Neither their Friday nor Saturday opponents could stop the John Milledge Academy boys of the basketball court.
The Trojans (8-2 overall, 2-0 region) nearly doubled up both their weekend opponents Bethlehem Christian and Trinity, beating Bethlehem 67-37 Friday and trouncing Trinity 64-36 Saturday.
Friday’s home contest versus the visiting Knights was never in doubt as the JMA boys ended the first quarter up 17-7. Sophomore guard Jalan Butts capped off the scoring with a three-pointer from the top of the key, and his team’s lead only widened from there.
The host Trojans were getting their points every way possible, whether it was outside shooting, driving to the basket, putbacks off offensive rebounds, or buckets in transition. The highlight, though, had to be when senior Belmont University signee Keith Robbins decided to take over the basketball game. He had 13 of his game-high 28 in that frame alone. He was going hard to the rack to score three the hard way and knocking down shots from beyond the arc. Just before the third-quarter buzzer, he was the recipient of a smooth around the back pass from classmate Marcus Prestwood. While the score wasn’t a factor, time was as Robbins put the shot up and in before the clock hit all zeroes to put the Trojans up 53-27 heading to the fourth.
JMA head coach David Gallagher would let his reserves play a majority of the fourth. Tall sophomore Grayson Waddell took advantage and had six points in the final period.
Prestwood, meanwhile, ended his solid night with 15 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. His services were needed more Saturday when visiting Trinity made the bold decision to double Robbins. He would play limited minutes due to being in foul trouble while Prestwood went on to have a huge night with 17 points, 15 rebounds, and six assists. Butts was right behind him at 16 points, and the team was further bolstered by twins Briggs and Banks Eady who had 15 and 10 points, respectively.
That’s part of what makes the John Milledge boys such a dangerous team in the GISA landscape. Most good teams have one standout player. The Trojans have two in Robbins and Prestwood along with a great supporting cast. Those facts have not yet fully translated to the MaxPreps power rankings. JMA sits in third behind St. Andrew’s and Southland Academy, but the Trojans’ standing will improve as long as they keep up this high level of play.
Although it’s after the new year, Gallagher’s team still isn’t far into this 2021-22 basketball journey. The Trojans got a late start thanks to the school’s football team winning a third consecutive state championship in early December. Even still, John Milledge is toting only two losses, both of which came in the highly competitive Jones County holiday tournament. All the Trojans’ games against GISA opponents have come as blowouts thus far.
“A month in, I feel good about how much we’ve progressed as a team,” Gallagher said after Friday’s win. “I feel like we’re close to hitting on all cylinders. The effort and willingness are there, there’s just a couple more tweaks to be made to get us where we need to be.”
That’s a pretty scary proposition for John Milledge’s opposition. The Trojans’ next challenger is Westminster of Augusta tonight, and that game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff at JMA.