Milford Mill began last night's game with Seton Keough by missing its first 10 shots. The Millers concluded it with 18 straight misses, thanks to a relentless Gators defense that didn't let up from the first moment until the last.
No. 3-ranked Seton Keough hounded No. 9 Milford Mill everywhere throughout the game, holding the Millers scoreless in the fourth quarter and limiting them to nine baskets overall in a surprisingly easy, 49-24 victory in the semifinals of the Poly Women's Basketball Invitational Tournament.
The Gators will meet Mervo in tonight's 8 o'clock championship game at Poly. Mervo had little trouble in its semifinal, routing the host Engineers, 73-41.
Seton Keough (8-2) played a tough man-to-man defense, often picking up the Millers right as they came over half-court and giving them little room to do anything. Milford Mill went scoreless for the final 10: 15 and hit nine of 50 shots from the field.
"I tell them if you play great defense, you'll be in every game," said Seton Keough coach Jim Stromberg. "They played great defense tonight."
The Gators also shut down the Millers' running game, and Milford Mill had just a handful of fast breaks. Stromberg said the Gators were determined not to let the Millers turn the game into a track meet.
"Defense was our goal tonight," said Seton Keough forward Sarah Walsh, who worked with Laura Stromberg to limit Milford Mill scoring threat Chante Alexander to two points. "It was the key."
Seton Keough, led by Denise King's 14 points and helped by seven others scoring, controlled the tempo throughout. The Gators also helped their cause by knocking down several outside shots to neutralize Milford Mill's zone defense while also running a strong half-court offense.
Walsh pitched in with eight points, Itxaso Mallaviabarrena added seven and Genevieve Olds and Jackie Valderas each scored six.
Still, Milford Mill (4-2) made some runs. Seton Keough scored the game's first seven points, as it took the Millers 4: 34 to score. Kristen Smith hit two jumpers, and Alexander got her only basket to make it 16-11. But Olds made a long jumper from the right corner and followed that with one from the left corner to spark a 12-3 run for a 28-14 Seton Keough halftime lead.
Quante Toney hit back-to-back three pointers late in the third quarter for Milford Mill, the second coming with 2: 15 left to make it 34-24. But those were the Millers' final points. Milford Mill also hurt itself by showing little patience on offense throughout the game.
"We had some good shots," said Milford Mill coach Pam Wright. "We were definitely impatient, shooting too soon."
Mervo (4-3) had too much for Poly (2-5) in the other semifinal. Tobie Ashley led the Mustangs with 21 points, and Shalynn Harrison and Shapre Proctor added 19 apiece.
Ravin Chase led Poly with 17 points.
Pub Date: 12/30/98