By Brad Fauber - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- It was another game and another runaway victory for Millbrook as the home-standing Pioneers used a stifling defense to overwhelm Turner Ashby, 81-38, in girls basketball action on Saturday. It was Millbrook's 57th consecutive win.
Millbrook (7-0) used a combination of intense full-court pressure and smothering double teams to force the Knights into 40 turnovers. Turner Ashby struggled immensely against the full-court pressure, often turning the ball over before advancing the ball past half court.
"We rotate defensively, we do a lot of different things with a similar look," Pioneers coach Debby Sanders said. "It kind of mixes things up, so when people call timeout then we change it up, and we try to keep balancing it out up and down the floor -- sometimes we trap, sometimes we don't."
The Pioneers forced Turner Ashby (2-3) into turnovers on their first four possessions of the game as Millbrook took a 4-0 lead two minutes into the opening period. The Knights responded with a 3-pointer from Kelsey Smith to cut the lead to one before Millbrook used four points apiece from seniors Courtni Green and Alisha Mobley during an 8-0 run late in the quarter.
The Knights then went on a 7-3 run to end the first with Millbrook holding a 15-10 advantage despite allowing only six shot attempts and forcing 14 turnovers.
"[Turner Ashby] just played hard the whole time, and I think that we didn't come out as strong as we could," Green said. "Looking up at the score, you see you're only up by five, I mean, you kind of realize that's a problem, so we needed to fix it."
Green and the Pioneers did just that.
After the Knights pulled to within three points on a bucket by Smith with under six minutes remaining in the half, Millbrook busted the game open with a 23-6 run to end the second period.
Green recorded 12 of her game-high 30 points in the period, and Mobley dominated in the paint, adding nine points in the frame and finishing the half with 13 rebounds.
Mobley finished the night with 21 points and 21 rebounds. Green had eight steals and six assists to go along with her points.
"I knew they were going to be good competition for us," Mobley said. "They just work hard, too, so we know that we can't just give up and play lackadaisical. We have to actually go hard with them because they are not going to give up."
Millbrook's defense didn't let up in the second half, forcing the Knights into turnovers on their first five possessions coming out of the break and 13 total turnovers in the third quarter. By the end of the period, the Pioneers held a very comfortable 64-30 lead.
The Pioneers enter next week's two-day tournament in Hollidaysburg, Pa., on a very high note after winning their first seven games by an average of 56 points.
"We're where we want to be, obviously, but we're going to see some competition and that's what we keep telling our kids," Sanders said. "These next five games we've got coming up are going to prepare us for our run that we want to make, and hopefully we'll just go up there [Hollidaysburg] and play hard and see what happens."