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Milan keeps the ball rolling, stifles Airport

Photo by Joel Dotson Latin Davis (32) shoots a free throw in the second quarter of the  Big Reds' 63-30 win over Carleton Airport on Saturday. Davis led all scorers with 22 points.
Photo by Joel Dotson
Latin Davis (32) shoots a free throw in the second quarter of the
Big Reds’ 63-30 win over Carleton Airport on Saturday. Davis led all scorers with 22 points.

By Joel Dotson

The Milan Big Reds entered their matchup with Carleton Airport on Saturday afternoon knowing that the Jets would be hungry for revenge. The Jets struggled in Milan in their previous contest in January, with the Big Reds shutting them out in the first quarter and running away with an easy victory. Milan was not deterred in the rematch and stepped up to the challenge, defeating Airport 63-30.

The Big Reds employed a relentless defense and started the game with a solid offensive performance. Latin Davis and Donovan Verges led the charge for Milan, scoring 13 of the team’s 17 points in the first quarter. The Big Reds led 17-4 after the opening frame.

Milan kept the flow going in the second quarter, outscoring Airport 16-5 in the period. Davis and Lance Lewis were the bulk of the team’s offense, scoring 10 of the 16 points in the stanza. At the half, the Big Reds led 33-9.

Milan stretched their lead into the 30s in the third quarter, with Davis and four other Big Reds combining to score the team’s points in the period. The lead that the Big Reds built was more than enough for them to cruise to the victory.

On the night, Davis led all scorers with 22 points. Other scorers for Milan were Donovan Verges, who scored 12, and Lance Lewis, who notched eight. Airport was led by Dakota Bostic, who scored 13 points. The Jets’ new all-time leading scorer, Scott McCormick, was held to four points.

One of Milan’s main weapons, Nick Perkins, was held to six points by Airport’s box-and-one defense, which was used to limit his offensive production. Big Reds head coach Josh Tropea was proud of Perkins’ performance. “Nick did a good job of not getting frustrated, as he was often double and triple-teamed,” Tropea said. “(Perkins) didn’t score a lot of points, but he dominated the boards with his rebounding.”

Tropea was proud of the way his team approached the game. “This might have been one of the best defensive games we’ve played all year,” he said after the game. “I was thrilled. (It was) 32 minutes of intensity and focus on the defensive end.

We learned two things about ourselves tonight – we reacted well to the box-and-one defense and we didn’t hang our heads when our shots weren’t (falling). We got (defensive) stops and attacked (on offense). We needed that (effort) going into the game against Saint Mary’s (on Tuesday).”

The Milan program also achieved a historic feat with the win. It took 88 years and 1,657 games for the program to notch its 900th all-time victory.

The 14-3 Big Reds return to the court with a home game on Tuesday, Feb. 18 against SMCC, with the Huron League title on the line. The game is set to begin at 7 p.m.


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