Millers survive Wheaton, by 64-56 Milford Mill earns way to title game, repelling opponent's late rally

Class 2A/Boys basketball

March 15, 1997|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK -- Looking tired at moments in the final quarter, No. 11 Milford Mill was able to gain second wind and post a 64-56 victory over Wheaton of Montgomery County in a Class 2A state semifinal game last night at Cole Field House.

The Millers (20-5) will play Surrattsville of Prince George's County for the state championship at 6 tonight. Surrattsville, ranked No. 12 in the Washington, D.C., area defeated City in the other semifinal contest.

Leading by as many as 11 points in the second half, Milford Mill was in danger of blowing the game, leading by only 57-54 with 2: 26 remaining, but Anthony Jenkins knocked down three clutch free throws as the Millers scored their final seven points from the foul line.

"We've been like that all year -- make a run, then go sour; make a run, then go flat; we'll steal three in a row, then give three away -- but in the end, when we really needed to, we came through," said Milford Mill coach Ed Smith, who played on Towson High's state championship team in 1963.

James Cowans led the Millers with 20 points, Joel Lucas added 10 points and five rebounds, and Arthur Lewis had 11 points and five rebounds. Wheaton (16-10) was led by Erik Pettie, who scored 18 and had 12 rebounds. Eric Robinson added 12 points and Ralph Sejour had 11 points and nine rebounds for Wheaton.

The Millers held a 49-48 advantage with 6: 13 remaining, but an 8-2 run, including two baskets by Jenkins and one from Arthur Lewis, put Milford Mill in front, 57-50 with 3: 13 to play.

But Milford Mill was showing weariness, as a layup and two free throws from Erik Pettie of Wheaton brought his team to within 57-54. Jenkins was fouled on a shot attempt with 1: 51 remaining and converted both free throws as Milford Mill extended the lead to 59-54.

Jenkins grabbed a miss by Pettie and was fouled. The 6-foot-5 senior forward hit one of two free throws for a 60-54 lead with 1: 35 remaining.

Milford Mill had opened the second half with a 10-1 run turning a 35-33 halftime lead into a 45-34 cushion with 2: 55 remaining in the third quarter. But the Millers then went cold, not scoring for the remainder of the quarter. Wheaton took advantage behind Pettie, who scored eight of his team's last nine points, putting the Knights within 45-43 after three quarters.

The Millers, who defeated Aberdeen, last year's Class 2A state finalists last Friday, last reached Cole Field House in 1995, where they lost to Forestville of Prince George's County in the Class 1A title game.

Within the first two minutes, it looked Milford Mill would be in for a short stay, falling behind 9-0, before the Millers' 7-0 run put them right back into it.

Cowans, who scored 11 points in the first quarter, gave the Millers their first lead at 13-11 on a three-pointer with 2: 04 remaining in the first period. Anton Word followed with another three-pointer, giving Milford Mill its largest lead at 16-11.

The Knights pulled even at 24 with 4: 32 remining in the second quarter on a rebound and basket by Ralph Sejour, but Cowans responded with his second three- pointer of the first half.

Eric Robinson regained the lead for Wheaton at 30-29 with two free throws, before the Millers took it back at 33-31 using two free throws from Diron Watkins.

After Duriel Hardrick tied the game at 33 for Wheaton with two free throws, Lewis hit a jumper with six seconds remaining as Milford Mill led 35-33 at halftime.

MILFORD MILL -- Lewis 11, Word 7, Cowans 20, Jenkins 8, Lucas 10, Smith 6, Watkins 2. Totals: 25 11-23 64.

WHEATON -- Sejour 11, Robinson 12, Hardrick 9, Pettie 18, RTC Griffin 6. Totals 18 18- 26 56. Half: Milford Mill 35-33.

Pub Date: 3/15/97

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