By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
MILTON -- Milton clung to a small lead in the fourth quarter as Northwest worked the ball into the low post. Rotating over, Brady Chappell got a palm on the ball, pinning it to the backboard and forcing the stop for the Black Panthers.
Spurred on by the change in possession, the Black Panthers won a tight battle over the Rangers, 49-40, in the second semifinal of the Milton Orange and Black Tournament.
After taking the ball off of the backboard, the ball made its way to Milton's sure-handed point guard Ethan Baker and Baker helped the Black Panthers extend their lead, keeping the ball on their side of the court.
Baker helped to ensure the victory, weaving in and out of defenders as the clock went under one minute remaining, melting seconds off of the clock to prevent a comeback from the Rangers.
Baker ended the night with a team-high 13 points for the Black Panthers.
"Ethan Baker works very hard out there," Milton coach Gene Bruno said.
Throughout the game, the Rangers could not find a consistent answer to Travis Krall around the basket and Krall made Baker's job easy with the guard sending the ball inside and letting the senior center jockey for position.
"We made some nice baskets there at the very end," Bruno said. "We got the ball inside. (Travis) made some big shots there at the end. That's all good stuff."
Bruno added that he was pleased with the play of Wade Heidel and Ryan Emery as Emery made a late layup that helped to seal the win and Heidel was a consistent source of points for Bruno, finishing with 12 points.
Krall came down with a board off of a missed three and drew a foul as defenders closed quickly midway through the fourth quarter. Krall knocked down a pair of free throws and converted a layup on the Black Panthers' next possession to push the Milton lead to three possessions, 45-38, with under three minutes left.