Last night, Millbrook travelled to conference rival Leesville Road. The first quarter started off with both teams getting after it. Leesville Road took an early 9-3 lead as Jalen McDonald came out strong to start. But just like that, Millbrook answered as Eric Van der Heijden knocked down back to back three-pointers to tie the game at 9-9. Millbrook finished the opening quarter with a 17-13 lead.
In the second quarter, Millbrook picked up the defensive pressure. They were able to force turnovers and turn their defense into offense. Silas Demary Jr. and Chris Daniels had big second quarters for Millbrook. Demary attacked the basket, drew fouls, and made a living at the free throw line. Daniels had eight second quarter points, scoring from three, getting to the basket, and making free throws. Millbrook led at the half 39-29.
To start the third quarter, Millbrook’s Eric Van der Heijden and Silas Demary Jr. took over. Millbrook started the half on a 13-0 run, starting with a Van der Heijden pull-up three-pointer to start. Then Demary drilled a pull-up midrange jumper and then a catch and shoot three-pointer. A few possessions later, Van der Heijden then knocked down a pull-up of his own going right. The third quarter was the difference in the ball game. Millbrook outscored Leesville Road 23-5 to end the quarter up 62-34.
In the fourth quarter, Millbrook continued their solid effort on both sides of the ball. They ultimately finished with the 80-49 win. What impressed me the most with Millbrook’s play was their consistency all night. They won all four quarters (+2, +10, +18, +3). That is a sign of a really good team. Even when they got the lead, they didn’t have mental lapses or stopped playing hard. Each player continued to compete. Those are makings of a championship caliber team.
Write the Name Down: Silas Demary Jr.
2022 Silas Demary Jr. continues to build upon a strong showing this summer and fall. He finished the game with 27 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Last season, he had a more limited role on a loaded team. This year, he is leading the charge at the point guard position. And he’s doing a fantastic job. The 6’4 point guard has great positional size. He competes on both ends of the court. Defensively, he utilizes his size well to keep opponents in front of him. In addition, he rebounds the ball really well for his position. Offensively, he controls the tempo of the game. He plays at a good pace and doesn’t force the issue. He is exceptional in the open court. Multiple times during the game, he snagged the defensive rebound or forced a steal and went coast-to-coast for the finish. He finishes through contact and does an outstanding job of drawing fouls and getting to the foul line, where he knocked down 10 free throws. He is a crafty finisher around the basket. In the fourth quarter, he drove along the left baseline, went up and under for the right handed reverse layup on the other side of the basket. He also showcases the ability to score from the midrange and from the perimeter. He can knock down the midrange pull-up going either direction. Expect him to continue to have a breakout year for Millbrook and for his recruitment to really pick up.
Louisville is Getting a Stud: Eric Van der Heijden
Louisville signee, Eric Van der Heijden, has been impressive all season. The 6’9 guard/wing is averaging a double-double. Once again Van der Heijden finished with a double-double of 29 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 1 assist. There is no doubt about it, Van der Heijden will have a great career at the next level. He can shoot the cover off of the ball. He drilled seven three-pointers last night, showcasing the ability to do it at a high level both off of the catch and the bounce. He has a beautiful pull-up jumper in the midrange. He gets to his spots easily and with his size and length, he can rise up and shoot over defenders. Even more impressive is his focus on the defensive end of the floor. He rebounds the ball at a high level. And on top of that, he uses his length well by contesting shots at the rim.
Don’t Forget About Chris Daniels
6’1 2021 Chris Daniels is such a vital piece of this Millbrook team. He does so many things that help this team win. Daniels finished the game with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 assist. On the defensive end, he sets the tone for this Millbrook team. He bothers the ball and forces turnovers. He was a catalyst in the second quarter when Millbrook extended their lead. He had eight points in the second quarter alone. He has the ability to score from different areas of the court. Daniels is a strong guard who does a great job of creating off of the bounce and getting into the paint. He excels in transition. Not only that, he has the ability to hurt you from beyond the arc.
Leesville Road’s Top Performers: Jalen McDonald and Chase Hakerem
Jalen McDonald is one of the top unsigned seniors in the North Carolina’s 2021 class. He finished the game with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist. The 6’5 shooting guard is ultra athletic and has the ability to finish well above the rim. He attacks the basket strong, is able to switch up his finishes in the air, and finishes through contact. More importantly, he continues to show an improved perimeter jumper. The lefty knocked down three three-point field goals. Two of those were off the bounce coming off of ball screens. He had one coming off of the ball screen going to the right and the other going to the left as his defender went underneath the screen. McDonald will continue to have an big senior season.
2021 Chase Hakerem is a tough, scrappy guard. The point guard finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists. Hakerem is a crafty ball handler who gets into the paint and makes plays for himself and others. Early in the game, when you thought Millbrook was going to pull away, Hakerem would bury a tough pull-up jumper. He can knock down the perimeter jumper. He also does a good job of drawing fouls when attacking the basket. He went 4-4 at the free throw line. Defensively, he is a pest on the ball. In the second quarter, he had back to back steals that led to Leesville Road baskets on the other end. One he stole the ball, attacked the paint, and found Jalen McDonald for an open catch and shoot three.
Millbrook Final Stats
Eric Van der Heijden – 29 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 assist
Silas Demary Jr. – 27 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
Chris Daniels – 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 assist
CeeJay Jordan – 4 points, 3 rebounds
Jaylen Donaldson – 2 points, 2 assists
Logan Hegler – 2 points
Charles Oates – 2 points
Leesville Road Final Stats
Jalen McDonald – 17 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist
Chase Hakerem – 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
Wesley Johnson – 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block
Justin Guiterrezz – 4 points, 1 rebound
Scott Martin – 2 points, 4 rebounds
Grady Whitt – 2 points, 1 rebound
Cole Lanford – 2 points, 1 rebound