After playing two of Baltimore City’s best over the weekend, Milford Mill High boys’ basketball squad tuned up for its return to Baltimore County play against city league upstart Forest Park Monday evening.
The No. 4 Millers (11-2 overall) built a sizeable margin before holding off a late charge by the No. 12 Foresters for a 76-63 decision on Washington Avenue. Senior guard Isaiah McCray scored 22 points for Milford Mill, and Katrell Myers had 11.Troy Parker and Nick Smoot each added 10.
The defending Class 3A state champs saw a 20-point fourth quarter advantage dwindle with six before turning away the Foresters (10-3). Saturday, Milford Mill withstood City down the stretch for victory in the final contest in the Basketball Academy at Coppin State University.
“We kept it interesting, but we stuck together,” said McCray, who will play for Colgate next season. “We made critical free throws, played critical defense and got critical rebounds.”
The Millers were in cruise control at 62-42 with 6 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in regulation after a three-pointer by Smoot. Within three minutes, the Foresters were within 66-60 after a three-pointer from senior Sharod Hartgrove.
Anton Waters, who tied sophomore Quintin Judd with a team-high 17 points, put the northwest Baltimore school within 68-62 with a free throw with 1:44 left before Chase Cormier hit two free throws for Milford Mill. After a Forest Park miss, McCray found Parker for a layup, and followed with three free throws to put the Millers clear at 75-62.
Milford Mill coach Albert Holley had to reinsert his starters in the final minutes as Forest Park threatened. With a huge lead, Holley said he wanted to give his bench some action.
“You got to develop players, I never know when I’m going to need them,” said Holley. “Forest Park is aggressive and play hard.”
The Millers were the aggressors early, building a 36-20 halftime lead as McCray and Myers each scored nine points in the second quarter. The defending Baltimore County champs had their advantage at 57-38 heading into the fourth.
Forest Park picked up its pressure to get back into contention, but, trailing 67-60, came up empty on consecutive possessions. Foresters’ coach Greate White said his team ran out of energy.
“The kids left it out on the court,” said White. “We were shorthanded with DeAnthony McCormick had to sit the first half for personal reasons and didn’t get the same intensity from his replacement. Milford Mill took advantage and ran with it.”
The Foresters are back in action Tuesday at home against Southwestern in a Baltimore City league Division II game. Milford Mill returns to Baltimore County 3A/4A league play Wednesday at No. 20 Patapsco.
“We look at every game as a championship game,” said McCray. “They’re going to be ready to go and we’ll be ready to go.”
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|No. 4 Milford Mill 76, No. 12 Forest Park 63|
|Forest Park: Hartgrove 7, Judd 17, Waters 17, Vaughn 1, McCormick 9, Miller 12. Totals: 20 19-34 63.|
|Milford Mill: Smoot 10, McCray 22, Parker 10, Hanner 9, Cormier 4, Jackson 2, Myers 11, Miller 4. Totals: 29 14-27 76.|
|Halftime: Milford Mill 36, Forest Park 20|