It was a good night to be a Wildcat. In the 103rd all-time meeting between Millbrook and Broughton, the N&O No. 3 ranked Wildcats boys basketball team prevailed over the visiting No. 11 ranked Caps 72-61.
In the first game of the night, the Millbrook girls didn’t take long to prove they are the No. 1 team in the N&O top 25 rankings, dominating the visiting Caps 66-37.
The only loss for the Millbrook girls (9-1, 3-0) was to Paul VI of Fairfax, Va., ranked No. 1 1 nationally in the MaxPreps top 25. Millbrook is currently ranked No. 18 18 in the MaxPreps national rankings and is the defending 2015 NCHSAA 4A State Champions.
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The young Broughton (2-8, 0-3) lineup couldn’t match the depth and experience from Millbrook and the Wildcats capitalized on that Friday night.
With only one returning full time starter from last year’s squad, Broughton’s young and inexperienced team had a hard time gaining any momentum.
“We are a team trying to find our identity right now. Our year has been a mixture of a really tough schedule and some missed opportunities,” said first-year Broughton girls coach Mike Loutzenheiser.
Opening in a full-court press, the Wildcat defense forced several turnovers and created easy layups as they opened up an early 15-4 first quarter lead. Playing several sophomores, Broughton was unable to break the press and get settled into their offense.
Junior Alexus Tucker led the first half scoring for Millbrook with eight points and N.C. State signee Kai Crutchfield added eight points as the Wildcats led 34-13 at the half.
The Wildcats continued to control the tempo throughout the game. Broughton sat in a 2-3 defensive zone and Millbrook’s offense executed its half court offense to near perfection in the second half. Nine players scored for the Wildcats. Crutchfield led all scorers with 16 points and Jada Smith led Broughton with 9 points.
Millbrook (7-2, 2-1) led Broughton (6-3, 1-2) 32-27 at halftime.
The two teams traded baskets early in the third. Jalen Finch led Broughton with a pair of baskets to tie the game at 35 mid- way through the quarter. Chase Fowler then took over on the post for the Wildcats and on the defensive boards. Scoring 8 of his 14 points for the game in quarter, Millbrook led 45-40 at the end of the third quarter.
In a physical and intense fourth quarter Millbrook broke the game open and led 57-44 with 2:30 remaining. Playing in his first varsity season, Fowler took over the game down the stretch, finishing with 14 points and securing the 72-61 victory for the Wildcats. Patrick Dorsey led Millbrook with 19 points. Jalen Finch and Carson McCorkle led Broughton with 19 and 15 points respectively for the Caps.
“The first half we weren’t dialed in and we settled in defensively in the second quarter,” said Millbrook Head coach Scott McInnes. “Chase did a good job on the post and had a good presence. He is getting better every day in practice and it showed with tonight’s performance.”