Perkins shines in Milan victory over Monroe

Photo by Joel Dotson Nick Perkins (right) drives for a bucket in Milan's 64-50 victory over Monroe. Perkins scored 25 points in the contest.

Photo by Joel Dotson
Nick Perkins (right) drives for a bucket in Milan’s 64-50 victory over Monroe. Perkins scored 25 points in the contest.

By Joel Dotson

The Milan Big Reds began their new basketball season on Tuesday night with a new coach at the helm, but many of the same goals in mind. Milan played a familiar foe in the Monroe Trojans, squaring off against them in the season-opener for the second year in a row. Steady offensive production by the Big Reds led to a 64-50 victory.

Heading into the season, Latin Davis and Nick Perkins were expected to be a dominant one-two punch for the defending Class B champions, and the dynamic duo proved to be just that during the contest. The pair scored the team’s first 17 points in the game, and their contributions – as well as ten Trojan fouls – helped Milan to a 28-16 lead at the half.

The third quarter was the difference-maker for the Big Reds. Milan began the stanza with a 6-0 run, en route to a 23-point frame behind Garrett Gardette, Lance Lewis, Davis and Perkins. Perkins scored seven of his game-high 25 points in the third, while Davis scored eight of his 16 points in the period. Milan led 51-34 after three quarters.

The Trojans narrowed the gap to 11 with 2:26 to go, making the score 57-46 after a basket by Jevel Mosley. A Lewis bucket with 1:35 left ended Monroe’s 12-6 run, pushing the game to 59-46 and all but ensuring a Big Red win.

Even though his team got the victory, Milan coach Chris Pope knows that his team could improve. “We need to (have good shooting and defense) all the time,” he said. “We lost our focus in the second half.”

The Big Reds finished the night 1-for-9 from three-point range and made just 14 of their 29 free throw attempts.

Despite their struggles, Pope was happy to have the first win under his belt, especially against a Monroe team that gave Milan one of their three losses a season ago. “I put (last year’s score) on the board before the game to tell them that we had to be prepared (for tonight),” he said. “The kids took it to heart in the first half.”

The 1-0 Big Reds next play their one-time SEC rival Lincoln in the Winter Breakout at Milan High on Saturday night. The tournament, which begins at 2:30 p.m., features eight of the area’s best high school basketball teams. The showcase will wrap up with the Railsplitters taking on Milan at 7:45 p.m.


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