Easton tops Milford Mill in semis Gibson's 39 lead 64-55 Warriors win Girls Class 1A

March 13, 1993|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

Before the game, some were saying that Easton junior Kelley Gibson was the best girls basketball player they had ever seen.

After the game, Milford Mill coach Pam Wright agreed.

Gibson scored 39 points on 15-for-22 shooting from the field to lead Talbot County's Easton (21-2) to a 64-55 victory over the 19th-ranked Millers (19-6) in a Class 1A state semifinal at UMBC.

The Warriors -- who along with Milford Mill were making their first state semifinal appearance -- will meet Williamsport in the championship game to be played either tonight at 6 or Tuesday at 7, depending on the weather. Williamsport beat Fallston in last night's other girls 1A semifinal, 41-39.

"We couldn't stop her. I don't think anyone can stop her," Wright said of Gibson. "I heard she was a big girl that played like a guard, but I didn't think she would be that good. But she is the best that I've seen."

Gibson, a 5-foot-11 center who can score inside or from long range -- she had four three-pointers -- set the tone from the outset.

She made two of her first three shots to help Easton take an 8-4 lead, but she then was called for her third foul just three minutes into the game.

Easton coach Tom Callahan sent Gibson to the bench, but he gambled and brought her back into the game only two minutes later.

Upon her return, she immediately hit two three-pointers. Gibson, who has scored more than 1,500 career points, also made her next two attempts to finish the first half with 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field.

"I didn't want to keep her on the bench long because I didn't want her to get cold," Callahan said. "I can't say I wanted her to get those fouls that early, but it paid off for us in the long run. It allowed me to put her outside and let her take the three-point shot, and it produced a lot of points for us."

After helping the Warriors build a 33-15 lead with 4:31 remaining in the second quarter, Gibson sat out the rest of the first half.

That allowed the Millers to get back into the game. Milford Mill closed the half on an 8-1 run to pull within 34-23 at halftime.

At the start of the second half, Milford Mill picked up where it left off. Senior forward Yolanda Matthews (24 points, eight rebounds, eight steals) and senior center Ebonie Richardson (20 points, 19 rebounds) each scored six in a 14-7 run that cut the Millers' deficit to 41-37 with 2:01 remaining in the third quarter.

Richardson dominated inside in the second half, scoring 12 points and pulling down 14 rebounds.

Then Gibson took control.

She scored 12 of the Warriors' next 14 points to extend their lead to 55-43 with 4:19 left in the game.

Matthews' basket with 1:57 remaining brought the Millers within 57-50, but they would get no closer.

Despite the loss, Wright said she was impressed by her team's resiliency.

"I thought they showed good poise, especially for the first time playing in the state tournament on the big court," said Wright, in her first season at Milford Mill. "We weren't embarrassed at all. I was proud."

Junior guard Tamara Coursey added 15 points for Easton.

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