Third-quarter surge powers Millbrook
FRONT ROYAL — Millbrook used a late third period surge to take charge against Skyline on Friday night.
The Pioneers held on in the fourth period for a 67-58 Northwestern District boys basketball victory over the Hawks.
Millbrook ended the third period with a 16-4 run to take a 13-point lead heading into the final eight minutes.
“We played well defensively in spurts,” Millbrook coach Derek Butler said. “We held them to four points and played well defensively during that stretch. We did not play with the defensive effort that we needed to for the whole game, but that little spurt was good enough to help us pull it out.”
The Pioneers built an early lead, using an 11-2 run to take a 22-13 edge after the first period. Millbrook missed only three shots in the first period (9-for-12).
Skyline freshman Colin Smith scored 11 of his 14 points in the opening eight minutes, including two 3-pointers.
“Colin was feeling it in the first quarter,” Skyline coach Jacob Bates said. “He kept us in it. I’m not sure they knew who he was, but after that they started getting out on him more.”
The Hawks cut the lead to 24-21 with an 8-0 run in the second period, including two baskets inside by Brandon Walters. However, the Pioneers answered with a 10-4 run of their own right before the half.
Skyline’s TrayQuan Diamond hit a 3-pointer from beyond half court at the buzzer to cut the lead to 34-28 at the half.
The Hawks seized the momentum from the buzzer-beater to start the third period. Two foul shots and a 3-pointer from Antwan Swain cut the lead to 34-33 with 5:49 left in the third period.
“I called a timeout [in the third period] to tell them let’s try to win this period, the final two, two-and-a-half minutes,” Bates said. “Credit Millbrook there. We had a little lapse and it hurt us.
“Millbrook is a phenomenal team. You can’t make mistakes against a team like that or they will capitalize on it, and we made too many mistakes tonight.”
Zach Harrell scored four of the first six points during Millbrook’s run, which saw six different players score. Christopher Oates drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Millbrook a 50-37 lead after three periods.
Swain and Diamond help give Skyline one last run. The pair combined for 17 of Skyline’s 21 fourth-period points.
The Hawks cut the lead to 62-55 on a layup by Diamond with 2:24 left in the game. Smith had an open 3-pointer with a little over two minutes left, but it just missed the mark, and the Pioneers scored a layup on the other end for a nine-point lead with 1:56 left in the game.
“It looked good when it left his hands,” Bates said of Smith’s 3-point attempt. “I usually can tell, but it was just off to the left.”
Harrell led the Pioneers with 19 points, while Oates had 14. Taryk Baylor added 12 for Millbrook.
The Pioneers only won seven games last season, but have already won 10 this season. Butler said they have a big game coming up next week.
“We play Dominion next week in a conference game,” Butler said. We’re both undefeated in the conference, so one of us will be in first the other will be in second or in a tie for second. We have to play better defense than we did tonight.”
The Hawks had four players in double figures. Diamond and Smith had 14 points each, while Swain had 13 and Walters had 10.
“We did some good things tonight. To lose by nine to a good team like Millbrook — we have to stay the course,” Bates said. “We have to build off this and just fine tune some things.”
Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or firstname.lastname@example.org