Milford Mill lost its leading scorer in the first quarter and cut an 18-point deficit to six early in the fourth, but visiting Brunswick took an 80-64 victory last night in the boys state Class 1A, Region II championship game.
Milford Mill had trouble filling the void left when freshman LTC Norman Nolan, who was averaging 18 points and 15 rebounds, suffered an ankle injury early in the first quarter. Kevin English led the Millers with 17 points.
Jack Bentley had 22 points to lead Brunswick (18-6), which will be making its first appearance in the state final four at Cole Field House since 1977. That team won the state Class 1A (then Class C) title.
"Lightning does strike twice," said coach Homer Seidel of Milford Mill (18-5). "You can't lose a player like Norman and expect to win a game like this. I thought Brunswick played a nice game, so give them credit."
Brunswick took a 19-12 lead and extended it to 31-15 with three minutes left in the first half. The Millers shot 10-for-40 and trailed, 40-24, at the half.
After Brunswick scored the first basket of the second half for an 18-point lead, Milford used a pressure defense to climb back in.
The Millers held Brunswick to three points in the final 6 minutes, 39 seconds of the third quarter and trailed, 48-41, entering the final period.
A layup by Eugene Chaffin with 6:53 left cut the margin to 51-45, but that was as close as the Millers would come. Brunswick scored 12 of the next 14 to put the game away.
"I think frustration played a big part in the way we played in the first half," said Seidel. "I'm proud of the way my kids came back, but it wasn't enough."