SHS girls lose 96-23 in state tourney

Published 6:49 am Sunday, March 6, 2011

Millbrook's Courtni Green drives past Talisha Jenkins of Southampton during Millbrook's 96-23 state quarterfinal win Saturday at James Madison University. -- JEFF TAYLOR/WINCHESTER STAR


HARRISONBURG—The Millbrook girls’ on Saturday played like a team that’s been in the state tournament before and dominated in historic fashion.

The defending state champions from Winchester made a state tournament record 39 field goals and defeated Southampton 96-23 in the Group AA Division 3 quarterfinals at James Madison University.

The Pioneers (26-0), who scored the game’s first 10 points and opened with a 30-4 run, will now take on Region III champion Spotswood (25-3) in Tuesday’s semifinals at Virginia Commonwealth University. Southamtpon closed out its season 18-7.

“I don’t know what to say, other than ‘Intensity,’” said Millbrook coach Debby Sanders, whose team opened the Region II final against Western Albemarle with an 18-0 run and a first quarter shutout. “Our kids came out ready to play.

Millbrook junior guard Courtni Green scored a game-high 28 points and made eight steals.

The Pioneers made 39 of 77 shots to eclipse the 38 made by Waynesboro in 1991. Waynesboro’s 38 was the most made in any girls’ state tournament game, regardless of group classification.

In making 24 steals and forcing 37 turnovers, Millbrook scored a boatload of easy baskets off Southampton miscues. But as evidenced by the Pioneers’ 8-of-17, 3-point shooting, Millbrook was getting its offense in a variety of forms.

“I don’t think people realize how well these young ladies can shoot as a team,” Sanders said. “We really have a lot on shooters on there, but we don’t utilize [outside shooting] as much as other teams do because they’re so quick in transition.”

Indians Coach Aronda Bell said her team doesn’t have a true point guard, which is a dangerous prospect against Millbrook’s aggressive man defense.

“I think it was very frustrating (for our players), to say the least, said Bell, whose team was led by Regina Artis and Tenecia Joyner with 6 points apiece. “I don’t think (their pressure) caught us off guard. We’ve been practicing for the pressure. But practicing against pressure, and actually handling the pressure in a game situation, is just two totally different things. We were just unable to do that today.”

Millbrook, which led 30-6 on 13-of-20 shooting after the first quarter, extended its lead to 51-13 at the half. By the end of the third quarter, Millbrook was up 75-17 and all of its starters were out of the game.

In the fourth quarter, Millbrook’s bench was impressive in its own right. Though Bell eventually emptied her bench too. The Pioneeres outscored Southampton 21-6 and contributed to an overall defensive effort that saw the Indians make just 11 of 43 shots.

Bell said it was a special season for her team, one that saw the Indians make their first state tournament in 27 years. The team will lose six seniors, including starters Artis, Joyner, Latoria Parham and Ronnie Powell.

“This team is very, very special to me,” Bell said. “I’ve had the privilege of being with (the seniors) for three out of their four years.

“We were really, really excited to be at this point because we didn’t think we would be here, not having a true point guard,” she added. “We knew coming in it would be a difficult task.”