A marquee matchup between top-ranked Calvert Hall and No. 6 Milford Mill on Monday night provided the type of early-season test that could serve each team well down the road.
The teams went at each other aggressively from the opening tip, and bodies routinely tumbled around the floor in several mad scrambles for the ball. In the end, the host Millers gave Calvert Hall all it could handle and led in the fourth quarter before losing, 65-56, in front of an overflow crowd.
"It was a great road win in a very tough environment," Calvert Hall coach John Bauersfeld said. Milford Mill "was ready to go. It was an aggressive game. We've been preaching unselfishness."
Facing a double- and sometimes triple-team most of the night, Calvert Hall's Jonathan Graham finished with 23 points after scoring eight in the first half. He also scored 10 consecutive points for the Cardinals (4-0) in a crucial stretch in the third quarter. Damion Lee added 22 for Calvert Hall.
Tevin Hanner led Milford Mill with 14 points.
A thunderous dunk by Lee and back-to-back layups by Matt Bosse ignited a late first-half run, and the Cardinals held their second-biggest lead, 31-26, at the half. Calvert Hall controlled the third quarter, and a jumper by Donya Jackson extended the lead to 49-39 with 1:39 remaining.
The Millers (3-1) fought back and took their first lead of the second half, 51-50, on a layup by Jimmy Hamilton with 4:30 left in the game. The Cardinals regrouped and scored nine consecutive points to end the game.
"It was definitely a good road test for us," Graham said. "It was a very hostile environment. It was a loud environment. It was a good test for us."
C-Graham 23, Lee 22, Jackson 9, Bosse 4, Frizzera 3, Wade 2, Wise 2. Totals: 23 12-21 65
M-Hanner 14, Hamilton 8, Cromier 7, Branch 6, McCray 6, Johnson 6, Miller 3, Goode 2, Jackson 2, Jones 2. Totals: 21 9-16 56
Half: C 31-26