Millers lose composure, game to Raiders, 59-49 Girls basketball

January 23, 1993|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

In 11 years as head coach at Milford Mill, Ken Witts took his girls basketball team to the state playoffs 11 times.

Yesterday, in his first trip back to the school since becoming the assistant coach at Loch Raven, Witts again made his presence felt.

Only this time, it was to the Millers' detriment.

The Millers committed 24 first-half turnovers, digging themselves hole from which they never recovered in a 59-49 loss to the 11th-ranked Raiders in a Baltimore County 2A-1A League game.

After taking an early 8-6 lead, Milford began to succumb to Loch Raven's swarming man-to-man defense, committing five straight turnovers as the Raiders went on a 14-0 run to end the quarter.

"We just went out and played solid man to man," said Loch Raven coach Diane George. "I think our quickness caught Milford off guard."

But Milford Mill coach Pamela Wright had other ideas about her team's slow start.

"They were psyched out because it was Loch Raven and it was their old coach," Wright said. "They weren't playing. I don't think [Witts' presence] was a big factor [in strategy], but it may have been a psychological factor for the girls."

The Millers lost their composure, making numerous ill-advised passes and shots. Behind Michele DeJuliis' 15 points in the first half, Loch Raven had a 37-19 lead at halftime.

DeJuliis, who scored 22 points to lead the Raiders, said a tight defense more than anything else shut down the Millers attack.

The lone bright spot for Milford Mill came at the end of the third quarter, when center Ebonie Richardson (20 rebounds) was honored for breaking Brenda Mellerson's school rebounding record.

Richardson said her team wasn't mentally prepared to face its old coach.

"We were nervous because we knew our other coach was at Loch Raven," said Richardson. "I think it made a difference somewhat -- just knowing us, coaching us and knowing what our personality was like."

Witts said he had mixed emotions about returning to Milford Mill.

"I was hoping we'd win," he said, "but I'm also hoping that Milford does well."

Loch Raven improved to 10-0, including 7-0 in league play. The Millers (8-3, 6-2) entered the game trailing Loch Raven by half a game in the league standings.

Witts said that made beating his old team even a bigger priority.

"I was pretty nervous today," said Witts. "I knew what my team could do, and I knew what Milford could do. It was just a matter of who did it better."

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