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The second round of the 4A NCHSAA tournament featured two teams from the Raleigh area going at it for a chance to make it to the elite eight. Millbrook, a perennial powerhouse was playing in their 14th straight second-round tournament game, and Fuquay Varina was in the tournament for the first time since 1996.
Darius Briley (2021 uncommitted) got Fuquay Varina going early with 9 first quarter points, and the Bengals finished the quarter on a 10-2 run to take an early 20-17 lead over Millbrook.
Foul trouble would be a factor in the game as 2021 Louisville commit Eric van der Heijden of Millbrook and Fuquay Varina’s Mayar Wol and Sheick Samoura all spent considerable time on the bench in the second quarter due to foul trouble.
Millbrook’s Redford Dunton (2021 Purdue Fort Wayne), Silas Demary Jr. (2022), and Chris Daniels (2021 uncommitted) all stepped up to give Millbrook a 46-41 lead going into the half.
Millbrook opened the second half on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 53-41. Dunton went over 20 points for the night early in the third quarter to propel his team to a 68-56 lead heading into the final quarter.
It looked like Millbrook would run away with the game like they have all year, but Fuquay Varina had other plans. Samoura, Wol, and Ryan Maslow (2021 uncommitted) played a major role in getting Fuquay Varina back in the game. They went on a 12-4 run to start the quarter and cut the lead to 72-68 with 4:25 to play. The lead would get as close to 1 at 79-78 with 45 seconds remaining, but clutch free throw shooting and stops on the defensive end sealed the deal for Millbrook.
Millbrook was 12-17 from the free throw line over the final 1:30 of the game and made 7 of their last 8 to narrowly escape the upset bid from Fuquay Varina.
The win by Millbrook sets up a much-anticipated matchup on Saturday between Millbrook and Apex Friendship. The two undefeated teams have easily been two of the best in the state throughout the year, and in Saturday’s matchup a spot in the final four is on the line.
Millbrook 17 29 22 18 86
Fuquay Varina 20 21 15 26 82
Red Dunton: 25 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
Chris Daniels: 24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Silas Demary Jr: 24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Darius Briley: 21 points
Ryan Maslow: 20 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal
Sheik Samoura: 18 points, 5 rebounds
Mayar Wol: 16 points
Red Dunton (Millbrook) Dunton led all scorers on Thursday night, as well as adding another double double to his resume. Dunton went for 25 and 10, along with 4 steals. Dunton is explosive off of the dribble, and finds ways to get to the basket for high quality shots. He is a smooth passer, even in traffic, finding the open man with ease. All 25 of his points came inside of the three point-line, and he made several put back attempts, showing his aggressiveness in the paint.
Sheick Samoura (Fuquay Varina) Samoura and teammate Mayar Wol were the story of the second half for Fuquay Varina. If the duo wouldn’t have had foul trouble in the first half, we could be talking about an entirely different outcome. Samoura can run the court and finish with ease. At one point on Thursday, he brought the ball up the court, split the defenders and finished with a slam. He made a very difficult play look easy. He is aggressive on the glass, and has the ability to pull up for a floater if he needs to.
Chris Daniels (Millbrook) Daniels was all over the court on Thursday, turning in the second highest point total of the game. Daniels stepped up when van der Heijden went out with foul trouble, getting 24 points on the night. Daniels isn’t new to contributing for this Millbrook team though, he averaged 12.9 ppg heading into last night. He is aggressive on both ends of the court, battling inside for position and finishing at the rim with authority. Daniels is listed at 6’1, but when you watch him on the court he plays like he is 6’7. He was also 10-11 from the free throw line in the game.
Darius Briley (Fuquay Varina) Briley was one of the main players to step up when Wol and Samoura had to sit. He had 14 of his 21 points in the first half when they were in foul trouble. His 21 points were well above his season average of 11.6. Briley played with passion, being active on defense and making key shots to keep his team in the game. He shot 50% from three (3-6). Briley scored all 7 of his second half points in the fourth quarter.
Silas Demary Jr. (Millbrook) Demary was impressive to watch in person. He is a guard that college coaches will be all over as he heads into the spring and summer before his senior year. Demary does it all on the court, he has a high basketball IQ, and when his team needs points he gets them. He has the ability to drive to the basket and evade defenders for high quality shots. His mid-range game is well above average, and his ball handling, along with the ability to see the court make him a coach’s player. Deamry’s defense is just as good as the rest of his game, with active hands and feet disrupting things.
Mayar Wol (Fuquay Varina) Wol had 16 points on the night and every time he is on the court your eyes seem to gravitate to him because he is an electric player. Wol, similar to his teammate Samoura, can dribble and drive to the basket with ease. He is so quick getting to the basket on the offensive end and he makes his presence known on the defensive end at all times. At 6’8 and a wingspan even longer, it isn’t easy trying to get a shot over him. It was like he had an extra energy boost at times that the rest of the players on the court didn’t.