Milford Mill and Woodlawn, separated by a couple of miles, have been regarded as the heavyweights in Baltimore County girls basketball for the past several seasons. So, most expected another spirited showdown between the schools yesterday at Woodlawn.
The defending county champion and fifth-ranked Warriors instead turned the rematch of last year's county title game into a knockout with a 58-39 drubbing that kept them unbeaten in the Class 4A-3A division.
Forward Ronda Shelley came off the bench to score 12 points for Woodlawn (15-3, 4-0), and guard Brittney Taylor added six points, eight assists, seven steals and three rebounds.
Shawna Scott had 14 points to lead No. 6 Milford Mill (14-3, 3-1), which plays No. 19 Catonsville - also unbeaten in the league - tomorrow. The 3A state runner-up the past six seasons, Milford Mill might not return to the county final.
"I would've never thought they would've beat us by 19 points," said Milford Mill coach Pam Wright. "I didn't know which way it was going to go, but I would've never thought in my wildest dreams that we lose this game by 19 points."
Woodlawn coach DeWayne Burroughs said the outcome didn't surprise him as much as his team limiting mistakes.
"When we take care of the ball and do what we supposed to defensively and offensively, we should win by 20 points," Burroughs said. "That's what we concentrated on this week. Fortunately, it worked for us today. Once we take care of the ball and don't have 30 turnovers, it makes it an easy game for us."
The Warriors were efficient in their transition game, rebounding and frontline scoring; their only blemish was 2-for-9 free-throw shooting. The 4A state runner-up last year believes it's ready to take the next step.
"Those three losses [this season] have made us realize we got to play like every game is the championship," said Taylor, whose team is seeking a third straight state semifinal berth. "Each loss has strengthened us as a team and individually."
Woodlawn jumped to a 19-8 lead sparked by Tiara Wildy - all eight of her points came in the first quarter - and expanded the advantage to 15 points by halftime. Its biggest lead was 29.
The Millers closed to 34-26 in the third after Chelsea Jeter scored off her offensive rebound. But they regressed, turning the ball over on five straight possessions that resulted in 10 Warrior points. Woodlawn finished the quarter on a 14-0 run.
"Woodlawn outplayed us and they were the better team," Wright said "We played timid like we were afraid. They didn't do anything spectacular. Everything they did we were prepared for, but we didn't show up."