The Union Recorder

December 11, 2013

JMA basketball drops doubleheader

Mark Jagord
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The John Milledge Academy varsity basketball teams dropped a pair of games to the visiting Gatewood Gators Tuesday evening at the Trojan Center.

The Trojan boys (3-1) lost their first game of the season 59-52, while the girls’ team (2-2) got doubled up 40-20.

“I thought for three-and-a-half quarters we played well,” said JMA head boys coach Thomas Craig. “The last five minutes we handed it to them and gave them chance after chance and let the game slip out of our hands. We’ll come back and work hard tomorrow and get ready for Brentwood.”

The JMA boys put up 26 points each half, but it wasn’t enough to contain undefeated Gatewood (5-0), who entered the game outscoring last weekend’s oppositions by nearly 100 points (140-49 in two games).

Leading the boys’ team were freshman Andrew Prestwood with 18 points and four steals, followed by senior Brandon Panfil with 15 points.

Also impressive was junior Chase Register, who had 10 boards and four points. Register also took two charges that resulted in negating four opposition points.

Senior Chris Williams made a layup in the first minute of the fourth quarter to give the Trojan boys a comfortable seven-point lead at 47-40, but after that the wheels came off.

Gatewood went on a 16-point run to take the lead at 56-47 before Williams would score JMA’s next points with a bucket and free throw nearly six minutes later and with less than two minutes left. But at 56-50, that was as close as the Trojan boys would get.

Williams, who was held off the score sheet in the first half rebounded nicely with 10 second-half points.

The teams opened the game by exchanging early eight-point runs with the Trojan boys taking the early 8-0 lead thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Andrew Prestwood. Junior Colby McCommon would break a 10-10 tie before Gatewood would end the first quarter with a 3-point bucket and the lead at 13-12.

Senior Brandon Panfil owned the second quarter scoring 11 of the team’s 14 points. He started with a 3-pointer to restore the JMA lead at 15-13 and his play alone allowed the Trojans to hold that lead until a 3-point shot at the buzzer allowed Gatewood to steal the lead at intermission at 28-26.

Just as in the start of the previous quarter, Panfil again restored his team’s lead with a pair of buckets at 30-28. Andrew Prestwood would complete his team’s second-half start with a six-point run, which was enough to hold Gatewood at bay. The Gators spent the entire third chasing the Trojans with the quarter ending at 43-40 in favor of JMA.

The Lady Trojans started and ended their contest against Gatewood (5-1) well, but they got outscored in the second and third quarters by a combined 23-7 margin that proved to be the difference.

“We were not ready to play,” said JMA girls head coach Natasha Gainous. “One person who did come to play was Ansley Roberts. She was everywhere and looked like the quickest one on the floor and that was because she was ready to play.”

The play of the team seems to revolve around junior Kelsey Chambers. As she goes, so does the team. Chambers finished the night with two points after being injured.

The girls’ team had a nice start to the contest by building two three-point leads early and holding the lead almost the entire first quarter until Gatewood finished with a late 12-8 lead.

Juniors Hannah Miller and Roberts accounted for all eight first-quarter points with each scoring four.

The four-time defending region-champion Lady Gators started the second with a seven-point run and from then on doubled the JMA girls until the end of the contest.

The girls’ team finished strong matching their opposition’s point output for the duration of the final quarter.

Freshman Olivia Clements accounted for all her team’s scoring in both the second and fourth quarters with a team-high eight points.