Teamwork helps Milford Mill advance, 82-72 1A NORTH BOYS

March 04, 1995|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

Milford Mill coach Homer Seidel spent much of this season trying to make his team play like one.

One-on-one basketball often proved the rule rather than the exception. No. 18 Milford Mill many times made one pass -- or fewer -- and shot the ball. The teamwork message did not get through.

Until last night.

Top-seeded Milford Mill got help from several places to overcome foul trouble and used strong performances from Blanchard Hurd, Carlos Pearson and Keon Sellman to defeat visiting and second-seeded North East-Cecil, 82-72, in the Class 1A North Region championship.

Milford Mill, the defending state champs, advances to the state semifinal on Friday at 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. at Cole Field House. This was Milford Mill's second straight region title and fifth in the last eight years.

The Millers (21-3) turned in their best overall effort of the season. They made clutch shots and played together on offense as well as defense.

"We all came together," said Pearson. "We knew it was going to be tough. Everyone gave 110 percent. Everyone did their share."

And Hurd (32 points, 15 rebounds) helped once more, especially late. The 6-foot-7 senior picked up his fourth foul late in the third quarter but still scored eight key fourth-quarter points -- including six in a row that helped the Millers open a nine-point lead.

Sellman (21 points, eight rebounds) and Pearson (19 points) also sparked Milford Mill in the final quarter. The Millers led 61-56 after three, but slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Sellman made some clutch put-backs early in the quarter, and Pearson later used his quickness to force three turnovers in 90 seconds that let Milford Mill score seven of nine for a 76-67 lead with 2:33 left.

The Millers limited North East (17-5) to only one basket and seven points in the final five minutes.

"That's super defense," said Seidel. "I told them that the defense tonight was the name of the game."

Said North East coach Steve Burke: "We were tired. We made some dumb mistakes, and Milford Mill [capitalized]."

Seidel wanted to stop Rick DiPietro, who scored 40 against Sparrows Point in the region semifinals. The Millers' matchup zone made him work for his 21 points.

The Millers themselves had to work because of foul trouble. In addition to Hurd's problems, Sellman got three in the first quarter -- while scoring 11 points -- and sat out until early in the third quarter.

Seidel had to go to his bench early and often, and got strong efforts from Anthony Jenkins, Kenny Brookins, Tavon Wimbish and others. They helped Milford Mill stay in front the entire game.

Milford Mill opened a 26-12 lead after one, but with Sellman out, North East cut it to 40-39 at halftime.

Pearson then sparked Milford Mill in the second half with his speed, free-throw shooting and 15 of his points.

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