Looks can be deceiving. Just ask Milford Mill.
The host Millers built a big first-half lead, then survived a furious comeback to win the Baltimore County boys basketball championship, 53-47, over Lansdowne last night.
Tevin Hanner led the Millers (20-3) with 15 points, while Lansdowne's Brent Arrington paced all scorers with 19. All but two of Arrington's points came in the second half.
Early on, it looked as if Milford Mill would cruise to its first county title since 1998. The Millers had little trouble with Lansdowne's defense while building a 17-6 lead after one quarter. The Millers scored eight of the first 10 points in the second quarter to extend the lead to 25-8 with 5:47 left in the half. The Vikings played better late in the half but trailed 33-15 at the break.
The second half looked like a different game. Lansdowne (16-5) threw an array of defenses at the Millers and held them to five points in the third quarter. The Vikings' offense, behind Arrington's eight points, scored 19 in the quarter to cut the deficit to 38-34 after three.
Lansdowne continued to chip away at the lead, tying the score at 41 with 3:55 left when Arrington made a layup and was fouled.
Then the Vikings ran out of gas. The Millers regained the lead for good on a layup by Isaiah McCray with 3:39 left, then added to it when Hanner was fouled and completed a three-point play to give Milford Mill a 46-41 lead. The Vikings managed to cut the lead to 47-45 on a jumper by Arrington with 1:44 left but got no closer.
"Once we settled down and were patient and played our style, things started to fall into place," McCray said.