A rocky ending to the 2016 JV season ended with reward as the Wildcats clinched their first Cap-8 JV Championship since 2012-13 with a 57-46 win at Sanderson on Thursday night.
Millbrook had lost two of their last four games entering the season finale vs. the Spartans. With a 10-2 record in the conference, and 16-3 overall record, all the Wildcats needed was one more win for the title, and the three youngest members of the team made sure they came out firing on the right foot.
Freshmen, Collin Lewis, Isaiah Lewis, and Bradley Barnes scored the first 11 points of the game for Millbrook. Collin Lewis opened the game by racing to the basket and laying one in, Barnes floated a runner, then Collin followed a 1-2 showing at the free throw line with a long three from atop the key. The 11-4 opening lead gave way to wholesale changes for Coach Ledford's bunch, and the veteran group of Noah Watkins, Graham Watkins, and Jabari Brown would help Millbrook not miss a beat. On the offensive end, it was Brown who kept things going with a steal and layup to end the first quarter with the 'Cats leading 13-4. Defensively, Noah Watkins would lead the way with two charges in the opening 90 seconds of the second stanza. Noah would end up taking a season high, three charges on the night. Bradley Barnes would re-enter the game and get a runner to fall, then Branden Pierce corraled a missed three and put it back for a score. At the half, Millbrook led by eight, 23-15.
Collin Lewis started the second half the way he started the game with another strong take to the cup for two, and a long three ball to extend Millbrook's lead to 30-19. The Wildcats would enter the fourth quarter with a 39-31 lead after the Spartans chipped into the deficit in a very strange final two minutes of the third. That two minute stretch included a steal and layup for Jabari Brown, a steal pull up jumper for Brown on the ensuing inbound, and an Xavier Fennell steal on the inbound that followed that basket. Fennell, who finished with 4 steals, 2 rebounds, and 5 points would hit Brown again in the paint but the 5'9 sophomore opted to kick a pass out to Kevin Holmes who would miss a left wing three. The rebound from the miss landed in the hands of Fennell who would spit out a pass to Noah Watkins for an unsuccessful three point attempt but, it was Graham Watkins who was there to corral the miss and he dished a pass out to Branden Pierce for three, and Pierce would not miss from the corner to bring the Millbrook crowd to their feet.
Graham Watkins who led the team in rebounding all season, did the same on Thursday with a 6, two coming in the second half, and one in the fourth quarter that would give Millbrook a 44-38 lead with 4:23 left. Sanderson would not go quietly through the night as their leading scorer Jacob Feinstein soared high for a block on Jabari Brown and went down court to hit a three pointer to cut things to a three point game at 44-41 with 3:07 left. Noah Watkins responded with his only three of the game on the other end, and that would be the dagger as the JV Wildcats sunk their late free throws to ice the 57-46 victory, and clinch the Cap-8 crown. Collin Lewis ended up leading Millbrook in scoring with 13 points, Jabari Brown was a close second with 12, and Noah Watkins added 8 to the Wildcat total.
With the win, the JV Wildcats wrap up their season 17-3 (11-2), and for the first time since 2012-13 they take home the Cap-8 JV Conference Championship. For Head Coach, Philip Ledford it is his first conference championship as the JV coach.