UNBELIEVABLE
March 7, 2019
Southern Torch (3655 articles)
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UNBELIEVABLE

By Staff Reports

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — For the second year in  row, Plainview High School guard Caden Millican found himself with the ball in the final seconds Friday with his team needing a bucket to win AHSAA Class 3A state championship at the BJCC Legacy Arena. 

And just like last year, Millican delivered – grabbing a pass from guard Tristan Willingham in the lane with 3 seconds left and sinking the game-winning shot to give the Bears a 54-52 victory over Westminster Christian to notch Plainview’s second consecutive state crown.

Millican’s 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime in 2018 was the game winner in the Bears’ championship victory over Hillcrest-Evergreen. Friday’s shot was inside – a play called “leopard” Coach Robi Coker picked up from watching Belmont University beat UCLA.  “We put that play in Sunday and we have practiced it all week,” said Coker. “I told our kids that when we run the play it will work.”

Westminster Christian (27-5), coached by Ronnie Stapler, trailed 50-39 heading into the fourth quarter, but with 29 seconds left, senior Auston Leslie cashed in two free throws to tie the game at 52 all. Stapler called his final timeout and in Coker instructed his team to run the play. He said it worked just they had practiced it.

Millican finished with 15 points. Koby Tinker had 25, including five 3-pointers – all coming in a wild third quarter after the 3-point shooting Bears had gone 0-for-8 behind the arc in the first half.  All 18 points in the third period came on treys with Haden White hitting the other one. Tinker’s last 3-pointer of the quarter came at the buzzer.   He also had three rebounds and was 4-of-6 at the foul line to earn Class 3A state tourney MVP honors.  Taylor Haymon and White had seven points each and Willingham finished with two assists and just one turnover at point guard.

Leslie had 24 points to lead Westminster. He also had six rebounds and four blocked shots.  Jayden Landrom and Joshua Childers added 13 points each. Childers had a game-high seven rebounds and Menterra Curley had two assists, four steals and a blocked shot. The Wildcats won the Class 4A state title in 2016 for their school’s first state championship.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

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