With regular season Cap-8 4A Conference championships locked away, Millbrook’s girls and boys enjoyed their Senor Night Friday night with wins over Sanderson. Next up for the Wildcats is the conference tournament which starts Tuesday with the girls hosting Sanderson and the boys, Wakefield.
Coach Chris East’s girls concluded a 14-0 regular season conference run, 21-2 overall, with a 62-21 victory and then the boys forced the tempo offensively and defensively and rode the hot hand of Monte Harris to their 97-62 win.
Millbrook jumped to a 19-0 lead and led 24-2 after the first quarter, leaving no doubt in the outcome. But it was the team’s continued unselfish play that coach East and senior guard Danielle Audain found most satisfying.
Audain was a freshman on the 2013 Millbrook team that went undefeated and won a state championship. She would like to see her current teammates experience the same kind of championship run in the state playoffs.
“I played a little, and learned a lot,” Audain said of her championship year. “And I learned the key to us winning is to share the ball, like we did tonight, and play for each other, not for ourselves.”
The points were spread around with 11 different players scoring, led by Kai Crutchfield (15), Dazia Powell (11), Zairya West (10), and Jaleesa Dillard (9).
“Powell and Crutchfield are both averaging around 13, and when we play our best we have five or six girls score 8 to 12 points,” East said. “The unselfishness on this team, with people like Danielle Audain, makes this team special.”
Audain is ready to see her team move into playoff competition. She thinks this team can win the state title.
“This team doesn’t want to let anyone stand in our way of what we want to accomplish,” she said. “We’ve got really good chemistry on and off the court and we build off each other’s energy.”
East is also looking forward to tournament time.
“The Cap-8 is pretty tough and those game make us a better team,” East said. “Now we’ve got to turn it up a level and prepare for a long run.”
Millbrook’s depth can just overwhelm teams and that was a key for the Wildcats, as senior Monte Harris took advantage of a rare start to score 31 points, including 8 of 11 from 3-point range, in a burst that was popular with his teammates and the large Millbrook crowd.
“We had a couple of seniors, Faison Brock and John Burwell, who gave up their starting spots so two other seniors could start tonight,” Millbrook coach Scott McInnes said. “That tells you about them, their character and how selfless and humble they are.”
Brock still scored 17 and pulled a team-high 7 rebounds, while Burwell added 9 points and led the team with 7 assists. Trejon Jacob (15) and Rashad George (10) also scored in double figures.
Sanderson (11-13, 4-10) battled the Wildcats and outrebounded the conference champs, 27-26, but Millbrook shot 60.9% on 2-piont field goal attempts and 41.1% on 3-pointers. Taj Thompson (15), Vince Friedman (14), and Antonio Freeman (12) scored in double figures for coach Mike Shaw’s Spartans.
“We started kind of slow, but things picked u in the second quarter,” McInnes said. “And I’m really happy for Monte. He’s been our sixth or seventh man so for him to have a career-high game on a night like this was very exciting.”
Like the girls, it’s time for the boys to turn to tournament play.
“The conference tournament is for pride and a trophy,” McInnes said. “We’re going to play hard and have fun. Our focus will be on Millbrook and getting better for the state tournament.”