Mill Creek's Pool rains 3's on former team

DACULA - Shelbie Pool attended Dacula High School during her freshman season, playing basketball for both the junior varsity and varsity teams.

With that history with the Falcons, you would've thought her former teammates would've known not to let her shoot.

The junior, who transferred to neighboring Mill Creek when the school opened two years ago, burnt her former team for 28 points on Friday night in leading the visiting Hawks to a down-to-the-wire 63-59 win.

She hit seven three-pointers, including two huge ones in the final minutes, to help the Hawks (15-7, 4-3 in Region 7-AAAAA) withstand a terrific fourth-quarter rally by the Falcons.

"She wants the ball in her hands with the game on the line," Mill Creek head coach Ashley Phillips said.

Said Pool: "I just feel like clutch shooting is my role on this team."

It was on Friday night.

She scored 11 first-quarter points (on three 3's) and had 19 heading into the fourth quarter against Dacula (16-4, 3-4).

Mill Creek was up by seven, and when Brittany Howes hit a baseline jumper the Hawks were up 45-36 early in the period and looked to be cruising to a win.

Not quite.

The Falcons stormed back, scoring the next 12 points, and took a 48-45 lead when point guard Jenna Mooney hit a driving layup with 4:10 left in the game.

"We did a great job of staying in the game and not letting that run get to us," Phillips said.

Freshman Tia Williams hit a free throw to cut the lead to one and then sophomore Porsha Porter stole a rebound, drove all the way down the floor and kicked it out to Pool, who was wide open on the right baseline.

She buried the 3 to give the Hawks the lead right back. After Porter hit a bucket to extend the lead to 51-48 with three minutes left, Dacula scored four straight points - on a steal and layup by Mooney and a turnaround by Eve Machovec - to regain the lead at 52-51.

That's when Pool struck again.

The junior sharpshooter buried a three from the left corner to give the Hawks a 54-52 lead with 2:15 left.

"I was feeling it this game," Pool said, "even in warmups I felt good."

"That shot she hit in the corner, that was just somebody stepping up and making a play," Phillips said. "As a coach, you can draw up a play all you want, but at some point somebody has to just step up and make a play. And that's what she did."

The lead was still two points with about half a minute left when Williams went to the line for a crucial one-and-one. The freshman, who scored nine points off the bench, missed the free throw, but was able to steal the ball right back and then found Howes underneath for a wide-open layup and a four-point lead.

"Tia is super quick and has great instincts," Phillips said. "That play changed the whole dynamic of the game."

Williams and Pool then hit three of four free throws down the stretch to secure the huge region victory.

Abbie Daniel led Dacula with 18 points. Vanessa Touissant added 16 and Machovec finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Porter was the only other Hawk in double figures with 12 points. Howes and Williams finished with nine each.

Thanks to Pool's exploits, Mill Creek finished 10 of 24 from 3-point range.

Dacula was 4 of 10 from behind the arc and 22 of 45 overall.