Millbrook girls look to use Holiday Invitational as launching pad
Posted December 27, 2011
The Millbrook Wildcats are coming off their most successful girls basketball season ever.
Last season, Millbrook won the Cap Eight 4-A Conference regular season and tournament titles en route to the 4-A state championship game. The Wildcats fell in the state championship game, but before they won any of the other titles last season, Millbrook won the Holiday Invitational title.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that playing in an event like the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational helps your team down the stretch,” Millbrook coach Chris East said. “We got to face some good competition last season, we played in some close games, and that helped us when we got into conference play and the state playoffs.”
A lot of key contributors return to the Millbrook roster this season, and they’ve also made a few big additions.
“We should be competitive again this year. I don’t know if that puts a bigger target on our backs or not, but I think every team comes into an event like this hoping to win,” said East.
One of the biggest returnees is Briana Day.
“Briana has a great work ethic. She has the ability to score around the basket, and she also plays good defense for us,” said East. “Anytime you have a 6-4 player that can play like she can, it’s going to help your team.”
At 6-foot-3, Day is rated as a four-star prospect by ESPN.com and ranked the No. 8 forward in her class. She has verbally committed to play basketball at North Carolina, along with her twin sister, Bria, whose out after having shoulder surgery in November.
“[Briana] is long, and that causes problems for other teams when they’re on offense. She can also run the floor well,” said East.
Running the floor is something East would like to see more of from his team, and one of the newcomers is helping the Wildcats accomplish that goal.
5-foot-7 junior Mykia Jones joins the Millbrook girls basketball team after transferring from Enloe High School over the summer.
“She brings quickness at the guard position that we didn’t have last year,” East said. “She gets going on the break.”
It has taken some getting used to for Jones on the Millbrook squad though.
“You can tell she’s getting used to this team, to our system, and she’s starting to really come around for us,” said East. “She is phenomenal on the ball defensively, and she’s always disrupting the other team’s offense and flow.”
Another junior guard Alex Tomlinson is the glue for Millbrook.
“Alex does the little things for the team that sometimes go unnoticed,” East said of the 5-foot-9 guard. “She is the ultimate team player. She’s one of the very few kids who worry more about the wins and losses than about her stats.”
The Wildcats are scoring more points this season than they did last season. So far, Millbrook has posted 70 or more points twice, and they’re averaging nearly 65 points per game.
In last year’s Holiday Invitational championship game against Southeast Raleigh, the two schools set a tournament record for fewest combined points in a single game. Millbrook won the title, 32-23.
“That was a low scoring one,” East said. “But each game is different and as long as you win, you try not to worry about how many points were scored.”
With several juniors on the roster, East thinks this year’s Holiday Invitational will be a good event to get the team moving in the right direction.
“We had a great year last year, but we’ve got to worry about this year now. I think this tournament is a chance for us to go up against some top competition from around the area, and hopefully that will help prepare us for the playoffs,” he said.
Millbrook will open the Mix 101.5 Girls Bracket against Bunn in the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational.