By Allen Kha / Scrimmageplay.com Contributor
After entering the fourth quarter with a slim 29-25 lead, the Miller boys basketball team went on a 16-7 run in the beginning of the final stanza and ended its regular season with a 57-47 victory over visiting Covenant.
The Mavericks and Eagles both saw Saturday afternoon’s game as a great tune-up for their upcoming postseasons, and the game developed likewise. Both teams stressed ball movement and precision on offense, yet neither team’s shots fell in the first half. The majority of the scoring came on transition dunks from juniors Brandon Bolden and Andrew White.
After ending the first half with a score of 17-11, Miller and Covenant continued to trade shots in the third quarter. The Mavericks primarily scored through their dribble-drive and post games. The Eagles, meanwhile, created numerous opportunities from the perimeter through their patient offense but couldn’t knock down those open shots. Covenant was able to bring the game to within four points at 29-25 by the end of the third quarter, nonetheless.
“We’re a much better shooting team than our performance showed tonight,” Covenant coach Ben D’Alessandro said.
“You saw that we created plenty of opportunities from the perimeter with our ball movement, and I was surprised that people who usually knock down shots didn’t make them tonight.”
The Eagles’ shooting ills continued into fourth quarter as Miller made its run. The Mavericks opened the quarter fierce on the offensive glass and embarked on a 5-0 run to open the quarter. On one particular possession with the score at 34-29, three Mavericks players grabbed offensive rebounds under the glass. Travis Hester grabbed the last of the offensive rebounds and drew an and-one. After Covenant missed its shot on the ensuing possession, White dunked the ball out of transition and further cemented Miller’s lead.
The Mavericks held 13-point leads on multiple occasions, and would have expanded it more if not for the heroics of Covenant senior Isaac Stewart-Silver, who scored eight of his 19 points — including two clutch, momentum-halting three-pointers — in the fourth quarter.
“We had a great defensive first half and great offensive second half, and we eventually need to put a complete performance together,” Miller assistant coach Tommy Landseadel said.
“They are a smaller team than us so I think we could have done better on the offensive boards… we rebounded much better against Blue Ridge actually. But we came through in this performance and we’re ready to make a run in the playoffs.”
D’Alessandro, meanwhile, was similarly optimistic about his team.
“[Stewart-Silver] doesn’t miss. I expect him to be a 100-percent three-point shooter, seriously. Our team overall is a much better shooting team as well, and if some shots we can make fall we’d have a closer game. We don’t really focus on other teams, rather on how we play and what we can do. Even so, today we went up against a very talented team and played well,” D’Alessandro said.