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GWINNETT GRADS: Mill Creek grad Brookins named tourney's outstanding player

Alicia Brookins, a Mill Creek graduate, was named Most Outstanding Player of the Conference Carolinas Women’s Basketball Tournament after leading Limestone College (S.C.) to its second tourney title in three seasons. (Photo: Stacey Wylie)

Alicia Brookins, a Mill Creek graduate, was named Most Outstanding Player of the Conference Carolinas Women’s Basketball Tournament after leading Limestone College (S.C.) to its second tourney title in three seasons. (Photo: Stacey Wylie)

Alicia Brookins typically gets acclaim for her work on defense, but her all-around game was at the forefront this week.

The Mill Creek grad was named Most Outstanding Player of the Conference Carolinas Women’s Basketball Tournament after leading Limestone College (S.C.) to its second tourney title in three seasons and third straight NCAA Division II National Tournament bid.

Brookins, a junior, scored a game-high 16 points in the title game, a 61-41 victory over Mount Olive. She did her usual work on defense, too, holding Mount Olive to a season low in points.

“This is a terrific feeling, we’ve worked so hard to get to this point,” Brookins said after Thursday’s championship game. “We’re playing our best basketball right now and we’re looking forward to making a run in the NCAA Tournament. I’m very honored to have been named MVP. I’m just glad I was able to help our team accomplish our ultimate goal of winning the conference.”

Limestone (24-5) has the league’s top scoring defense, thanks in great part to Brookins, who typically guards the other team’s top offensive threat. Her play didn’t go unnoticed, though — she was named Conference Carolinas defensive player of the year prior to the season-ending tournament.

The 5-foot-8 forward averages 10.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.1 steals, but stepped up her offense in the tourney. She had 16 points and nine rebounds in the semifinals vs. King University, as well as 12 points in the tourney opener vs. North Greenville.

Mill Creek also has another connection to the conference championship team in Tia Williams, a student assistant coach. She was a senior on Limestone’s 2012-13 NCAA tourney team.

BASKETBALL

Mill Creek’s Shaw earns conference honor

Brevard College (N.C.) guard Trevon Shaw, a Mill Creek grad, was named to the South Atlantic Conference All-Freshman Team this week.

Shaw led the conference and broke a Brevard record for 3-point shooting, making 48.4 percent of attempts (62 of 128). He averaged 12.7 points and 4.2 rebounds in his debut college season.

SWIMMING

Kenney helps Virginia to historic title

North Gwinnett grad Caroline Kenney was one of three Virginia swimmers to make A Final in all three of her events, powering the Cavaliers to their conference-record seventh straight title at the ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships.

Kenney qualified for the NCAA Championships, held later this month in Minneapolis, in all three individual events and swam on an ACC-record, first-place 800-yard freestyle relay team. The foursome had a time of 7 minutes, 1.39 seconds. In individual events, Kenney was third in the 200 free (1:45.65) and third in the 200 backstroke (1:55.09), as well as sixth in the 500 free (4:42.11).

Freshmen shine for N.C. State

Gwinnett grads and N.C. State freshmen Rachel Muller and Lydia Jones both excelled in their first ACC Championships and broke school records. Muller, a Brookwood grad, placed ninth in the 1,650 free (16:33.10), 10th in the 500 free (school-record 4:46.97) and 15th in the 200 free (1:47.86). She also swam on a fourth-place 800 free relay team that lowered the school record to 7:07.99.

Jones was 10th in the 200 fly with a school-record time of 1:58.80 and 15th in the 100 fly (54.27).

WRESTLING

Collins Hill’s Smith runner-up in Pac-12

Arizona State sophomore Joel Smith, a Collins Hill grad, finished as the 157-pound runner-up at the recent Pac-12 Championships and helped the Sun Devils to a fourth-place finish in the team standings. Smith, seeded second, won a major decision 14-5 and a 13-6 decision in the semifinals before losing to No. 1 seed R.J. Pena of Oregon State in the finals.

Knapp qualifies for NCAAs again

Collins Hill grad Thomas Knapp has become the ninth Newberry College (S.C.) wrestler to qualify three times for the NCAA Division II National Championships.

Knapp, a 2012 All-American, went 17-12 this season and finished fourth in the Super Region II Tournament. He takes a career record of 94-58 into nationals.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com.