Class A No. 4 Millard North knocked off No. 2 Gretna at the Stable on Friday, securing its biggest win of the season thanks to a shot just before the buzzer for a 59-58 overtime victory.
Here are four thoughts on that game plus a fifth on the Millard North girls’ 50-41 win over Gretna.
Gaeth Called Game
After a furious overtime period featuring a grand total of three missed shots (two field goals by Millard North and one free throw by Gretna), Millard North got the ball back with less than 20 seconds to play down by one.
Out of a timeout, the Mustangs put the ball in the hands of their junior point guard, Elijah Gaeth, and he delivered.
For the win. pic.twitter.com/4VnJuuXSOZ
— Jacob Padilla (@JacobPadilla_) February 11, 2023
Gaeth had a terrific first half with 10 points and two assists, but he was quiet in the second half, scoring two points and attempting just three shots. He hit two big shots in the overtime, however, including the 3-pointer for the win.
Gaeth finished with a team-high 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting including 3-for-5 from 3 and he also grabbed eight rebounds, tied for the game-high.
Gaeth got the last laugh, but the game’s top scorer was Gretna junior sharp-shooter Alex Wilcoxson. He finished with 23 points on 7-for-12 from the field (5-for-7 from 3) and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
Wilcoxson was terrific in the third quarter especially, scoring 10 of Gretna’s 14 points on 4-for-5 shooting to get the Dragons back in the game after Millard North had built up an 11-point lead.
Wilcoxson showed again with his five triples that he’s one of the best shooters in the state. He’s over 40% for the third straight season and is shooting over 43% on over 330 attempts throughout his nearly three seasons as a Dragon.
He’s continued to work on his game beyond just 3-point shooting, however, attacking the basket hard to draw fouls or finish and showing good touch on his mid-range shot as well.
Gretna got off to a great start, shooting 7-for-11 from the field including 3-for-4 from deep to talk an 18-11 lead after one.
Then the Mustangs did one of the most impressive things I’ve seen all season: they pitched a shutout for an entire quarter. Gretna did not score a point, missing all seven of its shots (four inside the arc, three outside) and turned the ball over eight times.
Gretna shot over 50% in the other three quarters and overtime combined. Without the the defensive effort in the second quarter, Gretna probably wins fairly comfortably.
Gaeth went home the hero, and Wilcoxson was the star of the night for Gretna, but another junior passed a significant milestone on Friday as Landon Pokorski scored his 1000th career point.
He entered the game with 998 career points, so his first bucket of the game — which came late in the first quarter — got him there. He went on to finish with 14 points and five assists. After struggling in the first three quarters, he turned it on late, scoring 10 of Gretna’s 26 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Pokorski has been starting since day one for the Dragons. He’s shot around 39% from 3 and 77% from the foul line for his career and has been a double-digit scorer all there seasons (13.0 as a freshman, 16.9 as a sophomore and 15.0 this year). He’s also improved as a playmaker, from 3.0 assists per game as a freshman to 3.7 as a sophomore and 4.4 this season.
Pokorski has been the driving force for the Dragons over the past three years and still has another season remaining to keep piling on the points.
The game featured 48 turnovers (26 from Gretna, 22 from Millard North) and 24 missed free throws (12-for-24 for Millard North, 13-for-25 for Gretna). Gretna scored the first bucket of the game, but the Mustangs closed the quarter on a 14-0 run and never trailed again.
To Gretna’s credit, the Dragons battled back the rest of the game, winning the third and fourth quarters and cutting the deficit all the way down to four early in the fourth quarter. However, sophomore Addalyn Rooney hit a big 3 to put the Mustangs back up by eight and Millard North hit enough free throws (barely) to close out the game.
Senior Lynn Davis led a balanced Millard North attack with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting (1-of-1 from 3) while grabbing four rebounds and three steals off the bench. Twelve different Mustangs saw the court and and 11 of them scored.
Aidan Pohlmann led Gretna with 11 points, hitting two of her three field goal attempts including a 3 and shooting 6-foot-9 at the foul line. Brooke Rose added 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.