Article courtesy Craig Adkins and the Hamilton County Reporter.
After a big win on Friday night in the HCC over seventh-ranked Brownsburg, the Millers were looking to continue their winning weekend, but it wouldn’t be an easy thing.
The visiting Generals of Wayne High School in Fort Wayne have had a similar up-and-down season like Noblesville. Coming into Saturday night’s tilt, they proved to be battle-tested with five of their losses being 10 points or less in a tough, physical Summit Conference.
The Millers came to defend The Mill for the second night in a row and won going away with a 43-36 win over Wayne.
In the early going, it was the Generals who showed their offensive abilities, mainly junior guard Michael Redding, who got Wayne off to a quick 5-0 start before the Millers got on the board. Redding was thrust into leading Wayne offensively with the absence of senior leading scorer Craig Young, who did not make the trip. Redding swished a three from the top of the key and then put in another two.
Xavier Hines caught a nice feed from Zack Johnson to get Noblesville’s first points.
A baseline jumper from the right by Quincy Miles and a steal and fast break basket by Cam Starks moved Wayne’s lead to 9-3, forcing Brian McCauley to burn his first timeout with 4:54 on the first period clock.
“We had a poor start. We had a great start last night, but then tonight we just weren’t sharp. We knew number four was a very good shooter and we left him open first shot of the game. He’s fresh, knocks down a big three, then she shot-faked, drove in and hit a pull-up and now we’re down 5-0,” said Noblesville head coach Brian McCauley on the Millers’ slow start.
Wayne continued to show they could hang, even without their leading scorer. Redding nailed a three from the left wing for 12-3.
Zack Johnson drew a foul, made the shot and hit his free throw for the old-fashioned three-point play, cutting the deficit in half at 12-6.
Starks drilled a triple from the top for 15-6, but it would be Johnson again who would get the and-one, but the Generals still pushed ahead for a 17-9 lead through one.
The quarter break was just what the Millers needed.
Hines knocked down his second three of the half, which ignited a 12-4 second quarter. Jordan Schmidt scored two straight baskets, followed by a two and a three from Johnson that gave the Millers their first lead at 21-19.
Darius Alexander put a layup in for Wayne near the end of the half that would tie the game at 21-21 at halftime.
“After that first quarter, we really were focused and sharp. They struggled scoring after that. They had 17 in the first quarter and for the game ended up with 36 points,” stated McCauley about his Millers being locked in for the final three periods.
Just how he started the second, Hines sank a long shot to begin the third, but it was a long two. Miles tied it at 23-23 on a drive to the bucket early in the third.
Johnson scored another five in a row with a pair from the charity stripe and then his third three-pointer the old-fashioned way for a 28-23 score.
“So, we were really locked in. We took away what they want to do. We took away their strengths. No. 4 had eight in the first and he had 10 for the game, so we did a good job of getting out on him (Redding),” said McCauley of the Millers’ defense and their approach to sharp-shooting southpaw Redding, who averages 42 percent from three.
Throughout the final frame, it became a time to wear down Wayne’s team as a whole. The four reserves that saw the floor for the Generals, really didn’t see a whole lot of time, so depth was an issue.
The Millers would win the game from the free throw line down the stretch, as they would make 11-of-12 in the fourth and go 15-for-16 on the game en route to a 43-36 win over the visiting Generals.
“All in all, I thought, I was really proud of their effort in the second, third and fourth. It’s a great weekend for our guys,” continued McCauley on the Millers’ efforts Saturday night holding the Generals to 19 total points in the final three quarters and also on their big Friday night win over Brownsburg.