Davis makes history

Photo by Paula Dotson Latin Davis (32) scored 26 points in Milan’s 58-47 victory over Lincoln on Saturday night. Davis became only the fifth Big Red to score 1,000 career points.

Photo by Paula Dotson
Latin Davis (32) scored 26 points in Milan’s 58-47 victory over Lincoln on Saturday night. Davis became only the fifth Big Red to score 1,000 career points.

By Joel Dotson

Milan hosted the Winter Breakout tournament for the second year in a row on Saturday night, a showcase which highlighted eight of the state’s elite high school basketball teams. The team Milan played, the Lincoln Railsplitters, featured some of the area’s best players, including 6-foot-6 forwards Devin Haygood and Ty Groce. In the end, Milan would defeat the Railsplitters 58-47 behind their own two best players in Latin Davis and Nick Perkins.
Perkins took control of Milan’s offense in the first half, scoring 12 of the team’s 25 first-half points. He hit a three-pointer with 3:39 to go in the first quarter that gave Milan a 7-6 lead. Following that three, the Big Reds finished the opening quarter on a 9-2 run. Perkins and Davis also scored each of Milan’s nine points in the second quarter, giving the Big Reds a 25-16 lead at the half.
Davis began to heat up in the third quarter, scoring three of Milan’s four buckets to open the frame. He would go on to score 10 points in the period, helping Milan stretch their lead to 44-24.
Davis made history in the final quarter. Heading into the game, Davis was 23 points shy of becoming the fifth Big Red to score 1,000 career points. A two-pointer with 6:30 to go was the historic bucket.
At that point in the game, Milan held a 50-29 lead. Over the next five minutes, the Railsplitters went on an 18-6 run, cutting the gap to 54-45 with 1:33 remaining in the game. Two free throws made by Davis with a minute left sealed the deal for Milan.
Milan coach Chris Pope was pleased with his team’s performance in the win over a former SEC rival. “This was a huge win against a great (Lincoln) program,” he said after the game. “The one thing we hang our hats on is playing good defense, and we were able to do that.”
Pope also pointed to the crowd support as a key factor in the Milan victory. “(The crowd) was something we were able to use as motivation,” he said. “(Big crowds) are what these kids want to play for.”
The only disappointment the coach saw during the game was his defense during the final minutes. “We did a horrible job of rebounding, and I guarantee you that’s one thing that we will go over in practice,” he said. “We will be a better rebounding team.”
The Big Red head coach was not shy about giving credit to Davis for his historic night. “The kid is Milan basketball,” Pope said of his star player. “(Davis) is going to walk out of here with the best record as a basketball player in Milan history, and he has a state championship. He’s just a winner.”
Davis joined Stan Joplin, Aaron White, CJ Turnage and EJ Bates in Milan’s exclusive 1,000-point club. Turnage was the last Big Red to accomplish the feat, ending his high school career in 2013 with 1,103 points.
Davis and Perkins combined to score 45 of the Big Reds’ 58 points in Saturday night’s contest. Davis ended the night leading all scorers with 26 points, while Perkins added 19. Groce led Lincoln with 15 points.
Milan (2-0) returns to the floor on Tuesday, Dec. 16, with a home game against Lenawee Christian. The Cougars, a Class D finalist a season ago, played in the Breakout’s opening game, losing 57-49 to Ann Arbor Skyline. Tuesday’s game is designated as Fight Hunger night. Spectators who bring a non-perishable food or toiletry item will be admitted into the game for just $1.

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