PLAYOFF TIME IN MILLEDGEVILLE: Trojans secure semifinal berth with Brookwood beatdown
The John Milledge Academy boys basketball team moved one step closer to defending their GISA AAA state championship Saturday night with a 68-38 blowout win over No. 8 seed Brookwood.
The visiting Warriors were outplayed from start to finish as JMA treated the Trojan Center to another dominant playoff victory.
In typical JMA fashion, the Trojans moved the ball well and generated a plethora of open shots and assists. Eighth-year head coach David Gallagher continues to emphasize the importance of team basketball for his players.
“We’ve been emphasizing all season to make the ‘easy play,’” Gallagher said. “We have some very talented players, but I give a lot of credit to our guys for playing an unselfish brand of basketball. We’ve been sharing the ball really well, which creates a lot of high percentage looks.”
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JMA senior Keith Robbins put on a show for the home crowd with 23 points. The Belmont commit averaged 17.1 points per game in region play this season, and he displayed his scoring prowess Saturday with a trademark performance.
Senior teammate Marcus Prestwood had a well-rounded outing as he poured in 15 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. Prestwood, who averaged 9.3 rebounds per contest this spring, has done a phenomenal job crashing the glass for the Trojans all season long. In fact, he recorded a whopping 18 rebounds in the region championship game just nine days ago. Prestwood also contributed to his team’s elite defensive showing with three steals on the night.
JMA juniors Briggs and Banks Eady made a big impact on both ends of the floor. The twin tandem combined for eight assists as each brother dropped four dimes. Briggs notched eight points while Banks added six of his own, and they each nabbed three steals. The brothers have been forces on the defensive end all season long, displaying active hands and playing stout on-ball defense.
On the heels of an incredible 26-point performance, JMA sophomore Jalan Butts heavily contributed once again for the Trojans. The youngster was everywhere on defense, grabbing four steals off the bench. He also put up a solid eight points and three assists.
As they have all season long, the younger JMA reserves firmly held onto their team’s lead in the second half and gave the starters some vital rest. Gallagher trusts his bench unit and knows he can throw out several different combinations of players who will give it their all and play team ball no matter what.
“We’ve been playing with a great rotation of guys all year,” Gallagher said. “It is huge to have depth, especially at this time of the season. It is awesome to see all the guys come off the bench, and our brand of basketball remains the same. That is indicative of the ‘buy-in’ mentality our guys have in the program.”
With the win, the Trojans moved to 21-2 on the season and booked a spot in the final four. They will take on No. 5 seed Creekside Christian Academy this Thursday in a rematch of last year’s state championship game. Last spring, JMA went into this exciting matchup as underdogs and pulled off the 60-55 upset. However, the Trojans hold the top seed this time around and will look to live up to the billing with a win that would send them to another championship game.