Pioneers’ winning streak ends at 84

Posted: December 10, 2012

Star staff report

HAYMARKET — Millbrook’s girls’ basketball team’s state-record winning streak spanned parts of four seasons — or 1,368 days to be exact.

The Pioneers, the three-time defending Group AA state champions, saw their 84-game winning streak end with a 44-42 loss to Battlefield in the finals of the Battlefield Tournament on Saturday night.

Millbrook’s last loss came on March 10, 2009 when the Pioneers lost 50-43 to Freedom in the Group AA Division 3 semifinals at the Virginia Commonwealth University Siegel Center in Richmond.

After that loss, Millbrook went on to break Haysi High School’s state record of 78 wins set between 1947-1951. The Pioneers won three consecutive state titles, and this year’s team won four straight to start the season before falling to Group AAA Battlefield Saturday night.

Brenna Cook led Millbrook with 14 points, and Brooke Borlie also scored in double figures for the Pioneers (4-1) with 11 in the loss.

“Kudos to both teams as they left it all out on the floor,” Sanders said in an email. “It was a good game that was very competitive.”

Both of the Pioneers’ games in the Battlefield Tournament were competitive. Millbrook rallied to beat defending Group A Division 2 state champion George Mason 41-35 Friday night.

But most of the Pioneers responsible for the state-record winning streak graduated a season ago. Millbrook lost seven players — including Courtni Green, Sara Mead, Alisha Mobley, Danielle Banks, Lisa Merriman, Diauna Farrish, and Stephanie Hernandez — from last year’s state championship winning team (that averaged 23.8 steals per game).

Green, Mead and Mobley — the Big Three — of the Pioneers’ three-peat and state-record 80-game winning streak graduated last year. Green’s No. 22 has been retired and she’s now a freshman for the University of Delaware, and both Mead (Columbia University) and Mobley (Lenoir-Rhyne) are also playing collegiately.

The Pioneers only have three players on the current roster who spent all of last year playing on the varsity level. Millbrook’s only player who started last season, senior forward Ky Rooks (3.9 points, 3.2 rebounds) is not expected back from a knee injury until January.

Millbrook boys’ basketball coach Scott Mankins said former R.E. Lee boys’ coach Paul Hatcher — who retired in 2011 with a state record 897 wins — talked about the Pioneer girls’ incredible run with him before one of his games at Spotswood this season.

“It’s amazing when you look at the number [84],” said Mankins, who guided the Pioneer boys’ team to the Group AA state title in 2008. “To do that over a period of four years is absolutely amazing. The effort that went into it — I don’t think it will be duplicated with re-classification.”

Although Millbrook’s overall winning streak ended, the Pioneers have won 48 straight Northwestern District games.

Millbrook opens district play at home against Handley on Jan. 4. The Pioneers host Washington (W.Va.) Tuesday night at 7:30.