When Milford Mill and Woodlawn get together for boys basketball, the intensity is always cranked up, especially in the fourth quarter.
On Wednesday, the host Millers were ready for it.
Four times in the final quarter, the Warriors cut the home team’s lead to three points and the Millers always had some kind of positive response.
Whether it was a 3-pointer from Ugo Obasi, a baseline jumper from Ahmed Milton or two clutch free throws from Jeremiah Simmons in the final seconds, No. 14 Milford Mill protected the advantage to claim a 65-60 win over No. 9 Woodlawn.
Senior Jordan Goodwin also played big in the fourth quarter, scoring nine of his game-high 20 points to lead the way. Jermaine Goodwyn added 13 and Obasi had 12 as the Millers closed out their 2017 portion of the schedule with a 4-0 record. The Warriors, who got 17 points from Mark Brinkley, fell to 3-1.
“It’s Milford-Woodawn and it’s going to be intense, going to be tight. I don’t care what talent they have and what talent we got, it’s always going to be a hard-fought game,” Milford Mill coach Ryan Smith said. “We just executed, took our time. We got seniors on the floor — we’re not going to panic because we’ve been here before.”
After a slow start from the Millers — they didn’t score until the 3:35 mark of the first quarter and fell behind 14-8 — they went on a 10-0 run in the second quarter to take a 24-17 advantage behind two 3s from Obasi.
The home team led by as many as 11 in the third quarter and then took a 47-39 advantage into the fourth quarter. The Warriors got stops on defense and turned to Brinkley for offense to get close. His jumper with 6:38 to play cut the deficit to 49-46. A severe cramp in his right calf forced him to the bench with 6:15 to play.
It was not the only time the Millers would have a big response in the quarter. Senior point guard Ahmed Milton, the smallest player on the court, secured an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Obasi, who hit his fourth and final 3 to temporarily restore order for the home team.
With 2:25 to play, Milton again secured a rebound and this time put back a short jumper for a 59-54 lead.
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Goodwin made two free throws with 1:27 to play and Simmons iced the win with two more with 20 seconds left for the final 65-60 margin.
Woodlawn coach Bobby Richardson said Obasi’s 3-pointer set the fourth-quarter tone.
“Ugo’s shot a game-breaking bomb — that was a huge shot,” he said. “We traded a lot of 3s for 2s and turned the ball over a little too much — that was the difference. It’s a great rivalry and I told my kids we just got to go back to the workshop tomorrow.”