No. 20 Mustangs swallow Towson for 3A North girls’ basketball crown, first state final four since 1996

by Adrian Martin

Special to VSN
Defense wins games. C. Milton Wright High girls’ basketball team proved that adage Saturday.
The Mustangs defeated Towson, 34-18, to win the Class 3A North Region title at Patterson Mill. Senior Sydney Bukowski finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and two blocks for C. Milton Wright (22-2 overall).
For the first time since 1996 when Bill Clinton was President, Cal Ripken played his final season at shortstop for the Orioles, and Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden were drafted the Ravens, C. Milton Wright is going to the state final four. The Mustangs will play defending state champ Frederick in a 3A state semifinal Thursday evening at Towson University’s SECU Arena.
“This means a lot, especially since this has been a goal of ours since the beginning of the season,” said Mustang junior Moriah Synder, who scored nine points and had a game-high three steals. “It’s a great feeling. The key to this game was being intense on defense first and letting the offense flow.”
C. Milton Wright’s defense wreaked havoc on Towson’s half-court offense, forced 21 turnovers while committing just five. The Mustangs recorded nine steals and held Towson standout Daija Fitchett to just four points, all coming in the opening period.
“Our girls played phenomenal defense,” C. Milton Wright coach Becky Dutko said. “We didn’t want them to get any easy baskets in the post, so we wanted to make sure she was double-covered, or didn’t even get a chance to look. I always tell them every day at practice, we need to take care of the ball, and they earned this.”
It wasn’t pretty for both offenses. Ten minutes into the contest, C. Milton led only 7-4, and the teams combined to shoot just 4 of 24 from the field, including 0-for-13 behind the arc. Neither team made a 3-pointer until the fourth quarter.
Thanks to several General turnovers, C. Milton Wright managed to increase its lead to 15-8 by halftime. The Bel Air school took charge in the third quarter, racking up five steals that helped them put together a 12-3 run for a commanding 27-13 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Erin Steinberg led the Generals (14-9) with seven points, while Fitchett pulled down a game-high 13 boards.
The Mustangs will have a significantly harder challenge Thursday against Frederick, led by University of Arkansas commit Makayla Daniels. Daniels, a junior, broke the 31-year old girls’ state final four scoring mark (76 points) last season, scoring 49 points against Atholton in the championship game.
 “We didn’t have to score a lot of points tonight to win, but that’s something we’re going to have to work on in practice next week,” Dutko said. “The group of girls I have now is the same group I had last year, so this is great for them. We just need to keep playing our game and play tough defense.”
Class 3A North Region girls’ basketball championship
at Patterson Mill
No. 20 C. Milton Wright 34, Towson 18

Towson: Steinberg 3 0-0 7, Ambrose 1 1-1 3, Lucas 0 2-2 2, Fitchett 2 0-0 4, Ready 1 0-0 2. Totals 7 3-3 18.

C. Milton Wright (34): Prather 2 1-2 5, Bukowski 3 1-4 7, Marchetti 2 0-0 5, Snyder 3 3-6 9, Hoover 2 0-0 4, Frank 2 0-0 4. Totals 14 5-11 34.
Towson 4 4 5 5 – 18
C. Milton Wright 7 8 12 7 – 34