A late AC Flora comeback was not enough to top the Millbrook Wildcats on Wednesday night as they won the 12th Annual North Myrtle Beach Shootout By The Sea tournament championship by a score of 74-70.
Hot starts have been the theme of the tournament for Millbrook, who would force a Flora timeout 3:54 into the game after two John Burwell baskets, a Trejon Jacob put back, and a three from Rashad George. The Wildcats added on to the early 11-0 run by turning it into a 21-4 game with 10:15 left in the half.
Kendale Hampton scored two minutes later for the Falcons’ first field goal of game to make it 21-6 but Monte’ Harris responded five seconds later with a three from the right wing, and then he unleashed another three ball eleven seconds later to force another timeout with Millbrook ahead by 21 points.
The Wildcats controlled the tempo for remainder of the half. The rapid pace would see baskets exchanged back and forth. Hampton got two more, then Patrick Dorsey answered with a three. 6’7 Flora Freshman, Christian Brown got to the bucket for pair of points before Faison Brock would answer on the other end with two of his own. Millbrook took a 44-26 lead into halftime on the strength of Brock’s team leading 9 points.
Adrian Scarborough started the second half with an offensive rebound and putback basket for a three point play. Jordan Whitfield followed his lead with his second three point basket of the night. Scarborough collected four rebounds in the game, and added 7 points in over 15 minutes of action.
Slowly but surely, the double digit lead became less, and less comfortable as AC Flora got the Wildcats into foul trouble. The Falcons would go 15 of 18 from the charity stripe in the second half to cut the Millbrook lead to 65-57 with 2:44 left in the game. The length of 6’7 Brown, and 6’9 Deshawn Thomas caused Millbrook coach Scott McInnes to burn a timeout. Rashad George would throw the following inbound into the hands of Flora’s Cory Riley who would drive to the basket and draw the foul. Faison Brock was the one to pick up the block, which would be his 5th foul of the night after scoring a team high, 18 points.
Flora missed their two free throws, forcing them to send Trejon Jacob to the line on the other end. Jacob hit the first but missed the second free throw to make it a 66-57 ballgame. Hampton drew a foul on the other end after the Wildcats failed to secure a pair of missed three attempts from the Falcons. George was the one to deliver the foul for Millbrook and he too was forced to sit, as it was his fifth of the game. Hampton hit both free throws, then Jordan Whitfield answered with two of his own to make it 68-59 with 1:48 remaining. Flora missed on their ensuing possession as Jacob hauled in a defensive rebound, and took it coast-to-coast, only to have his layup rim out and into the hands of Brown who would pitch ahead to Hampton for a corner three to make it a six point game.
Hampton, a 6’2 guard led the Falcons with 26 points on the night, and he clearly saved the best for last, as 19 points came in the second half. With 1:11 left, Whitfield extended the lead back to eight with two more free throws. That’s when things got crazy.
Brandon Davis immediately went down court and laid one in to make it 70-64, then AC Flora’s pressure was too much as they forced a five second call on the inbound with 59.0 left. Hampton cashed in again from atop the arc to make it a 70-67 game. That was the closest that the game had been since Millbrook made it 2-0 on the opening possession. Flora coach, Josh Staley opted to foul with 47.6 left and Trejon Jacob would make them count to bring the score to 72-67. The Wildcats got a stop on the other end, and Whitfield pitched ahead to Burwell for the score. James Reese would hit a three pointer at the buzzer but it wouldn’t be enough as Millbrook held on for the 74-70 victory.
Hampton’s 26 led all scorers, while Brown added 17 for the Falcons. Faison Brock’s 18 points led Millbrook, while Burwell added 11, and Jordan Whitfield added 14 including a 4-4 showing from the line in the second half. Brock tallied 10 rebounds as well, making it the fifth consecutive game in which he has registered a double-double. His average of 17.3 points, and 11.3 rebounds during the tournament were enough for MVP honors, along with Burwell who received All-Tournament merits.
With the win, Millbrook remains a perfect 9-0 (3-0 in CAP-8) on the season as they head into Christmas. On the back end of their holiday break, the Wildcats will travel to Vance High School in Charlotte, NC to play in a trio of showcase games at the Queen City Holiday Classic. They will play Ridge View on Monday, December 28th at 1:30 PM. For AC Flora, they fall to 11-2 on the season, they will start the new year with a home game on January 5th vs. Camden High School. This is Millbrook’s first holiday tournament championship since winning the 2009 Leon Brogden Holiday Tournament in Wilmington, NC.