Milford Mill overwhelmed, 62-39 Unbeaten Wheaton makes Millers 49th straight victim

Class 3A girls basketball JTC

March 15, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Milford Mill did win a trophy at the state basketball championships last night, but it was not the one they had planned on.

The Mildred Haney Murray Sportsmanship Award ended up being a pleasant consolation surprise for the No. 11 Millers, who ran into the most unstoppable team in the tournament.

Wheaton blitzed the Millers, 62-39, last night in the Class 3A final at UMBC as the Montgomery County team rolled to its 49th straight victory.

"I knew I was the underdog," said Milford coach Pam Wright, "but it's March madness. Something could happen. But we were just outmatched."

The Knights (26-0) dashed the Millers' hopes for their first state title almost immediately, running up a 21-1 lead and cruising to their second straight championship. Last year's Class 2A champs were the only unbeaten team in this year's tournament.

Milford (24-5), which came into the title game playing its best basketball of the season, really didn't stand a chance against the Knights, who were bigger, stronger inside and quicker on the perimeter.

Trailing 47-20 early in the third quarter, the Millers never got closer than within 21 points in the second half.

"There's always a way to defeat a team, but they just got us down early and we're not used to being down," said senior guard Jenna Bradford, whose team had outscored opponents by an average of 27 points.

Bradford scored 16 and had five assists for the Baltimore County champs, who were held to their lowest point total of the season. They came into the state tournament averaging 69.5 points and had been held below 50 only three other times.

Thursday, the Millers played their best game of the season in a 66-48 semifinal victory over Douglass of Prince George's County. They shot 50 percent from the field to beat Douglass, but hit only 21 percent last night.

"It's hard sometimes," said Wright, "because you don't see teams play that well two times in a row, but tonight I can't attribute this to not playing well. It's just that they were the better team."

Knights' guard Lesley Walker, who is headed for Georgetown, gave the Millers the most trouble, scoring 21 points. She drove against the man-to-man and fed teammates Ije Agba (nine points, 16 rebounds) and Amy Lewis (12 points) when marked in the box-and-one.

The Millers also got six spoints and eight rebounds from Chante Alexander. But the 6-foot-2 Alexander had a rough time against the quickness of the 5-11 Agba and her sister 6-0 Keka Agba, who helped the Knights outrebound Milford, 42-32.

Despite the difficult ending to their season, the Millers were smiling on the court and celebrating their sportsmanship award as they received their runner-up plaques.

"One man asked me why didn't we cry," said Bradford. "There was no need to cry, because we played the best season and the only thing we can do is keep our heads up high.

"It was a tough way to lose it, but they were the best team in the tournament and I'm glad we got to play the best team in the tournament."

MILFORD MILL -- Galloway 2, Bradford 16, Mitchell 4, Carter 4, Cheek 1, Alexander 6, Rodgers 6. Totals 14 10-25 39.

WHEATON -- Walker 21, I.Agba 9, K.Agba 5, Gear 2, Lewis 12, Tripoulas 6, Eyer 7. Totals 21 18-25 62. Half: W, 38-16.

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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