Milford Mill played sloppy basketball throughout the first three quarters against Patterson Mill on Friday. The Millers made too many turnovers and mistakes that let the Huskies stay close.
Sophomore guard Dionna White helped change things in the fourth quarter. She scored seven of her 18 points in a crucial stretch during the final two quarters as No. 9 Milford Mill (13-2) took command en route to a 55-41 victory over No. 15 Patterson Mill (10-5) in the 17th annual Basketball Academy at Morgan State's Hill Field House.
The Millers finished with 20 turnovers in the game, 16 in the first three quarters. Those mistakes helped the Huskies remain in the game before Milford Mill pulled away in the fourth quarter.
"It was too close," White said. "So we had to get our energy up and finish it. We turned it in the fourth quarter."
Milford Mill clearly showed more speed than Patterson Mill, but the Harford County school kept battling.
The game was tied at 22 at halftime, and the Huskies trailed by just five points in the final minutes of the third quarter when the Millers began to change things.
White made a running jumper at the buzzer to give Milford Mill a 36-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter. She then hit a shot 13 seconds into the final period, and the Millers made a quick steal off their full-court pressure that set up a 3-pointer from White 12 seconds later. That was part of a 13-4 run that gave Milford Mill a 49-33 lead with 4:14 left.
"That was what we should have looked like in the first quarter," Milford Mill coach DeToiya McAliley said. "The [fourth quarter] is when we started metabolizing our food."
Junior guard Qierra Murray (11 points) was the only other Milford Mill player to score in double figures, and junior guard Kelli Smoot scored all six of her points in the fourth quarter.
Defense was another key factor for the Millers as they disrupted the Patterson Mill offense with presses and traps throughout the game, forcing 34 turnovers.
Patterson Mill made some good shots in the first half, but Milford Mill limited the Huskies to just five baskets from the floor after the break.
Injuries and illness affected the Huskies in the loss. They were missing senior forward Morgan Golec, their leading scorer who didn't dress because of a fever, and had to battle through injuries to junior Stephanie Ehly (shoulder), and sophomores Samantha Herman (ankle) and Qalea Ismail (ankle) during the game.
Ismail led Patterson Mill with 18 points, but she missed almost half of the third quarter after hurting her ankle. Herman didn't come back after her injury, while Ehly did return.
"We're really just dealing with a lot of adversity right now," Patterson Mill coach Holly Ismail said.
17th Annual Basketball Academy
(at Morgan State)
Milford Mill 55, Patterson Mill 41
M-Murray 11, Smoot 6, White 18, McKenzie 7, Veney 2, Hutchinson 2, Lewis 9. Totals: 19 14-18 55.
P-Ehly 2, Wilson 13, Herman 6, Moro 2, Ismail 18. Totals: 15 11-22 41. Half: 22-22.