After a thrilling 60-56 win against Broughton last Thursday evening, Head Coach Scott McInnes acknowledged the fact that going undefeated isn't a goal that the team has this season, especially in non-conference play. Senior Guard, John Burwell echoed those same sentiments going into this week's Shootout By The Sea Tournament in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina."It's always good to have an undefeated record, there is nothing wrong with that" said Burwell who is averaging over 11 points per contest, "but it isn't as big of a deal as some people may expect. We have to win these next few games, and ultimately win it all in March. That's our main goal." Despite a lack of urgency to be perfect, that's where the 6-0 Wildcats find themselves for a second straight year, going into the holiday break.
The number that matters the most for McInnes and the 'Cats is their 3-0 record in Cap-8 Conference play, but it is hard to overlook the #1 rankings in the USA Today North Carolina Poll, the NCBCA 4A Men's Basketball Poll, and the local HighSchoolOT.com, and News and Observer polls. For many who doubted their ability to succeed this season without the likes of Chris Clemons, Robert Brown, and Andrew Evans, those numbers are a very good showing of the potential that Millbrook possesses.
In half of the team's six wins this season, they've had to come from behind to win by single digits. They trailed in the third quarter of their opening two games vs. Knightdale and Apex, only to comeback and win by a combined 14 points. On Thursday night, they rallied from an early 11-1 deficit, and sustained a 16-1 game ending run from Broughton to win by four against their Cap-8 rivals. They're battled tested, and they have experienced a handful of blow out wins in which the Wildcats have won by an average of 44 points. Coach McInnes believes that the variety of wins will help his guys down the stretch.
That stretch includes the 2015 Shootout By The Sea Tournament in North Myrtle Beach, SC this week. Millbrook opens up with Dutch Fork High School out of Irmo, South Carolina. The Silver Foxes enter with a 6-1 record and they are coming off of their first loss of the season to their in town rival, Irmo. Jordan Davis, a 6'3 senior leads the team in scoring with 28.7 points per game. Davis fields offers from East Carolina, South Alabama, VCU, and Cincinnati. Dutch Fork also showcases one of the top freshmen in the state in point guard, Deuce Dean, who along with forward Jordan Warlick should prove to be a tough task for Millbrook. If the Wildcats come away with the victory on Monday, they'll take on the winner of Center Point (Alabama) vs. North Myrtle Beach at 7:30 on Tuesday night, the losers of the two games will battle on Tuesday at 2:30 PM. Teams on the other side of the bracket include former South Carolina 3A State Champion, AC Flora, White Knoll (SC), Dorman (SC), and Hoggard (NC), a familiar non-conference foe from season's past. Despite the potential of facing three teams that they are unfamiliar with, Burwell believes that having a good mindset will help the team this week, "it's going to be big for us to not sleep on any of the teams that we may face this week, they're all in this tournament for a reason, they are very talented. It will be important as always to stick to the game plan, and execute. If we do that, I like our chances".
Millbrook has made it to the championship game of their Holiday Tournament in each of the last two seasons (2013 Leon Brogden, 2014 HSOT Invite) but they've yet to take home a championship since winning the Brogden in 2009 with a 40-38 win against Hoggard. Tyre Washington tipped in a missed shot at the buzzer to propel the Wildcats to victory in that one. Millbrook will have two cracks at taking home a trophy as they head to Charlotte, NC post-Christmas for the Inaugural Queen City Holiday Classic. You can keep up with all of the action this winter by following Millbrook Men's Basketball on Twitter at @MillbrookMBB.