Not including its 1 1/2 -hour bus ride in the rain, Brunswick of Frederick County had a lot to overcome in its regional final against top seed Milford Mill last night.
Thrown into the mix, the third-seeded Railroaders had 27 turnovers and a nearly disastrous second quarter.
Lucky for them they also had Shelley McLane. The 6-foot-2 senior, who played center, forward and even point guard, had 27 points and 16 rebounds to lead Brunswick to a 64-49 win at Owings Mills High School.
"We knew she was trouble," said Milford Mill coach Ken Witts, who saw McLane put on a similar performance against the Millers in last year's regional final. "We just weren't able to stop her."
Brunswick (16-9) advances to Friday's 7 p.m. Class 1A state semifinal at Catonsville Community College, where they'll play a yet-to-be-determined opponent. Milford Mill ended its season at 17-7.
McLane nearly took over the game down the stretch, scoring 20 in the second half -- 12 in the fourth quarter. When she wasn't scoring she was rebounding for second and third opportunities on the offensive end.
"She was awesome," said Brunswick coach Bill Martin. "She's been our big player all year long. In the second half, we finally got her into the game, and she just took it over."
Milford Mill had its troubles on offense. During a nine-minute stretch midway through the second half, the Millers hit one of 17 shots. They shot 23 percent for the game.
In the early going, however, it was a different story.
After falling behind 19-11 early in the second quarter, the Millers went on an 11-0 run to take the lead before the half. They used a xTC trapping defense to create 11 Brunswick turnovers for the quarter and seemed to gain control of the game.
Only missed fast-break opportunities kept the Railroaders within striking distance.
"We had a million turnovers off of them and didn't turn them into points," Witts said. "When you work hard to get an easy shot, and it doesn't go in, it's hard to keep bouncing back."
Brunswick, however, recovered quickly. McLane scored four straight to give her team a 29-28 lead with 5:06 left in the third quarter. Then, leading 33-30, Brunswick went on a 19-4 run that put the game out of reach.
"We're a comeback team," said McLane. "I knew we could win this game. Down the stretch we just out-hustled and out-rebounded them."
For the game, Brunswick out-rebounded Milford Mill, 65-55.
Said Milford's Yolanda Matthews, "We just couldn't get any rebounds."
Matthews, a junior who ranks second on the Millers' all-time scoring list, led Milford with 17 points. Center Ebonie Richardson added 11.