With Miller’s girls basketball team leading by just a couple of baskets and less than two minutes to play, the Mavericks needed a defensive stand to end the Timberlake Christian’s threat.
Miller’s team defense was up to the task, stonewalling the Tornadoes for nearly a minute on a critical possession before forcing a turnover and burning some key seconds off the clock that paved the way for a 48-44 victory.
“We’d been talking about trying to stop the penetration and the drive the whole game and we locked down the last couple of possessions when we needed it,” said Miller coach James Braxton.
The Mavericks got a big lift from Naya Hunter’s 19-point performance that included a 7-for-8 performance at the free throw line. When you’ve got a point guard like freshman Olivia Wagner, who poured in 17 points, a tall combo guard like Hunter who was more of a forward at her last school is an ideal backcourt mate.
“She takes a lot of pressure off of Olivia, we’re developing her into a point guard,” Braxton said.
Wagner caught fire in the second quarter where she knocked down three of her five 3-pointers in that frame and helped the Mavericks build a slight advantage going into the half.
“She has great hands, a good feel and she’s just aggressive offensively and defensively,” Braxton said. “She’s our floor general.”
The Mavericks (17-4) had to battle down the stretch though, with Hunter scoring nine of her 19 in the fourth including going a clutch 5-for-6 at the charity stripe. Hannah Woodard finished with nine points for the Mavericks.
DeShawna Jones had 14 for Timberlake while Lauren Christian finished with 10.
Miller travels to take on Central Virginia Disciples Tuesday.