When Milford Mill coach DeToiya McAliley saw last week’s Class 3A North Region draw, she was happy to see that her undefeated Millers earned a No. 2 seed in the playoffs.

However, she was a little less excited when she found out who her team’s first round opponent would be – 17th ranked City College.

“At the draw I said, ‘Okay, we’ve got a two-seed. That’s great, but who are we going to wind up with?’” McAliley said. “They said City College and I said ‘Wow.’ That’s a great present for [us] having such a great record. I said, ‘Okay, that’s over. It’s done and we can’t change it. Now we have to get ready to play.’”

As expected, the visiting Knights gave Milford Mill all it could handle in the opening round contest. Thanks to 3-pointer by senior guard Sierra Naylor with 54 seconds left, The No. 11 Millers were able to claim a 48-45 victory on Friday night.

“It was a close game and I knew it was crunch-time,” Naylor said. “It was wide open. I saw Dionna [White] on the other side and I had to take the three for the team. I knew what I had to do, so I did it.”

Freshman guard Dionna White led Milford Mill (23-0) with 13 points but her biggest contribution may have come in the fourth quarter, where she grabbed six rebounds, added two assists and a bucket.

Kri’Shea Thompson and Akiri Lewis each finished with eight points for the Millers, while Naylor added six.

Sophomore guard Dyzhaney Burton finished with a game-high 17 points for the Knights (17-7), which led by as many as seven points in the first half and held a 27-22 halftime lead.

Sensing that City was not going to make it easy on them, the Millers came out of the break with a renewed focus on defense.

“We had to mix it up. We got a little stagnant on our presses,” McAliley said. “We’re a pressing team, so we had to change up and show different looks. We did pretty good in the 2-2-1, we came back with mosquito, then we went to another press. I think the diversity in the presses sparked our girls defensively and offensively, as well.”

Milford Mill’s variety of pressure forced the Knights into seven third quarter turnovers. During one stretch midway through the period, the Millers had a steal on five straight possessions and turned them into a 10-0 run.

White and Monique McDonald each had two layups during the spurt and Lewis added two free throws to give Milford Mill a 33-28 lead.

Dada BurtonThe teams traded baskets early in the fourth quarter as neither team could pull away.

Trailing 43-41 with just under three minutes remaining, City made its move.

Koraan Sydnor (eight points) got behind the full court press and fed Trana Ford (eight points) for a layup to tie the game. On the next possession, Burton was fouled during a drive to the basket and sank both free throws to give the Knights the lead, 45-43 with 2:11 remaining.

But the lead was short-lived for City.

Naylor responded with a spot-up 3 that rolled around the rim before falling with 54 seconds left. As the Knights were trying to foul to stop the clock, White got lost in the shuffle and was open for a layup to close the door on the upset.

“It was a great game; what can you say?” City College coach George Petrides said. “A couple shots here or two, it could have gone either way. [Milford Mill] came up big when they had to. We took their best shot and went back ahead but you have to give them a lot of credit, they came right back.”

Milford Mill advances to the 3A North quarterfinals and will host the winner of Parkville-Patterson on Monday.

Class 3A North Regional first round

No. 11 Milford Mill 48, No. 17 City College 45

City College12159945
Milford Mill1012161048
City College:
Burton 17, Ford 8, Bell 1, Bea 5, Sydnor 8, Hitchens 2, Bates 2, Gladden 2. Totals 18 8-17 45.
Milford Mill:
J. Jones 3, White 13, Aquon-Rayford 3, K. Thompson 8, McDonald 7, Lewis 8, Naylor 6.Totals 17 9-20 48.