HOSCHTON -- Mill Creek's girls entered Monday's basketball game averaging 50 percent more points than Milton through two games, but learned averages often mean little.
The No. 3 Eagles raced ahead of the No. 5 Hawks by a dozen and never looked back in winning the last game of Rick Tanner's Tip-Off Classic showcase, 55-35.
The loss was Mill Creek's second straight to Milton, which eliminated the Hawks in the third round of last season's Class AAAAA playoffs, 54-47.
This time, Milton (2-1) raced ahead of Mill Creek 12-0 and didn't allow the Hawks to score until Jasmine Carter made two foul shots half way through the first quarter. Poor outside shooting by the previously unbeaten Hawks (2-1) allowed them to come no closer than within 15-11 with a minute left in the period.
Milton's 11-0 run to begin the second quarter, capped by Geo Simms' short jump shot in the lane, gave the Eagles their biggest lead of the first half, 28-11, with 4:17 before intermission. The Hawks trailed only 34-23 at halftime, largely because Alisia Fagin's 6-of-6 foul shooting in the second quarter and Mill Creek's 10-of-10 aim from the line in the first half.
Mill Creek came no closer than within 36-27 with 3:30 left in the third, when Carter made the first of two free throws. But the Eagles' surge put them back in front 44-29 by quarter's end. The Eagles twice led by 22 in the final three minutes, prompting both teams to play their reserves.
Scoring far less than the 66 they averaged in previous Classic demolitions of Grayson (70-11) and Gainesville (61-29) was something Hawks coach Ashley Phillips expected, noting beforehand that Milton would be this young season's toughest test so far.
"This is why we play tough teams early in the season, to find out what you need to work on and what we have to do to get better," Phillips said.
Milton coach Craig Bennett found Mill Creek pesky, despite being outsized and needing 17-of-19 foul shooting to keep it a game.
"Mill Creek came out and played hard," Bennett said. "They never panicked and kept doing what they do so well."
Carter scored in every quarter but the fourth and led the Hawks with 16 points. Fagin added six and Nadiya Miller five. Milton got 18 from Simms, 14 from Nikki Dixon and 11 from Erin Brundage.