Junior forward Chris Baker scored 15 points and senior guard Tommy Harkey scored 12 points off four 3-pointers as Millis stormed back from a 17-point deficit late in the first quarter to defeat Holbrook, the No. 1 seed in Division 4 South, 49-42.
“I’m just so proud of these guys,” said Millis coach Tom Ingraham. “To be able to not pack it in and keep playing, to not look at the scoreboard and just keep playing.”
After the Bulldogs jumped out to a 23-6 lead in the first, thanks in large part to 10 points from sophomore center Alijiah Robinson, Baker hit three free throws at the end of the quarter to bring the score to 23-9 after one.
From there, the second and third quarters were all Millis. The Bulldogs were held to one field goal in the second quarter as Millis outscored them 14-2 in the period to close the gap to 25-23 at halftime. Millis picked it up again in the third, as the Mohawks’ man-to-man defense flustered the Bulldogs to the tune of a 16-1 Mohawk run at the start of the third.
“We thought we could maybe get up and pressure them a little bit, pressure their ball handlers, and I think we got them to turn over a little bit just playing good, strong man-to-man,” Ingraham said. “I think that was maybe the biggest thing. They had a hard time with some up-top pressure, and we were able to turn those into some decent points.”
Holbrook had plenty of chances to break the scoreless streak, but countless shots would not fall, and three layups from under the basket rimmed out. Senior center Anthony Bolliter hit a shot with two minutes remaining in the third, breaking up a streak of nearly eight minutes in which the Bulldogs did not score from the field.
“A big part of basketball is who hits shots and they hit shots in the first period and we hit shots in the second and third, and I think that was one of the big things,” Ingraham said.
The Bulldogs made a game of it late. With Millis leading 45-35 with five minutes left, Holbrook senior guard Anthony Bittle scored seven consecutive points to close the gap to three with 3:19 left, but two costly turnovers late sealed the Mohawks victory.
Bittle finished his final varsity game with a game-high 20 points. Robinson, after his explosive first quarter, finished the night with 12 points.
Millis moves on to the Division 4 South quarterfinals, where they will face Cathedral High School at Cathedral this Friday at 7 p.m.
Ingraham hopes this come-from-behind victory will serve as a confidence boost as the team continues on into the tournament.
“I think it gives us confidence to play a team, get down like that and play a good offensive team with a good big guy and a really good guard and other guys who can do things and to be able to hold them in the 40s after scoring 23 in the first period,” Ingraham said.
“That’s a confidence builder right there.”
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