RALEIGH — Millbrook’s 83 points scored in Friday’s third-round win over Fayetteville Seventy-First was the team’s lowest offensive output of the playoffs.
The team has eclipsed 80 points in more than half of its games this season, reaching 90 seven times and scored more than 100 once. They average 78 points per game, more than any of the other seven teams still standing in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.
But the No. 4-seed Wildcats (24-4) know that their true success comes on the the other end of the court.
“I think (defense) is more important than offense,” senior guard Brandon Goldsmith said. “Defense kind of gets us going. If we get a couple steals and deflections and stops, the offense is going to come. We just need to be able to stop the other team.”
Millbrook has held opponents to an average of 54.7 points per game this year.
The defense works as a unit, with each player maintaining a unique role for the entire body to function at its best. The idea behind the Wildcats’ defense is also the key for the team as a whole this year.
“This group of guys, I think each of them has a really good feel of what their role is and everybody has accepted their role,” coach Scott McInnes said.
“Every piece has a different role and I think this group really understands what their strengths are and what they can try to do to contribute to the team.”
When the Wildcats dropped a home conference game to Broughton last month, the team didn’t dwell on the fact that the loss snapped a nine-game winning streak and ended Millbrook’s chances at an undefeated conference season. They looked forward.
“The biggest difference between us now and three months ago is we’re a lot more mentally tough, mentally mature,” McInnes said. “Our whole focus is on next – the next play.”
Next up for the Wildcats is No. 9 Panther Creek in the state quarterfinals at Fayetteville’s Crown Coliseum.
“I think we all have a common goal, and that’s to win the state championship, so we’re all playing for that,” said junior guard Chris Clemons, the Cap Eight player of the year. “I think as long as we play together, we’ll be fine.”