Millennium exacted a bit of revenge Thursday night as it dominated Gilbert 72-47 at home in 5A basketball.
From the jump, it was clear the two teams that battled in the 2018-19 5A championship game - Gilbert beat Millennium 38-37 in a defensive battle last February - had traveled different paths. Gilbert lost several of its top performers to graduation, while the Tigers kept theirs, and even added a few pieces.
Millennium started fast. The Tigers used their size mismatches and quickness to bully their way to the hole and take an early lead.
"We knew we had an advantage there, so we wanted to start fast and score a lot of points against them," said junior forward DaRon Holmes.
Millennium played tough defense on Gilbert's guards, forcing several turnovers and turning them into transition buckets on the other end.
The lead kept increasing as Millennium dominated in all aspects of the game, and with a 30-point lead the game turned into a running-clock blowout at the beginning of the fourth quarter, with the Tigers celebrating together as time expired.
Less than a calendar year after a one-point loss in the title game, a championship several of the Tiger players believe they should have won, the win felt a little sweeter than just another victory over a tough opponent.
"I don't like the idea of a statement game, but you could see the kids really wanted to come out and play well in this one," Amundsen said.
"It means a lot to us to beat a team like them who we have a history with. It shows what we can do when we're playing our game," added junior guard Justus Jackson, who led the Tigers with 15 points.
Millennium (11-5) now enters regional play, with a road game at Valley Vista on Friday night.
The Tigers have their eyes set on a championship come the postseason. And while a dominant victory over a major contender is a nice step, Amundsen knows there is more work to be done to be able to repeat the performance in a couple months.
"I have so much respect for Jay (Caserio), and I know that they're a team that is probably going to be right back in that final four again and be another tough out," Amundsen said.