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Milan stays hot, takes down Flat Rock

Joel Dotson Donovan Verges (24) drives for a layup against Flat Rock's Rony Muheisen (23) in the Big Reds' 79-43 win over the Rams on Tuesday night. Verges scored 7 of his 12 points in the first quarter in the victory.
Joel Dotson
Donovan Verges (24) drives for a layup against Flat Rock’s Rony Muheisen (23) in the Big Reds’ 79-43 win over the Rams on Tuesday night. Verges scored 7 of his 12 points in the first quarter in the victory.

By Joel Dotson

The Milan Big Reds entered the first game of their three-game road trip on Tuesday knowing that they had a lot of momentum from their last few games. The Big Reds kept the train rolling, defeating the Flat Rock Rams 73-49 and improving to 10-0 in the Huron League standings.

The two teams were tied at two a minute and a half into the game. Using a stingy defense and getting offensive contributions from seven different players, Milan went on a 19-2 run over the last 6:09 of the opening quarter to take a 23-4 lead after the first eight minutes of play. Donovan Verges had seven of the team’s points in their run.

The Big Reds stretched their lead to 32-9 with 2:22 to go in the second quarter on a dunk by Nick Perkins. The offense then went cold, as Flat Rock went on a 7-2 run and closed the gap to 34-16 at the half.

After missing several short shots in the first half, Perkins got off to a hot start in the third quarter, scoring six of the Big Reds’ first eight points to start the second half. Milan generated several defensive turnovers that led to easy baskets, as the lead expanded to 51-19 with 4:28 to go in the third. After the Big Reds removed their starters, Flat Rock shrunk the lead to 61-32 going into the final period.

The lead would be enough for Milan to close out the victory, marking their seventh straight win and keeping the team’s largest win streak of the season alive.

Milan head coach Josh Tropea was very complimentary of his starters. “(They) played an exceptional first quarter and third quarter. The starters as well as Jon (Swain), Austin (Hoover) and Thomas (Lindeman) did a great job on the court.”

Tropea was also impressed with Perkins’ bounceback in the second half. “Nick showed unbelievable maturity tonight,” he said. “He struggled a lot in the first half and didn’t let it bother him. The old Nick would have hung his head and not come out and played like that. Instead, he played like an All-State player in the third quarter.”

The Big Reds were outscored 15-12 in the final eight minutes. The majority of Flat Rock’s points in the quarter were produced by Milan turnovers. Tropea was not as happy with his bench players. “We did not get any production on offense (out of the bench), and we had too many mental breakdowns,” he said. “I’m the first one to give my subs credit when they get their opportunity and hit their big shot, but they made that an ugly basketball game. They were not engaged in the game. If that continues, they won’t get opportunities to be in games.”

On the night, Perkins led all scorers with 18 points. Latin Davis and Verges each had 12. Flat Rock was led by TeDarius Laidler, who scored nine points.

Milan (12-3 on the season) returns to the court on Friday night at Grosse Ile. The game is set to tip off at 7 p.m.

 

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