Millbrook boys snap skid, beat Colonels 66-52
Posted: January 12, 2013
WINCHESTER — Following Friday’s Northwestern District boys’ basketball game with James Wood, Millbrook coach Scott Mankins said he didn’t want to reveal exactly what was said at halftime.
No specifics necessary, coach. As everyone’s heard by now, actions speak a lot louder than words anyway.
After trailing by five at the break, the frustrated Pioneers went on to win 66-52 after scoring the first eight points of the second half in 86 seconds and holding the Colonels to 0-for-18 shooting in a four-point third quarter for James Wood.
Millbrook (8-6, 1-2 Northwestern District) came into Friday night’s game on a three-game losing streak, and the Pioneers were in danger of seeing their skid extended to four as a result of a first half that saw them commit 19 turnovers and shoot just 12-of-33 from the field (36.4 percent).
“We needed to take care of the ball, defend with our feet instead of our hands, rebound, everything,” Mankins said. “We were trying to play their style. That’s not who we are.”
Mankins definitely likes senior guard Adrian DeNeal’s style though.
It was DeNeal (14 points, 10 in the second half, 10 rebounds, four steals, three assists) who put the ball on the floor and drove right at the James Wood defense for a layup 14 seconds into the second half to start the Pioneers on their early 8-0 run.
Fellow senior guard Rze Culbreath (team-high 18 points to go six steals, six assists and seven rebounds) followed with a steal and layup and another fastbreak basket, then Cody Brooks (10 points) grabbed a rebound to ignite another break in which the ball was whipped to Thomas Baylor (six assists) at midcourt before he threw the ball to an open DeNeal for a layup that made it 37-34.
“We needed a spark, something to get us going,” DeNeal said.
Mankins said the Pioneers needed to string together a few possessions where they were having success and not making mistakes, and he said it wasn’t a coincidence that it was DeNeal who played a big role in getting Millbrook going.
DeNeal came into Friday averaging 6.2 points per game, but at 59-percent shooting, he’d been making his possessions count and doing all the little things the Pioneers need.
“That young man, he’s never been known as a basketball player. He’s always been known as a football player who plays basketball,” said Mankins, whose team shot 16 for 32 after halftime and had only eight turnovers. “This year he’s been playing with unlimited confidence. Even when his stats aren’t glaring, he doesn’t make mistakes. He’s stepping forward as a leader right now.
“He doesn’t take unnecessary chances, and he plays within himself.”
For the most part, Millbrook didn’t try and take risks on defense in the third quarter, and the Pioneers were content to keep James Wood’s players in front of them and let them fire away. Of James Wood’s 18 missed field goals in the third quarter, 11 were 3-pointers.
As a result of that Colonel cold stretch, the Pioneers were able to survive one of their own. After DeNeal’s basket with 6:34 left in the third, the Pioneers were held scoreless for 3:16, but the Colonels hits just three free throws in that time.
A DeNeal layup with 3:18 left in the third kick-started a 13-2 run that made it 50-38 before a Michael Carter 3-pointer with 7:02 to play in the fourth ended the Colonels’ drought.
But James Wood could not climb closer than six over the remainder of the game against a Pioneers team that was determined to close things out after losing to strong squads in Handley and Sherando and blowing a 10-point lead to Turner Ashby in between.
“We definitely needed [a win],” DeNeal said. “We needed something to pick us up. We were kind of down, so we needed something to bring us back, so it was big to win a district game.”
Colonels coach Al Smith said James Wood might have held a five-point lead at the half, but there was no point in the game in which he was happy with what he saw. The Colonels made just 19 of 70 field goals (8 of 37 3-pointers) and had 32 turnovers.
“I think the whole game long we had total lack of execution of what we typically do offensively,” Smith said. “Can you credit Millbrook to some of that? Some of it. But I thought we played very selfishly, I thought we played way too much one-on-one in the second half.
“We can’t be successful that way. I don’t think there’s too many teams that can be successful that way. And we didn’t finish inside the 3-point line tonight. If you don’t finish inside the 3-point line, you have no chance.”
For James Wood, Ryland Williams had 21 points, nine rebounds and three steals, and Brett Lewin had 11 rebounds and three steals. T.J. Bruce added nine rebounds for Millbrook.
— Contact Robert Niedzwiecki at firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow on Twitter @WinStarSports1