The Union Recorder

February 18, 2014

Trojans split Senior Night games

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Senior Night was thrilling at times for John Milledge Academy varsity basketball.

The Trojan boys (12-10) earned a 70-46 win over the Pinewood Patriots. JMA’s girls’ group (6-14) lost a tight one 39-36 on Friday.

The JMA boys coached by Thomas Craig ran to a 12-0 lead at the Trojan Center.

Pinewood’s bench did creep within five points after the first quarter thanks to a miraculous alley-oop layup as time expired.

All of JMA’s starters scored by the second quarter. Freshman Andrew Prestwood was hotter than most from the floor.

Juniors Chase Register, Amos Prestwood and Colby McCommon joined senior Brandon Panfil to convert Patriot turnovers into points on the opposite end.

Panfil’s made jumper sent the Trojans into halftime leading 44-26.

That margin grew to 26 points after three quarters.

Senior Hunter Henry’s 3-pointer in the final quarter capped off the impressive close to the regular season.

“I think we are playing good, complete ball,” Craig said. “This is when we got hot last year and made that run into state. For once, we are healthy and that’s starting to show these last two games.”

Andrew Prestwood scored 25 points. Panfil added 17 points, Register had 12 points and Amos Prestwood finished a complete night with eight points, five assists and five steals.

“It starts with (Amos). He is the work horse of the team,” Craig said. “If he is 100 miles per hour, it really entices these other guys to get after it.”

The Trojan girls’ defense played a quality game against Pinewood. The home team just couldn’t find the points when it mattered.

Freshman Olivia Clements looked tentative early coming back from a recent injury though she later stepped up the output.

Junior Hannah Miller, senior Kate Giddens and eighth-grader Gracie Mitcham all hit 3-pointers in the second period. JMA led the Patriots 21-19 by halftime.

The third quarter left both teams tied at 32 heading into the final stretch.

Pinewood used a ball-protection offense the last four minutes of the game.

The Patriots played keep-away from the Trojans.

JMA head girls’ basketball coach Natasha Gainous said the fouls were necessary to stop the clock.

“They are pretty good at holding the ball,” Gainous said. “That’s kind of their game when they are up.”

After Pinewood made several free throws, JMA trailed by five points inside the 1:30 minute mark Friday.

Junior Kelsey Chambers forced some Patriot turnovers, getting the Trojans within three points.

Chambers had two long-range attempts to move the contest to overtime but came up just short.

“I had to keep telling Kelsey that it’s not just those two shots at the end. We were off the entire second half really,” Gainous said. “All those other shots we missed counted too.”

Miller was the high JMA scorer at 10 points, Clements had eight points and 10 rebounds, while Chambers tallied six points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

The JMA girls prep for a region tournament play-in game against Augusta Prep today.

“We’ve come a long way. Our record isn’t showing it,” Gainous said. “We are too good of a team to end the season on an eight-game losing streak.”

The Trojan boys play Bulloch to open the GISA tourney.

“I’m just happy with where we are at right now,” Craig said. “I feel good going into this region tournament.”