Eager to finally get its season started, No. 5 Milford Mill relied on a deep bench and strong rebounding to pull away for an 80-71 victory at No. 14 Calvert Hall on Tuesday night.
"That's our formula," Milford Mill coach Al Holley said. "We play a lot of kids and try to prepare everybody in practice, so when game time comes, whoever comes in is ready to play, and it has worked for us. I think we kind of wore them down."
Calvert Hall (2-3) led 48-43 midway through the third quarter after a 3-pointer by Sean Mayberry, but the Millers went on a 10-0 run that started with a basket by Kyle Thomas.
Juwuan Wilson converted a 3-point play, followed by Chase Cormier's putback.
A steal and layup from Tyson Smith and free throw by Bruce Watkins pushed the lead to 53-48.
A jumper by Calvert Hall's Wesley Blackwell ended the run, but the Cardinals trailed 53-50 at the end of the quarter.
Foul trouble negated a comeback for the Cardinals in the final eight minutes, and Milford Mill cemented the victory by replacing the five players who started the fourth quarter with its five starters.
They entered with 7:13 left and the Millers leading 53-51 and outscored the Cardinals 27-20 the rest of the way.
Thomas (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Isaiah Miles (10 points, 13 rebounds) dominated in the paint while Watkins (13 points, three steals) and Smith (10 points, five rebounds, two steals) created havoc in the backcourt.
"I thought Watkins' energy really carried us for a little stretch of the game," said Holley, whose two-time defending state champions were eager to get the season started.
"We've been watching [others] play and we wanted it to be our turn, so we were happy to get out of here with a win," Holley said. "They were a tough, tough team tonight."
Calvert Hall was led by Justin Beck, who scored seven of his game-high 22 points from the foul line and added 11 rebounds.
Denzel Richardson added 16 points and nine rebounds.