After their 61-44 victory over Henrico (Va.) at the third annual Mayor's Basketball Academy at the Coppin Center last night, players and coaches of the Milford Mill's girls squad said they were disappointed with their performance.
But those who braved slick road conditions to witness the first of the three-day event had to be impressed.
With a dazzling second-half run, the No. 8-ranked Millers (7-2) took over a close battle with the Richmond area's No. 4 team.
Mandy Clark scored 27 points to lead Milford Mill, and Chante Alexander added 21. Keithia Crawley and Natasha Starkes led Henrico (8-3) with 14 points each.
Clark, a 5-foot-8 junior guard, was electrifying in the second half, scoring 18 of her game-high 27 points. The transfer from Woodlawn left the crowd breathless with her smooth moves to the basket and perimeter shooting.
"We were kind of lackadaisical in the first half, but it all came around in the second half," said Clark. "We heard that they were one of the top teams in their area. I knew that we could do it, because we're not a bad team and can compete with anybody."
Milford Mill went on a 12-0 third-quarter run, igniting a 34-13 surge as its transition game was too much for Henrico.
Clark pulled Milford Mill even at 31 with a basket. Then Alexander drilled a 10-foot jumper. After a Henrico turnover, Clark buried a three-pointer before being fouled cutting down the lane for a feed from Alexander for a basket.
Leading 41-36, the Millers scored 13 of the first 15 points in the fourth period to put the game out of reach. Alexander and Clark had nine of the 13.
"We didn't play a good game," said Millers coach Pam Wright.
No. 18 Dunbar 62, Newport Prep 59: The Poets girls continued their surprising run, overcoming an 11 point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat their opponent from Kensington.
Junior center Lakeisha Wills scored a game-high 26 points, 15 coming in the decisive final period as the No. 18 Poets outscored Newport, ranked No. 15 in the Washington area, 24-10.
"This is probably the biggest win since I've been here," said Dunbar's third-year coach, Wardell Selby, whose team improved to 9-1. "This was a challenge for us, and for us to get better, we had to perform against quality competition."
The Poets' quickness was able to overcome Newport Prep's size, especially in the final quarter, when Dunbar switched to a man-to-man defense. Then Dunbar's Wills, a 5-foot-10 junior center, assumed control of the game, playing against 6-9 Suzy Bendegue, who's heading to Georgetown.
"She turned it out," said Newport Prep coach Quentin Hillsman, whose team fell to 14-4. "She controlled the boards, giving them two and three shots at the basket, then limited us to one on our end."
No. 7 Western 64, St. Johns at Prospect Hall 16: Delena DeShields scored 14 points to lead the Doves (8-3) over the 1-13 visitors from Frederick.
No. 18 Randallstown 77, Forest Park 69 OT: The Rams (8-2) needed overtime before turning away the defending Class 1A state champs (2-8).
No. 19 Milford Mill 68, Patterson 36: There were no problems for the Millers (10-1), who scored 20 of the game's first 24 points against the Clippers, who lost for the 10th time in 11 tries.
Pub Date: 1/15/99