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January 14, 2014

JMA starts region basketball tonight at home

MILLEDGEVILLE — After a strange winter week of school cancellations, John Milledge Academy varsity basketball returned to normalcy Friday and Saturday.

The Trojan girls (4-5) lost to Stratford 43-31 and at home to Trinity Christian 39-32. JMA’s boys’ team (7-2) lost to the Eagles 72-44 as well but recovered Saturday defeating Trinity 69-59.

Head Trojan boys’ basketball coach Thomas Craig said his team led Stratford 15-13 after one quarter.

“We got to the second quarter and just fell apart defensively. We gave up 27 points, which is unheard of for us,” Craig said. “It seemed like we couldn’t do anything right on the defensive end. You have to give Stratford credit. When you go up against a team that athletic, you have to have everything working.”

Despite the large point differential in last Friday’s loss, the Trojan boys never quit.

Freshman Andrew Prestwood scored 15 points to lead JMA in Macon.

Junior Amos Prestwood had eight points.

Senior Brandon Panfil and junior Colby McCommon posted seven on the night.

The constant effort paid off against Trinity. JMA trailed by 11 points during the third quarter.

“We stormed back and took the lead by the end of the third,” Craig said.

“That’s what we always tell our guys. If we can keep it tight going to fourth quarter, we’ve got teams where we want them. I’m proud of the way we are finishing.”

The Trojan boys only allowed eight Trinity points in the final quarter.

Andrew Prestwood erupted for 24 points in the comeback victory Saturday.

Junior Chase Register had 20 points with Panfil scoring 15 points.

“I can’t say enough about Andrew right now. The kid works hard, and I’m really impressed with where he is as a freshman,” Craig said.

JMA girls’ head basketball coach Natasha Gainous said slow starts doomed them in both games.

Stratford was “on fire” the first half last Friday.

“I don’t think our defense was terrible. They made a lot of contested shots and long two’s,” Gainous said. “They had four three’s in the first half whereas we really didn’t respond.”

Junior Kelsey Chambers led the JMA charge with 17 points. JMA had just four other players score at Stratford.

Classmate Hannah Miller was the second best offensive option with six points all in the first half.

“We need to find an offense that gets everybody more involved,” Gainous said.

Turnovers’ resulting from poor passes damaged the Trojans chances in both losses.

JMA’s post player Olivia Clements has shown her freshman youth as the competition revs up.

Gainous is confident Clements will adjust as the season progresses.

“A post presence would free up the guards a little bit. There is a lot of pressure on them right now to score all the points,” the girls’ coach said.

The Trinity game started just like the previous night. JMA fell behind 27-17 at halftime.

“We didn’t work the ball or move much,” Gainous said. “We were down about 14 points with a couple minutes left and decided we wanted to play.”

The Trojan girls forced several turnovers and netted some 3-pointers to make it interesting.

Miller made four treys against Trinity. Chambers added 14 points.

The next scorers mustered only two points.

Monday’s Nathanael Greene doubleheader was cancelled.

JMA’s varsity teams take on Westminster tonight at home in the 4-AAA region opener. Both Wildcat teams are .500 or better for the season.

“We’ve always had good battles with them,” Craig said. “What better time to beat them than now?”

The varsity games begin at 6 p.m.

 

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