North Raleigh: Sports

Millbrook basketball sweeps Leesville Road behind Clemons' record night

Senior Night at Millbrook went off without a hitch Tuesday, and Chris Clemons made sure of it. Millbrook boys basketball throttled Leesville, 74-46, behind Clemons' 40 points following a 57-33 dismantling by the girls team over the Pride.

The senior had amassed over 30 points multiple times this season, but was unable to eclipse the 40-point mark. He also pitched in six steals, four assists and three rebounds to make sure he went out on top in his final home game.

"He's just fantastic. He just does so much for this team that it's hard to put into words," Millbrook coach Scott McInnes said. "I'm glad we got him. ... The thing is, he's grown so much as a player. Obviously he can shoot it, but his interior passing is better and his defense is phenomenal.

"Passing Antoine Gill and a couple other guys on that list makes this special."

Millbrook now moves to 21-2 and 12-1 in the Cap Eight while Leesville drops to 13-10 and 9-4 in the conference.

Hitting that 40-point plateau nearly didn't happen for Clemons. With just over two minutes remaining, the guard went down with a right leg cramp. He was taken off the court at 38 points before campaigning to get back on the floor.

Clemons re-entered with just 11 seconds remaining, took an inbounds pass and drove the length of the court to draw a foul. After the second shot went through—Clemons finished 14-for-14 from the charity stripe—the students started chanting, "Chris! Chris! Chris!"

"To be honest, I was surprised coach even let me back in the game," Clemons said with a laugh. "My teammates really sacrificed and allowed me to get another chance to score. ... I didn't feel a lot of pressure. Just had to decide whether to go for the three or the two.

"I'll never forget that moment."

Fellow senior Robert Brown also tallied 17 points, six rebounds and six blocks in his final home game. Junior Faison Brock led all players with 12 rebounds while Drew Evans finished his career at home with five points and four rebounds.

On the Leesville side, Jonathan Mebane (16 points, seven rebounds) and Ben Zemonek (12 points, four rebounds) had huge nights. However, it was not enough to take down the Wildcats, who guaranteed at least a share of the regular season Cap Eight title for the fourth consecutive year.

"Friday's still big against Sanderson," McInnes said. "We still need to get better defensively, but this was big for the team."

After a tightly-contested matchup earlier in the season, Millbrook ran away with the girls game. The Wildcats (22-1, 13-0) opened up a decisive lead in the first quarter and rolled to a 57-33 victory over the Pride (13-10, 6-7).

Dazia Powell and Sisalynn Norman both finished with 14 points apiece, but it was Kai Crutchfield who was the spark plug for the Wildcats. The sophomore finished with five steals and 12 points, with six coming off transition baskets.

Crutchfield was a key to the swarming full-court press defense that befuddled Leesville throughout the game. Along with the press, Millbrook also outrebounded Leesville by a staggering 38-20 margin.

"When we rotate well in the press we force teams to do things they normally wouldn't do," Millbrook girls coach Chris East said. "We kept working on it and it started to come along. ... We haven't been doing that very well lately, but it looked really good tonight."

Both Millbrook squads remained atop the Cap Eight with their wins. Following their final home victories, Millbrook will face Sanderson, who features two teams struggling in the conference this season.

Leesville's two teams will look to get back on track after the disappointing losses before the season comes to an end. The Pride will face Wakefield, which will be a tough battle for the girls with the Wolverines third in the conference, but 10-11 overall.

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