Two schools fresh off the football field met on the basketball court Thursday night.
Both the John Milledge Academy and Brentwood boys basketball teams had multiple key players competing for football state championships just last week. The Trojans got their gridiron title in AAA while the War Eagles of Sandersville fell to Gatewood in the AA championship game.
Inside the gym Thursday, the JMA boys hoops rode a second-half surge to a 72-48 season-opening victory. The Trojans carried just a four-point lead into the locker room at halftime, but won the final two quarters 46-26 to earn the runaway win.
Seventh-year JMA head coach David Gallagher was happy with what he saw from his team that has been on the court together less than a week.
“We started out a little slow tonight,” Gallagher said. “Credit to Brentwood, Coach [Adam] Lord always has them ready to go, and he’s on a short turnaround as well. All in all, I’m very pleased with the energy and effort from our guys. A lot of them got to play tonight.”
Gallagher went on to talk about the depth of this year’s team, and how that’s increased over last year.
“After this week of practice, I felt like we had several who were ready to play,” he said. “There were a lot of returners who helped out a little bit last year that have grown and developed a lot. Their confidence has grown, and my confidence in them has as well. Tonight reinforced that and makes me feel like we can play eight or nine guys every game.”
Early on was a group Trojan scoring effort against the shooting of Brentwood sophomore Jeremy Kent, who transferred over from GMC Prep this year. He was the War Eagle go-to offensively, but the JMA boys always had an answer on the opposite end of the floor whether it was junior Marcus Prestwood, senior Mandell Hudson, or the Trojans’ own transfer in senior Will Rutland. That trio combined for 41 points led by Prestwood’s 19. He and Kent tied for the game-high, but it was Prestwood who finished with a double-double by pulling down at least 10 rebounds.
The John Milledge boys will have to wait a long time before they’re back on their home floor. They were scheduled to travel to Trinity Christian in Dublin Friday night and will be in Thomasville for Brookwood’s holiday tournament Monday and Tuesday. The next home game is slated for Jan. 9.