Pioneer girls roll over Wood, 76-53
WINCHESTER — When you improve your shooting 27 percent from the previous game, good things are bound to happen.
In a 15-point loss to Sherando on Monday in the Northwestern District’s playoff game for the top seed in this week’s district tournament, the Millbrook girls’ basketball team had a tough time finding the basket and shot 18.2 percent from the field.
A day later, not only did the Pioneers get off to a much better start, they were able to knock down shots to constantly put pressure on James Wood.
Millbrook made 27 of 60 shots from the field (45.0 percent) and also had another good game from the foul line (20 of 32) to defeat the Colonels 76-53 at Handley’s Maddex-Omps Gymnasium on Tuesday night in the semifinal round of the Northwestern District tournament.
After scoring just three points in the first period on Monday and falling behind Sherando by 11 points, Millbrook scored the first seven points against James Wood, held as much as a 10-point lead in the first period, and led 17-9 at the end of the quarter.
Millbrook kept it up with a 24-point second quarter and already had 41 points at the half (just eight fewer than it had total against Sherando) and a 10-point lead at the break.
Senior Brooke Borlie had 12 points in the first half and junior Brenna Cook scored 13, as the Pioneers never trailed in taking a 41-31 lead at the half.
“I thought that we came out in the first quarter and had a good start, and that’s something we definitely need to be more consistent with,” said Borlie, who finished with a game-high 22 points in the win. “It’s something we’ve been working on. The biggest thing is to have intensity over the whole course of the game.
“I don’t think we really had [intensity] the whole way. Emotion was there, I think, but we still need to have a whole game to put together. I have full confidence that we can do that.”
Playing in their third game in four days made it tough for the Pioneers to keep energy flowing for 32 minutes, but the biggest accomplishment for the team was it was able to clinch a trip to next week’s Region II, Division 4 tournament with their win past the Colonels.
Millbrook (19-3) also gets another shot at Sherando (13-10) on Thursday night in the district tournament final.
Millbrook coach Debby Sanders, who said she is not a fan of playing a district tournament, was at least content that her team got back to its winning ways and continued to build on a season that has seen success continue for a program that lost a bulk of the team that won three straight state championships.
“First of all, let’s consider that we’ve played three games in four days with no practice and no time to see our [players],” Sanders said. “That’s huge because you’re preparing for three different styles.
“I thought we were tired [on Tuesday]. It’s been three long days, then it’s another short night. We have practice [Wednesday] and we’ve got to be cautious with that to work on stuff for Thursday.”
James Wood (12-11), which still might have a chance to play in the Region II, Divison 4 tournament, depending on what happens over the next few days in other district tournaments, scored the last six points of the first half and got a 3-pointer from freshman Keiana Brooks (team-high 15 points) to open the second half and trail 41-34.
The Colonels stuck around and were behind just 48-40 after sophomore Morgan Johnson hit a turnaround jumper off the glass with 3:27 left in the third period.
The Pioneers had not made a field goal to that point in the second half, but they warmed up in the last few minutes of the third period to get their lead back up to a safer margin.
An 8-4 run to close the period sent the lead to 56-44 heading to the fourth quarter. Substitute guard Robyn Reed led the charge with four points and the Pioneers kept up their surge in the fourth to finally put the outcome to rest.
Sparked by three baskets from Borlie, the Pioneers scored 13 of the first 15 points. A stickback by senior Ashley Goodman (10 points) sent Millbrook’s lead to 69-46 with 3:33 left.
The Pioneers also got 19 points and a team-best eight rebounds from Cook in their third win over the Colonels this season.
The Colonels, who also got 13 points from junior guard Brooke Nesselrodt and eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds from junior guard Whitney Dick, hung in for as long as they could against a team that beat them twice by double-digits during the regular season.
Still, James Wood coach Rhonda Slider felt there was too much inconsistent play on the offensive end to really make a serious dent against Millbrook.
“We weren’t running an offense, and offensively, we weren’t doing what we needed to do,” said Slider, whose team shot just 31.1 percent (19 of 61) from the field. “I think it’s been like that, actually, the last two games. We’re standing ing around a little more than I’d like, and we’re waiting for something to happen or for someone else to do something.
“That’s been a huge [issue] all season. I know our girls work hard and they try, but it just seems like sometimes we’re not all on the same page. Once the season ends, hopefully the girls can stay together and play a little bit more. That’s going to help, because I don’t think we’re there yet.”
Now comes a fourth meeting with Sherando. The Warriors have taken two of the first three, but Borlie expects she and her teammates will be ready to come back out and battle their top rivals in the district.
“Monday obviously wasn’t our best game shooting, but hopefully on Thursday we can make adjustments and play our hardest and get the district tournament title,” Borlie said. “Obviously it’s going to be a hard-fought game, and Sherando is a good team. But we want to make sure we have a win heading into the regional playoffs.”