Big Reds win district title


By Joel Dotson

Milan Big Reds boys varsity basketball head coach Chris Pope was feeling good on Friday, March 10.
The hook he had given his team all season long – to win a district title and later host a regional game – became true after Milan defeated Dundee 61-53 that night. The Big Reds – who defeated Ida in the play-in game and Airport in the semifinal – had strong showings from Jeremy Morgan and Trevor Ballard in the three games. Morgan scored 55 points over the three games, extending his streak of scoring in double-digits to 7 straight contests along the way.
The Dundee game also saw an assist on both sides of the ball from Kenari Moore, who Pope said had his best game of the season after the victory.
The title game victory came with a different defensive strategy. Milan was more aggressive than their typical way, an inspiration that came in part from Airport head coach Ryan Marino. “He came out against us with the triangle-and-two,” Pope said, referring to the hybrid defense, which is between man-to-man and zone. “When I went home (Thursday night), I’m saying, ‘How much can I match Dundee’s offensive sets?’, and I decided to go zone and using a box-and-one on (Dundee guard Brayden Federer). I have to give (Marino) credit, because I was going to (play man defense) against Dundee.”
Milan’s district title was their 25th in program history, and fifth since 2010. In addition, Pope became the eighth head coach in program history to win 50 games; the decisive game was the win over Airport.
At the time of this writing, the Big Reds are hosting regionals and are facing Dearborn Divine Child on Monday, March 13. The two schools have met twice in the 88 seasons of Milan basketball, with the Falcons winning both matchups. The other two teams in the regional are Chelsea and River Rouge. The regional final is Wednesday, March 15.
The regional winner will play at Chelsea High School the following week.

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