing to penetrate the lane when his jump shot went dry.
BY THE NUMBERS
plus-6: Rebounding advantage for Garner (35 to 29)
23: Combined turnovers between the two sides (15 of which came after halftime). Both teams recorded season lows in points scored.
53.3: The 3-point percentage on the season for Dorsey after he hit 4-of-7 from behind the arc Wednesday night.
THEY SAID IT
Gray was making note of Millbrook’s outside shooting when Thomas Allen, an N.C. State recruit who transferred out-of-state during the summer after an all-state season, came across his mind.
“Of course our best outside shooter is playing at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire for some reason,” Gray said.