3rdQ Blast Propels Meadowbrook

background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>Final - - Meadowbrook 61, #5 L.C.
class=GramE>Bird 47:

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>A couple of 5A-South Conference 12 rivals squared off
on Saturday afternoon at Meadowbrook High School when the Monarchs played host
to the L.C. Bird Skyhawks, who began the season
ranked #2 in the state in Group 5A and are only three seasons removed from
winning a Central Region Championship.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Down 31-28 in the opening second of the third quarter, Meadowbrook
scored the next 20 points and totally seized control by the throat en route to
a 61-47 cruising. With their latest impressive win, Meadowbrook now is looking more and more like a factor in their second season under Head
Coach Jake Oliver at 16-4 overall.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Since day one, we've been preaching we're only going
to be as good as our defense takes us.
We've got the size, some athletes out there and this group has
completely bought into what we want to do defensively.
style=> We know we're capable of having those nights
like that, and it all clicked at the right time for us," remarked Oliver.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>The third period saw Meadowbrook really put the clamps
on Bird, and for the game, the Skyhawks shot just 16-of-51
from the field (31.3%) as well as 3-for-15 from long distance.
style=> Conversely, the Monarchs converted 6-of-18
three-point shots and had 14 assists on 23 field goals.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For Meadowbrook, 6-foot-2 junior wing and two-sport
athlete Khylil
James scored a game-high 19 points.
That's a considerable uptick from the 8.5 points per game he was putting
up on the season coming into the contest.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Meadowbrook 6-foot-1 senior guard
normal'>Brandon Cheeks, their leading scorer and rebounder at 20.6 points
and 6.6 rebounds per game, still managed to record a double-double with 11
points and 10 boards, despite a subpar 3-for-12 shooting afternoon.
style=> Cheeks is the engine
to their attack and the coaching staff has been pleased with how he's been able
to contribute in a variety of areas and serve as a captain.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Brandon is probably the most unselfish player that I've
ever been around. He can demand the
ball, take 30 shots a game and score 30 points a game if he wanted to," Oliver stated.
style=> "He's got that kind of ability and talent,
but since day one he has always been talking about winning ballgames.
style=> There hasn't been any interest in stats or
getting into a big school. He loves his
guys, is the first guy to start cutting up with them, picking them up when they're
down. For him, he's all about results
and getting that W."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For L.C. Bird (14-4) in defeat, junior swingman and
Division I prospect Kenny Williams scored
15 points, six coming in the fourth quarter when the game was pretty much out
of reach. Fellow junior and D-1 recruit
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Thomas Taylor added a double-double of
12 points and 13 boards for the Skyhawks.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>These two teams are likely to meet again.
style=> Bird will be the site of the Conference 12
Tournament that gets underway on February 18th and concludes on the 21st, where
potentially those two could square off in a re-match for the Championship.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Meadowbrook has already locked up the top seed for the tourney. Having already notched wins by double-digits over both Bird and Matoaca, their top
two contenders in the conference, the Monarchs are optimistic about a deep
postseason run.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We've always believed that we can compete with anybody.
style=> We're now actually
believing that we can win against anybody.
style=> That's been a big mind change for some of
them," Oliver noted.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"The things that we talked about, commitments that we're
asking our players to make, they're seeing the results of that.
style=> I really believe if I told them our best
chance is to put four guys out there and play that they would honestly believe
me and give me everything that they have with four guys out there."



background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>Player of the Game:
Meadowbrook SF Khylil James - -
his athleticism to get to the bucket and also showing an improved jump shot, James
had his best game of the season and did so against a quality opponent.
style=> He made 8-of-15 from the field and took
advantage of the defense leaving him unguarded from three-point land, sinking
3-of-5 attempts behind the arc.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I knew they would concentrate on Cheeks because he's
been our leading scorer throughout the whole season.
style=> Once they did that, I just got my shot,"
commented on James. "I believed I could
have a big game, but my confidence has also gone up as the season has
progressed. This is a good feeling to
beat one of our rivals."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In his team's first 17 games of the year, James made
only three shots from three-point territory, the same number he made against
the Skyhawks.
Seven of his points came during that third quarter run, and he made his
presence felt defensively by defending Williams much of the game, holding him
to just two points in the opening stanza.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"I can't say enough about Khylil
James. Coming into the season, we knew
he was a lockdown defender. We knew he
could do some things offensively. He's
really put in the time and work to make himself a better player, and it's
starting to show," said Oliver. "Now he's
finishing around the basket. We've been
looking for that second guy to step up and Khylil has
taken that and ran with it."



background:yellow;mso-highlight:yellow'>Keys to Victory:

- - Third Quarter Blast:
Meadowbrook outscored Bird 20-1 in the third quarter to turn a 30-28 deficit at
the break into a sizeable 48-31 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
style=> So how did they do it?

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"All year long, we've been starting the second half looking
to finish the games out. Coach talks
about making the extra pass, getting the easy bucket instead of settling for
the first open shot," James went on to say.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Meadowbrook got points from four different players on
their first four field goals of the quarter and capitalized on the
class=SpellE>Skyhawks' mistakes.
In the quarter, Bird shot 0-for-9 from the field and committed seven
turnovers, perhaps marking their worst stretch of basketball this season to
date. Meanwhile, the Monarchs valued
their possessions and went 8-for-16 with only two turnovers.

#2 - - Multiple Drivers:
What Meadowbrook did an effective job of was spreading the floor out
with multiple drivers. Their chief
ball-handler is senior point guard
normal'>Daquan Coleman,
who's generously listed at 5-foot-8. His
small stature withstanding, Coleman has been vital to their success all season
long, averaging 7.6 points, 5.7 assists and nearly three steals per game.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Coleman was able to neutralize Bird's diminutive guards
C.J. Miles and
normal'>Malik Johnson, holding them to a combined nine points on 3-of-19
shooting. While he scored just five
points, Coleman handed out six assists and somehow came up with five rebounds
against larger guys in the painted area.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"He's a pit-bull and tough as nails.
style=> I think Daquan
Coleman is the toughest player I've ever been around," believes Oliver.
style=> "Just like Brandon, he's all about
winning. Daquan
has no fear at all. He'll check the
biggest guy out there if he's handling the ball, and not only thinks he can do
it, but wants that challenge."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Whether it was Cheeks, James, Coleman or even someone
off the bench, Meadowbrook was able to put the ball in different guys' hands to
create a play, something that can really pay off come playoff time.

#3 - - Don't Let Williams Erupt:
a handful of D-1 offers already in hand and a smooth jumper, Williams is one of
the hardest players to defend in all of the state.
style=> Earlier this season, he went off for 50
points in a game and in this contest he really started to make an impact
defensively with a couple of blocks and pair of steals by tying up a
Meadowbrook player for a jump-ball that went the Skyhawks'

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>In the third quarter, Meadowbrook had the tempo in its
favor and ball stayed away from Williams, who attempted only two shots the
entire period.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"We just had to contain him and don't let him score
because once he gets hot, the whole team gets hot," pointed out James.
style=> "If you shut him down, that shuts the rest of
their team down."

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>More than anything else, the Monarchs wanted to make
Williams work for his points, which he did in the fourth quarter when he took
it upon himself to drive to the hoop on four or five occasions.
style=> By then though, the deficit swelled to as
many as 18. They also kept him off the
glass, limiting him to five rebounds.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>"Kenny's a heck of a player.
style=> He's going to make tough shots and that was
our focus," Oliver said. "He's going to
get his points, do what Kenny does, but let's make it as difficult as we can do
that. Luckily for us, it worked out our way."

style='text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Rod Johnson's Photo Feature on
style='text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Postgame Audio with
Meadowbrook Coach Jake Oliver

Final Stats:

Monarchs 61:
style=> (16-4 Overall)
Khylil James - - 19Pts. 8-15FG, 3Reb. 2Ast. 2Stl
Brandon Cheeks - - 11Pts. 3-12FG, 4-6FT, 10Reb. 3Ast.
Antonio Davis - - 9Pts. 4-6FG, 6Reb.
Terelle Whitaker - - 8Pts. 3-8FG, 2Reb.
Jeff Lee - - 5Pts. 2-6FG, 9Reb.
Daquan Coleman - - 5Pts. 5Reb. 6Ast.

Bird Skyhawks 47:
style=> (14-4 Overall)
Kenny Williams - - 15Pts. 5-13FG, 4-4FT, 5Reb. 2Blk. 2Stl.
Thomas Taylor - - 12Pts. 4-8FG, 4-6FT, 13Reb. 3Blk.
Ellis Webster - - 7Pts. 3-5FG, 9Reb.
C.J. Miles - - 5Pts. 2-11FG, 3Reb.
Malik Johnson - - 4Pts. 1-8FG, 2Ast.



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