Milford Mill finishes Atholton

Millers overcome 11-point deficit to advance to state final

Milford Mill 57 Atholton 53

Girls basketball Class 2a

High Schools

March 11, 2006|By KATHERINE DUNN | KATHERINE DUNN,SUN REPORTER

At halftime of yesterday's state Class 2A girls basketball semifinal, Milford Mill coach DeToiya McAliley reminded her players that only one Millers team had ever reached the girls basketball final four and not advanced to the championship game.

The Millers, last season's Class 3A champs, responded by overcoming an 11-point deficit early in the third quarter to upset a feisty, young No. 11 Atholton squad, 57-53, at UMBC's RAC Arena. The victory sends the Millers to the state championship for the eighth time in the past nine years.

In the title game today at 1 p.m., the Millers (18-8) will meet Middletown, which won the last of its three titles in 1993.

"I'm relieved," said Millers junior forward Brittne Gowdy, who had 12 points and three steals. "I told my seniors we were not losing. We did not come here to lose and we got it together and we pulled through."

Freshman guard Devonne Richardson polished off a three-point play to give the Millers a 53-52 lead with 1:22 left. After Elie Snyder, who scored 25 for the Raiders, tied it with a free throw, Ariel Blackwell (19 points) hit a short runner with 26 seconds left, putting the Millers up for good.

Early on, the Raiders (21-6) had the better of play, shooting 45.8 percent from the field in the first half, beating the Millers on the boards and back-dooring them on offense. But the Millers, who returned no starters from last year's title team, adjusted in the second half, getting back on defense and playing smarter offense.

It didn't help the Raiders when forward Kayla DesPortes fouled out with 2:29 to go and center Taylor Chapman followed with 1:22 left. The duo combined for 16 rebounds and had all but sealed off the Millers' post game.

"We got into foul trouble and we didn't take care of the basketball when we needed to," said Atholton coach Maureen Shacreaw, whose team was in the final four for the first time since 1982.

With 2:47 left, there was some confusion over the score after the official scorer apparently missed one of two free throws from Milford Mill's Brittany James that would have made the final 58-53. In the end, the discrepancy had no bearing on the outcome.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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