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Milan cruises to victory over Monroe Jefferson on senior night

Photo by Joel Dotson Milan's three seniors - Austin Hoover (left), Jacob Novak (center) and Donovan Verges - contributed in the Big Reds' 65-43 victory over Monroe Jefferson on Friday night. Verges led all scorers with 19 points.
Photo by Joel Dotson
Milan’s three seniors – Austin Hoover (left), Jacob Novak (center) and Donovan Verges – contributed in the Big Reds’ 65-43 victory over Monroe Jefferson on Friday night. Verges led all scorers with 19 points.

By Joel Dotson

The Milan Big Reds entered their final home game of the regular season on Friday night with the conference championship in tow, and honored their senior players and cheerleaders on senior night. The Big Reds defeated the Monroe Jefferson Bears 65-43.

Milan used a different starting lineup to open the game, highlighted by their three seniors – Austin Hoover, Donovan Verges and Jacob Novak. The difference in the starting five did not affect the play of the team, as the Big Reds jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first four minutes. Jefferson scored their first points of the game on a two-pointer with 3:57 to go in the opening quarter, but Milan was able to keep their charge going. The highlight of the frame was a dunk by Nick Perkins with 1:02 to go, a dunk that brought the crowd to their feet and put the Big Reds up 21-5.

Verges started out the second quarter hot, scoring the team’s first eight points. Latin Davis and Lance Lewis added on to the Big Reds’ total, and the team held a 41-13 lead at the half.

Milan’s third quarter scoring was led by Perkins, who scored nine of his 13 points in the period. The Big Reds led 53-26 after three, and would cruise to victory from there. The seniors were each greeted with ovations from the home crowd as they exited the game in the final quarter.

On the night, Verges led the Big Reds in scoring with 19 points, 17 of which were scored in the first half. Davis added 16, and Perkins contributed 13. Brandon Liparoto led the Bears with 17 points.

Milan head coach Josh Tropea was proud of his team, having had a smile on his face from the celebration of the team’s third straight Huron League crown. “We were able to send the seniors out the right way,” Tropea said. “Tonight was about having fun, and we did that.”

Tropea was also complimentary of Verges’ play in the game. “(Donovan) has had a great season,” he said. “I look for big things from him in the state playoffs. He’s got to be dominant and better than anybody else’s third guy if we’re going to make a run (in the playoffs).”

The Big Reds finished their conference play with a 14-0 record, and it is the team’s 41st straight Huron League victory. Milan, 16-3 with one game remaining, plays at Belleville in their final regular season game on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The game will begin at 7 p.m.

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