No. 7 Milford Mill ruins Perry Hall’s Senior Night; Goodwin drops 27 (VIDEO HERE!!)
by Nelson Coffin
The smallest player on the court made one of the biggest plays of the night, although there were plenty of heroes to go around for No. 7 Milford Mill Academy in its 69-66 victory over 10th-ranked Perry Hall Monday evening.
Yes, it really was 5-foot-10 Miller senior point guard Ahmed Milton who went up for a put-back to open the fourth quarter with Perry Hall’s twin towers, 6-foot-9 Laquill Hardnett and 6-foot 8 Anthony Higgs, close by to give his team a 56-52 advantage after teammate Jordan Goodwin had snapped a 50-50 deadlock with a twisting drive to end the third period.
Those plays were indicative of the kind of resources Milford Mill coach Ryan Smith would need to draw from in order for his team to dig out a tough road victory and spoil the defending Class 4A champ Gators’ Senior Night. Perry Hall routed the Millers in last year’s Baltimore County final.
“They beat us twice last year, once in the county championship (game),” said Smith, whose team improved to 16-2 with its ninth straight victory. “So this was really big for us to come on their home court and get a win.”
Milton said that his play was motivated by what possibilities faced him if he hadn’t gone right back up with a rebound among a group of much taller players.
“I saw No. 24 (Higgs), so as soon as the ball came off the rim, I went up with it,” he said. “I knew if I came down with it on the floor and tried to go up again, it would get blocked.”
Still, a four-point lead against a team with the firepower Perry Hall (15-6) has at its disposal was hardly a guarantee of victory. In order to prevail, the Millers would still have to make plays.
And they did, starting after Hardnett’s old-school 3-point play drew the Gators to within a point with just over six minutes remaining. A baseline jumper by senior guard/forward Ugo Obasi, a dagger of a three-ball from the top of the key by Goodwin and consecutive stick-backs by junior center Darius Woods and Obasi over the next three minutes boosted Milford Mill’s lead to 65-57.
However, Perry Hall nearly pulled even after some ill-advised fouls by the Millers (16-2) put the Gators at the line seven times. They converted five of those attempts and would have had another if not for a lane violation with Hardnett at the stripe and his team trailing, 67-66, with 47 seconds left in regulation.
That gaffe not only took some wind out of Perry Hall’s sails, it also gave Milford Mill the ball back and gave Goodwin an opportunity to show his nerves of steel at the line, where he converted twice for the final margin of victory.
“We had to stick together and execute,” Goodwin said. “They were getting a lot of ‘and ones.’ So we had to execute and take time off the clock.”
The win is a confidence boost for the Millers, who host Catonsville Wednesday and then travel to New Town in a game that will decide first in Baltimore County’s Division I. The winner will play Division I champ Woodlawn in the league title match, Feb. 20 at Towson University’s SECU Arena.
Perry Hall coach George Panageotou, whose team won its first county title last season en route to the 4A state title, said that his team has had some disappointing losses this season after going 26-2 a year ago.
“But this wasn’t one of them,” he said. “We had that mental error on the line and we had a couple of good looks to tie it at the end, but I thought Milford deserved to win. We tried everything to stop Goodwin but nothing worked. Milford is just bigger and stronger in person than they look on film. They’re really good.”
NO. 7 MILFORD MILL ACADEMY 69, NO. 10 PERRY HALL 66
MILFORD MILL: Jordan Goodwin 27, Ugo Obasi 11, Eric Turner 10, Ahmed Milton 9, Jalen Parker 7, Darius Woods 5. TOTALS: 24 11-13 69.
PERRY HALL: Laquill Hardnett 19, Anthony Higgs 13, Anthony Walker 11, Tyler Holley 10, Xavier Gravette 6, Charles Mickens 4, D.J. Clouds 3. TOTALS: 20 22-28 66.
MILFORD MILL 16 25 13 15 – 69
PERRY HALL 19 17 16 14 – 66