COLLEGE PARK -- Doctors are unsure whether Milford Mill High sophomore center Norman Nolan's left wrist is broken. Pocomoke coach David Byrd had his own theory after Nolan dominated his team in the Millers' 66-39 state tournament Class 1A semifinal win at Cole Field House yesterday.
"That wrist was all hype," said Byrd. "He plays good and he'll be a great player."
Nolan was great yesterday, scoring 24 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking three shots as the Millers advanced to today's 1 p.m. championship game against Perryville. The Cecil County team (19-3) edged Williamsport, 59-58, in the other 1A semifinal yesterday.
Milford Mill (19-6) dominated Pocomoke (17-9) from start to finish. The Millers were too big for the Indians, who also had problems with Milford Mill's matchup zone defense and full-court pressure.
Pocomoke hit 13 of 48 field goals and had 23 turnovers. Pocomoke's Mike Roberts, the state's all-time public school scoring leader, was limited to 20 points (14 below his average).
Give Nolan credit there also. The 6-foot-7 center, who injured his wrist in a region semifinal win over Poolesville March 5, gave the 6-2 Roberts fits inside. Roberts made five of 13 shots in the first half and finished eight of 22.
"He intimidated me," said Roberts, who finished his high school career with 2,611 points, replacing Mount Hebron's Barry Young as the state's all-time leader. "I kept on pump faking, but I couldn't draw the foul. He's probably the best big guy that I've played."
Initially, it was believed that Nolan's wrist may have been broken. Milford Mill coach Homer Seidel said that the first doctor Nolan saw said the wrist was not broken. However another doctor said there was too much swelling to tell. It will be another two to three weeks before the swelling is down and the true extent of the injury is known.
"He still has a lot of pain," said Seidel. "He still has a lot of problems. He got big rebounds and blocked some shots."
The Millers also got solid efforts from their other starters. Point guard Chianti Stansbury had 11 points and six assists; shooting guard Kevin English had eight points, three steals and two assists; forward Kevin English had eight points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals; and forward Jerome Dennis added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Millers started slow as Pocomoke built a 6-0 lead. But the Millers got going and went on to score 12 of the last 14 points of the half to build a 15-11 lead. Nolan had six in that span.
The Millers began the second quarter with an 8-0 run (four by Nolan) to build a 23-11 lead. Pocomoke briefly countered with a short jumper by Roberts, but the Millers ran off the next six points to open a 29-13 lead.
The Millers missed an opportunity to pull even further ahead when they turned the ball over on five of their last six possessions. Meanwhile Pocomoke made six straight free throws to get within 29-19 at the half.
But Milford started the second half with eight straight, including four by Dennis, who was scoreless in the first half, to take control 37-21. The Millers went on to hit 65.2 percent in the second half (15 of 23) compared to 26.9 percent (seven of 26) for Pocomoke.
In the other 1A semifinal, Perryville won on Jeff Brockell's jumper with 3.3 seconds left. Brockell, a 6-6 senior, finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds.