Milford Mill boys rout Friendly, 58-37, to return to 3A state final

Balance on both sides of court again sparks No. 3 Millers, who will face Centennial on Saturday at 3 p.m.

  • Milford Mill's Nick Smoot leaps in front of a pair of Friendly defenders to get a pass off under the basket.
Milford Mill's Nick Smoot leaps in front of a pair of Friendly… (Gene Sweeney Jr. / Baltimore…)
March 10, 2011|By Glenn Graham, The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK ¿ — When it comes to playing quality team basketball, the Milford Mill boys do it as well as anybody else in the area.

It was once again evident in the No. 3 Millers' Class 3A state semifinal game Thursday against Friendly.

On defense, they contested every shot, took charges and rebounded persistently. On offense, they made the extra pass, hit free throws and got fine production from their bench.

In impressively handling the Patriots from Prince George's County, 58-37, at the University of Maryland's Comcast Center, the defending state champions continued to follow their season-long plan — putting themselves in position for a second consecutive title.

The Millers (24-2) will get their chance when they return to Comcast Center on Saturday to face Centennial, a 56-54 winner over South Hagerstown in Thursday's other 3A semifinal. Game time is set for 3 p.m.

"The entire team, we've stuck together the whole season. We stayed committed to what [coach Albert Holley] wanted us to do," said senior captain and point guard Isaiah McCray. "We stuck together as a team, stuck together as a unit and it's not over yet. We still have a journey to finish on Saturday — state championship at 3 o'clock and we hope to walk out of there as state champions again."

To get there against Friendly, Holley wanted his Millers to defend relentlessly and — with last year's experience at Comcast making them instantly comfortable at the offensive end — they took a 29-15 lead at the half and never looked back.

Senior guard Nick Smoot scored seven of his 10 points in the first quarter. With McCray picking up his second foul midway through the first quarter, junior Chase Cormier (10 points) filled in and promptly got to the free-throw line twice to make four foul shots. The Patriots, who were riding a 21-game winning streak and averaging 67 points, shot 25 percent from the field and just 18 percent in the decisive first half.

Senior forward Tevin Hanner scored a team-high 12 points and added 12 rebounds for the Millers, who got points from 10 players.

"I think it's a reward when you preach about doing things the right way and success will come," Holley said. "And then it all comes to fruition, and it becomes a good lesson. It allows us to keep moving because the young men behind these young men buy into the fact that if we work hard, there's a prize at the end."

Said Friendly coach Rob Garner, whose Patriots finished with a 23-4 mark: "We were playing the defending state champs, and you could see that on the floor.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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