Brandon Miller '20 and Bomber Basketball were featured in the 11.30.18 stltoday.com website. "John Burroughs junior guard Brandon Miller doesn't strike an imposing figure on the basketball court. But the diminutive guard didn't show any fear Friday as he battered his way through Mater Dei's forest of forwards and big men to get rebounds. Then it was off to the races for Miller — and he's not accustomed to losing races. 'We want to play good defense and push the ball and get layups in transition,' Miller said. 'That's the plan for this year.' The 5-foot-7 track star showed his basketball prowess in leading John Burroughs to a 52-42 nonconference boys victory over Mater Dei. 'For us to return only two starters (from last year's 17-win team), that's a good start and I'll take it all day,' John Burroughs coach Corey Frazier said. John Burroughs' season-opening victory was Frazier's 300th career win in his 19th years as a coach and second with the Bombers. When the buzzer sounded, he had to be reminded of the significance of the season-opening win, but his players knew. It also was the first meeting between the teams in at least 20 years. 'That was our goal at the beginning of the game to try and get him his 300th win,' Miller said. 'We wanted to start his 19th year off right,' John Burroughs senior DJ Miller said. The Bombers flashed smothering man-to-man defense and forced seven turnovers by Mater Dei (2-2) in the first six minutes. The Bombers forced contested shots that set up Brandon Miller for rebounds to key the offensive attack. 'I just tried to use my speed and try to get past defenders and create for my teammates,' Miller said. Mater Dei clawed back into the game in the first half, going on a 10-2 run to cut the gap to 20-15 midway through the second quarter. Frazier reiterated what he wanted on defense going into the third quarter. 'Just mainly focus on who we are because we're going to be a defensive team all year long and we need to start acting like it,' Frazier said. The message was received. John Burroughs held Mater Dei without a field goal in the third quarter on 0-for-12 shooting. 'We knew coming over here it was going to be a very good challenge for us. They're athletic, strong and deep,' Mater Dei coach Ron Schadegg said. 'We struggled against their pressure defense the entire night and we never really settled in.' Brandon Miller keyed the defensive pressure. He led the Bombers with four steals, and DJ Miller picked up two steals. 'We play hard-nosed defense, in your face and a lot of pressure and that translates to steals and layups,' DJ Miller said. 'That's what we want to embody this year.' Brandon Miller led all scorers with 22 points, but he was disappointed with his free throws at the end of the game. After starting a perfect 8-for-8, Miller went 2-for-9 to finish the game. 'My free throws were cool until the end of the game,' Miller said. 'I just need to get back into the gym and keep working so I can knock them down at the end of the game.' Though Mater Dei cut the lead to eight points multiple times in the fourth quarter, it was unable to close the gap any further. 'We made a little run and got it to eight, but then we'd miss a boxout and they'd put it back to 10 or 11,' Schadegg said. 'We've just got to clean some things up individually in certain areas. We'll get back in the gym and try to get better.'"