Milbrook survives Leesville to claim berth in Cap 8 title game
Posted February 16
Updated 5:10 p.m. Friday
Raleigh, N.C. — Millbrook held off a late Leesville rally Thursday night, downing the Pride, 77-72, to clinch a berth in the Cap 8 Conference tournament final for the second-consecutive season.
The Wildcats will take on undefeated Heritage in the title game for a shot at back-to-back – and seventh all-time – conference tournament titles.
“It’ll be fun for the kids, they’re excited about it,” said Millbrook head coach Scott McInnes. “We’re still plugging away trying to get better and better, but they did a good job today focusing in on defensive cues that we were really trying to work on.”
Millbrook’s semifinal win did come with a significant cost, losing standout senior Jordan Whitfield to a left ankle injury nearly a minute in to second quarter. Whitfield has averaged 19.6 points per game over Millbrook’s last 10 games.
The team’s leading scorer missed four games in December with a right ankle injury, but the Wildcats managed to go unbeaten in his absence.
“With Jordan [Whitfield] getting hurt, Colin Lewis and Jabari [Brown] really stepped up big,” McInnes said. “I thought those guys did some great things.
“We’re not used to playing without Jordan. We did earlier in the year, but it’s been a while.”
McInnes did not say whether or not Whitfield would be available for Friday’s championship game.
Prior to Whitfield’s injury, Leesville built a two-point lead through the first eight minutes of play Thursday night.
But the Wildcats had an answer, building 23-12 run in the second quarter to take a nine-point lead into halftime, capped by a buzzer-beating triple from senior Patrick Dorsey as time expired.
Dorsey tallied five triples and led the Wildcats with 23 points Thursday night.
Millbrook senior Chase Fowler tallied eight of his 17 points in the second quarter, shouldering part of the load in Whitfield’s stead. Fowler also tallied 12 rebounds for the team’s only double-double of the contest.
Lewis and senior Landon Lee combined for 10 of the Wildcats’ 17 points in the third quarter to push Millbrook’s lead to 12 points after 24 minutes.
Millbrook pushed its lead to as many as 16 points in the final frame but Leesville clawed its deficit to only five points late in the contest.
Leesville had a chance to cut the Wildcats’ lead even shorter after a missed Fowler free throw, but Dorsey was fouled and went to the line for two shots.
After making the first of two attempts, Leesville senior Jonathan Mebane was charged with a technical foul, which awarded Dorsey two shots in addition to the original foul.
Dorsey hit 3-of-4 from the charity stripe and moved the Wildcats’ lead from five to eight points with only 52.8 seconds left in regulation.
Leesville would eventually work its way to a five-point deficit, but it was too late for the Pride.
Mebane led all scorers Thursday night with 23 points. Senior Alex Hunter added 15 points and junior RJ Wilson scored 13 points to finish in double figures as well.
Millbrook, who dropped its two previous contests to Heritage this season, will meet the Huskies for a conference title rematch Friday evening at 7 p.m. inside Holliday Gymnasium at Broughton High School.