Trejon Jacob’s explanation was simple: The Millbrook Wildcats had a good string of practices.
After not playing in a game in 12 days because of Thanksgiving break, the Millbrook boys’ basketball team dismantled Harrells Christian Academy and its star forward Quate McKinzie, 94-49, at home on Saturday night. The Wildcats (3-0) capped off the second annual 2015 Millbrook Winter Showcase.
Jacob, a senior guard, led the game with 25 points, and his only bucket in the fourth quarter came when he finished a dunk from a Monte Harris feed in the closing seconds.
Millbrook recorded 25 assists to prove solid ball movement. Junior guard Jordan Whitfield led the Cats with 11.
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“That’s one thing I’m loving about this team,” Millbrook coach Scott McInnes said. “They’re unselfish and really make the extra pass, even with one minute to go. That’s something we preach all the time, and it’s something you can see that is very evident.”
Millbrook led by as many as 11 in the first quarter, but Harrells climbed back to 23-19 in the second.
Senior guard John Burwell, who went 3-of-3 in the first quarter and contributed 15 points on the night, applied man pressure to disrupt the Crusaders’ offense with 3:56 left before halftime. The physical defense led to a Harrells turnover, and senior forward Faison Brock finished a reverse on the other end to put the Cats up 10 points. Harris (13), Brock (10) and Rashad George (10) rounded off Millbrook’s double figures.
As a unit, Millbrook’s press, trap and suffocating man stifled the visitors in the showcase finale.
The Cats finished 4-of-4 from the free throw line, relying on their scoring from the floor.
“We can score,” McInnes said. “It really comes down to how good we’re going to be on defense and rebounding. Those are two parts that we’re really going to focus on.”
Harrells key player McKinzie finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He was one of only three Crusaders to attempt a field goal in the third quarter.
“Coach had always told us to box out the big man, so we just stuck to that game plan and executed as well as we could,” Jacob said. “I’m just glad we could make him ineffective this game.”
They said it
Jacob on Millbrook picking up the load after losing its top scorers from last season: “We were very underestimated. We told ourselves that it’s not just all Chris (Clemons), Rob (Brown) and Drew (Evans). We’re kind of deep in seniors. We had got together and said, ‘Just ’cause they’re gone doesn’t mean we can’t score anymore.’ We just wanted to come out and prove to the doubters it wasn’t the Chris, Rob and Drew Show.”
Three who mattered
Trejon Jacob, Millbrook: The senior led the game in scoring and kept the Cats’ defensive prowess consistent when he forced a turnover on a Harrells inbounds pass in the first half.
Jordan Whitfield, Millbrook: His 11 assists totaled more than the entire Harrells team (seven).
John Burwell, Millbrook: He started 3-of-3 from the field to get the Cats going, and he came away with four steals.
Out of bounds
Late in the final period, Millbrook’s student section began chanting the name of senior Austin Cobb. They wanted him to get in the game with the Cats’ big lead.
When McInnes put Cobb in, the cheers grew louder – but that volume didn’t compare to what they unleashed when Cobb, who also plays tennis, scored his first bucket. He stepped around two defenders to drop it. Later, he dished to Harris for a 20-point lead.
“He’s one of the best tennis players here at Millbrook,” McInness said of Cobb. “It was the first year he tried out, and he had a good tryout. It’s fun to see him part of this. It was exciting for him.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan