COLLEGE PARK -- Twelfth-ranked Milford Mill could not stand the pressure -- full court, that is.
Forestville forced 22 turnovers with its full-court pressure, and the Knights were able to withstand a 37-point performance from Milford Mill's Blanchard Hurd to defeat the Millers, 67-63, in the Class 1A state title game yesterday at Cole Field House.
Forestville (18-7) went to a full-court press early in the second quarter. The Millers had led by as many as seven points and were controlling play.
"We had to step it up," said Forestville coach Irvin Hay. "We've been very successful with our press."
And that success continued. The Knights put on the press when trailing, 23-17, and promptly forced six turnovers on seven Milford Mill possessions. But Hurd kept Milford Mill (22-4) in the game. He made 11 of 14 from the field and scored 24 points in the first half -- 15 in the first quarter.
"I was excited for this game," said Hurd, who also had nine rebounds. "I was hot."
But the second half proved a different story. Forestville kept up the pressure, Milford Mill kept having trouble with it, and, at the same time, stopped feeding the ball inside to Hurd.
The Millers turned the ball over six more times in the third quarter and made only four of 13 from the field, and Forestville took a 53-46 lead after three.
The Knights also took advantage of strong rebounding -- especially on the offensive end. Forestville pulled down 26 rebounds there, and many of those went to Joe Lofton.
The 6-foot-8 center led Forestville with 30 points and 16 rebounds. Eleven of those were offensive.
Forestville only out-rebounded Milford Mill 45-42, but the Knights often converted second and third chances. Daryl Banks (13 points, eight rebounds) and Demetrius Jefferson (11 points, seven rebounds) also helped inside.
Still, the Millers stayed in it until the end. Keon Sellman (12 points, 13 rebounds), Brian Whorley (eight points, eight rebounds) and Hurd made several clutch shots for the Millers.
The Millers went nearly four minutes without a point in the fourth quarter, but the Knights missed several foul shots to keep it close.
A hook from Hurd and a three-pointer from Brian Whorley (eight points) cut the lead to 60-58 with 1:24 remaining.
Hurd fouled out with 1:14 left before A. J. Herbert hit both ends of a one-and-one for Milford Mill to slice the lead to 63-62 with 31 seconds left. Anthony Butler answered with two free throws for the Knights with 22 seconds left.
But Milford Mill turned the ball over one final time on its next possession, and Forestville came away with its first state title in three years.
Milford Mill coach Homer Seidel, whose teams have won three state titles and five region championships in the last eight years, said the Millers should be proud.
"I have no regrets," said Seidel. "The kids played hard. If you can't be No. 1, then No. 2 isn't half-bad."