For the third time in four years, Southeast Raleigh’s girls basketball team is heading to the state championship game. The Bulldogs won the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A East final at Methodist University with a 47-31 triumph over Millbrook.
Southeast will play Northwest Guilford (29-2) in the 4A championship at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Reynolds Coliseum.
It is the seventh straight season that either the Bulldogs (31-0) or the Wildcats (28-4) will be going to the state title game. Millbrook topped Northwest Guilford at the buzzer in last year’s 4A championship final.
“We didn’t do what we needed to do. Simple. We did for about a quarter and a half, and Southeast Raleigh has a lot to do with that,” Millbrook coach Chris East said. “I told (Southeast Raleigh) coach (Nicole) Meyers at the end of the game to keep the championship in the East. I think they have got the team to do it.”
Southeast Raleigh led 23-15 at halftime, but Millbrook pulled ahead at the end of the third quarter, 29-28.
But the Bulldogs scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter and kept Millbrook off the board until 1 minute, 53 seconds were left in the game.
“This team has been successful all year. They did not want tonight to end what has been a magical year for us. We stressed to them, ‘You have eight minutes to sacrifice and play your hardest.’ And I’ll put their fight up against anybody,” Meyers said. “They fight hard and they fight till the end, and I think you saw that tonight.”
Tamia Hicks, an East Carolina recruit who comes off the bench for the Bulldogs, thought back to all of the conditioning the team has done this season and found her second wind.
“You should have enough legs to run this little eight minutes and just pull it out,” said Hicks, who had eight points and four steals.
N.C. State recruit Kai Crutchfield had 13 points and was the only Wildcats player in double figures. Fellow senior Andreal Bass had seven points and 13 rebounds.
Southeast Raleigh’s Jada McMillian made 12 of 16 free throws and led all scorers with 18 points. Danica Lucas chipped in 11.
“We just had to keep attacking. Coach told us no more shooting, we just had to keep attacking,” McMillian said.
The two will be league opponents in next year’s Cap-7 Conference.