PLAYOFF TIME IN MILLEDGEVILLE: JMA boys steamroll Westfield for quarterfinal berth

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The John Milledge Academy boys basketball team began the GISA AAA state tournament with a convincing first-round win Wednesday night at the Trojan Center. JMA hosted region opponent Westfield, which held a 3-19 record this season, and blasted the visiting Hornets 87-28 to the delight of a rowdy home crowd.

The JMA offense was firing on all cylinders as 10 different Trojans scored, including four in double digits. JMA sophomore Jalan Butts shined bright with a 26-point explosion off the bench, highlighted by a 15-point fourth quarter. The talented guard drained four three-pointers in the second half, tallying 11 total buckets throughout the night. Butts also added three assists, two rebounds, and a pair of steals.

JMA seniors Marcus Prestwood and Keith Robbins both notched 14 points of their own. Robbins, a Belmont University commit, displayed his all-court game with five rebounds and five assists. Prestwood dropped three dimes and logged a pair of steals as well.

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In typical JMA fashion, the Trojans were everywhere on defense, picking the pocket of Westfield over and over. JMA junior Briggs Eady had four steals on the night to go along with 10 points, getting it done on both ends of the floor.

All season long, the Trojans have leaned on defense as their identity, and this was apparent from tipoff. JMA allowed just 11 points in the first half, holding their opponents to just four points in the second period. The JMA second unit maintained the defensive intensity as the game wore on, capping off the night by once again holding the Hornets to just two baskets in the fourth.

JMA head coach David Gallagher emptied his bench for most of the second half, giving younger players extended run. Along with Butts’ masterclass performance, JMA freshmen Brody Waddell and Ja’Tavius Hill got in on the scoring bonanza. Hill poured in four points while Waddell hit a three-pointer.

On a night where everything was clicking for the crowd favorites, it was raining threes at the Trojan Center as JMA knocked down 12 total three-pointers as a team. The top seed ran its offense like a well-oiled machine, passing the rock and sharing the ball from start to finish. The defending champs ended with an astonishing 31 assists on 36 made baskets, advancing to the Elite Eight in merciless fashion.

With the victory, JMA improved to 20-2 on the season. The Trojans will return to action Saturday when they host the 17-10 Brookwood Warriors for a spot in the final four


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