Millbrook advanced to its seventh fourth round appearance in the last 10 years with an 86-71 win over Knightdale.
Millbrook edged out to a 7-2 lead in the first two minutes and 22 seconds, forcing a Knightdale timeout. By that point Knightdale has already accumulated three fouls.
Each team struggled with consistency on the offensive end early. There were a combined five travels called in the opening quarter.
Halfway through the first quarter, Millbrook built its lead out to 11-6.
Knightdale senior Senior Shayne Saigo kept the Knights in the game throughout the first quarter. He reeled in a few offensive rebounds and scored four points in the first.
A 10-0 run spearheaded by Millbrook senior Phillip Burwell propelled the Wildcats out to a 23-10 lead to end the first quarter.
Knightdale was called for seven fouls in the first frame.
Knightdale got off to a good start in the second quarter. Kameron Humphrey drove from the left corner and got a basket and the foul. He made the free throw, cutting the deficit to 10. Humphrey hit a three a couple of possessions later to cut the lead to 27-16.
With 5:23 until halftime, two Jalen McDonald free throws cut the Millbrook lead to 29-22. Knightdale’s stud sophomore scored six points in the first half.
The Wildcats responded with a completed lob to Jalen McCoy, who had a very productive first half. Later, Isaiah Lewis hit a three in transition to build Millbrook’s advantage to 36-22.
The game continued to be called very tightly. Both teams ended up in the double-bonus with two minutes left until halftime.
#3 hit another three and got a steal which led to a Knightdale layup in the final minute before the half to cut the Millbrook lead to five.
Burwell responded with a pull-up jumper at the buzzer to give Millbrook a 44-37 lead at halftime.
In the first three minutes of the third quarter, Millbrook leaned out to a 53-41 lead. Burwell has no problems getting to the rim early on.
After a Millbrook timeout, Knightdale went on an 8-0 run to cut the Wildcat lead to 53-49 with 3:30 left in the third.
Knightdale fouled Adam Carey on a 3-point attempt. Carey hit two of three to end the run. After a missed Knightdale three, Carey got fouled in transition and made both shots to increase Millbrook’s lead back to eight.
By the time the third quarter ended, Knightdale worked the deficit back down to four. Millbrook led 57-53 going into the final frame.
To start the final quarter, Millbrook hit on put-back layups in back-to-back possessions go take a 61-53 lead and force a Knightdale timeout.
Millbrook’s full court pressure began to suffocate Knightdale, allowing the Wildcats to extend their lead to 65-53 with 6:47 left in the fourth. Knightdale called another timeout.
McCoy was a monster for Millbrook in the fourth quarter. The junior forward made two straight shots down low and then made a huge block on defense on the following Knightdale possession. Thanks to his efforts, Millbrook had a 71-56 lead with 5:29 left in the game.
Millbrook iced the game with three minutes to go when Burwell got a steal and slammed home an emphatic dunk to give the Wildcats a 78-63 win.
The Wildcats didn’t allow the Knights to get back into the game and went on to win by 15.
Millbrook will host the winner of Holly Springs and Seventy-First on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Knightdale finished the season with a 22-6 record and with championships in the NAC 6 Conference Tournament and the South Granville Holiday Invitational.