Playing without inside threat Kara Peterkin, eighth-ranked Milford Mill moved its offense almost exclusively to the perimeter in yesterday's Baltimore County championship against No. 15 Catonsville.
It was a move that seemed ill-conceived at times, as the host Millers struggled from the field early. For the final quarter and a half, however, it seemed like pure genius.
Down 11, Milford hit five three-pointers in the final 12 minutes and took the lead for good on Tamaka Rogers' free throw with 45 seconds left in a 59-58 win, giving Pam Wright's team its fourth straight county crown.
"We lived and died by the three," said Wright, whose team was 7-for-27 from three-point range. "We needed it. We didn't have any inside game today. We just had to start hitting."
Led by guards Quante Toney (game-high 24 points), Mandy Clark (17) and Danielle Carter (eight), the Millers (19-3) did just that.
After hitting one of their first 12 shots from beyond the arc, they got consecutive three-pointers from Clark and Carter to cut the lead to five, then tied the game at 48 minutes later on another three by Toney.
"I knew I had three three-point shooters out there," said Wright. "It was just a matter of them taking the shots. I needed offense out of them."
Catonsville (18-4), led by forward Danni Packer (18), built its lead with stifling half-court defense, ball-control offense and 46-percent shooting through the first three quarters.
Once the Millers began hitting their shots, however, the Comets' best efforts went for naught.
"We tried not to get beat inside and [on] rebounding, but when you do that you give up other things," said Catonsville coach Mike Mohler, whose team got the ball back with 10 seconds left but was unable to get off a shot.
"You can't ask for anything more than to have the ball with a chance to win at the end. A shot goes here or a shot goes there and we're in good shape."
Wright's team edged the Comets in overtime earlier this season and also beat them in last year's regional playoffs.
"I don't care if we win by half a point or 30 -- a win is always a sweet win against Catonsville," said Wright.
Pub Date: 2/21/99