Miller boys hold off Middleburg Academy

When Miller’s Josh Majors stepped on the floor and joined teammate Janeil Jenkins in the backcourt in the second quarter of the Mavericks’ game with Middleburg Academy, something clicked.

“It worked very well—this is the first time, we usually don’t do that, I come in for him and he comes in for me,” Majors said. “But (coach Scott Willard) put us together and it worked well.”

Majors and Jenkins, both point guards, being on the floor at the same time created, for at least a night, perhaps the state’s quickest backcourt and it showed as the Mavericks ripped off an 18-0 run in the second quarter. That run got Miller back into the game and helped the Mavericks hold off Middleburg for a 68-65 victory to avenge a loss from earlier this season.

“Putting them together isn’t something we planned, but it’s certainly something we’re going to look to in the future — they gave us a run there when we had no momentum,” said Miller coach Scott Willard. “(Middleburg) stayed man so we spread it around a little more.”

Majors, who transferred from Culpeper before this season, has been a regular part of the rotation this year, but with Devon Anderson nursing an ankle injury, Majors had to take on an expanded role. In the process, the Mavericks found a lineup that gave Middleburg fits on defense. The grouping also helped contain the Dragons’ speedy guards led by Drew Henry and Marcus Hays when the Mavericks played defense.

“They have guards who can really get by you and we needed to matchup,” Willard said. “(Majors and Jenkins) really kicked to our shooters.”

The 18-0 run got going when Jenkins and Majors started distributing to Chase Cannon and Andrew White. Cannon buried three of his four 3-pointers on the night during the explosion and White, who finished with 19 points, contributed five points during the stretch. Jenkins scored seven in the second quarter, including a 3-pointer.

That run changed the entire complexion of the game as the Mavericks’ transition game forced Middleburg to run, which made it a bit tougher to get big man Mo Alie, a 6-foot-6, 225 pound power forward in the mix. Alie still managed 14 points but he had to work for every one of them as Tony Washington and Aram Martin handled most of the defensive work against the Dragons’ big man.

Still, Middleburg had a chance to win in the closing seconds of the game, but a 3-pointer came up short.

Henry had 21 points for Middleburg including four 3-pointers, but White managed to put the clamps on him down the stretch, holding him to just a trio of free throws in the fourth.

Jenkins had 14 points for Miller.

Miller continues a brutal stretch in its ambitious schedule wrapping up the week that started against Blue Ridge Tuesday on Saturday at Virginia State University with a battle against the defending VHSL Group AA, Division 3 champions Brunswick coached by UVa alum Bryant Stith.