To hold off upset-minded Milford Mill, No. 9 Catonsville had just one game plan -- keep the Millers running.
That strategy worked as the No. 9 Comets overwhelmed the previously unbeaten Millers, 66-36, last night in a Baltimore County non-league game.
"We hope that we're in better shape," said Comets coach Mike Mohler. "I told them to keep running, keep running, keep running as long as we get the ball. Then when we got up, we went to a zone. One reason we did that was that I felt we'd be able to jump out if we could get the rebounds."
They did and the Comets (5-0) used them to break the game open early in the second half.
Shannon Rexrode and Nicole Deponai controlled the boards, allowing Milford Mill just one offensive rebound in the first six minutes of the half. At the other end, Rexrode scored nine straight points, mostly on layups, to boost the Comets' lead to 46-26.
By then, the Millers (4-1) were too tired to make any kind of dent in the Comets' lead.
"We ran out of gas," said Millers coach Pam Wright. "We're not in shape. We haven't been up against a team we have to run against for 40 minutes, coast-to-coast. I don't have the bench to run out of gas."
Milford also found it impossible to stop 6-0 forward Rexrode, who finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. She and Deponai (12 points) turned the inside game into a mismatch, holding the Millers' 6-0 duo of Crystal Dent and Chante Alexander to just seven between them. But they weren't the only Millers who had trouble shooting.
Milford Mill hit just 19 percent of its shots from the floor. In the second half, that dropped to 12 percent and just 13 points -- nine by Akilah Crowner, who finished with 19.
"Our shooting was horrible," said Wright, "and it's not that we don't have girls who can shoot. We had some good shots, but we can't hit them."
Early on, the Millers managed to stay close, but they ran into foul trouble and point guard Jenna Bradford picked up her third foul less than five minutes into the game.
Alexander and Dent got into trouble, too, and later fouled out with more than 7:30 left in the game. It didn't help the Millers either to have reserve Dyanna Mitchell sidelined with a sprained ankle.
With so many players in foul trouble, Wright switched to a zone in the second quarter, but the Comets got a few easy baskets and started to break away.
Rexrode sparked a seven-point run with five points and an assist to boost the Comets' lead to 27-16 midway through the quarter. Kelly Fetter found Rexrode wide open for a 16-footer to cap the run.
Bradford helped the Millers pull back within 29-23 with an assist and three points in a 7-2 run, but Comets guard Jaime Funk ended the quarter with back-to- back buckets to boost the lead back to 10 at the half.