Milford Mill, Clark end on downer

Guard's three-pointers not enough to beat DuVal

Girls 3A state final

March 12, 2000|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Milford Mill's Mandakova Clark tied a record for three-pointers in the state tournament last night, but the senior ended her storied career without the one prize she and the No. 8 Millers wanted most -- a state championship.

DuVal's defense proved too much for the Millers, holding them to just 10 second-half points as the Tigers won their second straight Class 3A crown, 41-33, at UMBC.

Clark, who finished with 15 points, hit eight three-pointers to tie the tournament record for most three-pointers in two games, set by Ty Foster of North Caroline in 1991. She hit five in Thursday's 75-63 semifinal victory over Thomas Stone and added three more last night.

FOR THE RECORD - Milford Mill's Mandakova Clark set a girls state basketball tournament record last week for most three-pointers in two games. It was incorrectly reported in Sunday's editions that she tied the record. Clark hit six three-pointers in Thursday's semifinal win over Thomas Stone and three more in Saturday's title-game loss to DuVal. Nine breaks the mark of eight set in 1991. The Sun regrets the error.

The 5-foot-8 All-Metro guard tied the record during a nine-point run to end the first half. On the most spectacular shot of the night, she banked in a 40-foot buzzer-beater to end the first quarter.

With those kinds of plays, the Millers (21-5) started strong in the rematch of last year's final. They took a 23-16 lead into the half, despite going 0-for-9 from the free-throw line. But that would be their biggest lead. Everything changed in the second half.

"In the second half, we were lax," said Clark, who will play at Rutgers next year. "We didn't come out with intensity and DuVal constantly plays with intensity. That's what we needed to do."

The Tigers (24-4) took charge from the beginning of the half, outscoring the Millers, 10-2, in the first six minutes to take a 26-25 lead. Shari Burgess hit a follow shot to put Milford back up, 27-26, but Vernessa Neamo converted a steal with five seconds left to put the Tigers on top for good.

In the second half, the Millers shot 20 percent from the field, hitting only four field goals.

"When in our history have you known us to score 10 points in two quarters? We scored four in the third quarter," said Millers coach Pam Wright, whose team averaged 71 points coming into the tournament. "We came out [in the second half] trying to guard a lead instead of trying to increase the lead and I knew they were going to come out hungry."

The Tigers put the game away with an eight-point run to open the fourth quarter that boosted their lead to 36-27.

Clark, who led the Millers to their fifth straight Baltimore County championship as well as their third straight appearance in the state final, was philosophical about the loss.

"I'm happy because we played better than we did last year," said Clark, of the 73-38 loss in last year's final. "But I'm not satisfied, because I wanted Ms. Wright to have a championship."

While Clark was the only Miller to score in double figures, Milford also got solid performances from senior forward Kristen Smith, who played a strong defensive game, and sophomore forward Tamina Wilkins, who scored six and had 10 rebounds.

But Clark, who signed autographs for 15 minutes after the game, was the focus of the Millers' offense and the Tigers' defense.

"We were kind of petrified, because we knew what Mandy could do and we didn't play our game in the first half," said DuVal coach Walter Clark [no relation], whose team beat the Millers, 54-50, at the Mayor's Academy Tournament.

"We played outside-in as opposed to inside-out."

DUVAL -- Neamo 14, Clark 9, Nwagbo 11, Jefferson 4, Graves 2, Strong 2. Totals: 17 7-16 41.

MILFORD MILL -- Smith 2, Clark 15, Burgess 4, Wilkins 6, Rogers 2, Cheetum 4. Totals: 14 2-11 33. Half: M 23-16

Girls basketball

State finals (At UMBC)

Yesterday's games

Class 4A

Arundel 61, Oxon Hill 55

Class 3A

DuVal 41, Milford Mill 33

Class 2A

Dunbar 53, Linganore 36

Class 1A

Allegany 45, Glenelg 36

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