Milton’s boys will try to solidify their No. 1 ranking in Class AAAAA on
Saturday when they play at No. 4 Wheeler.
Milton has won 13 straight games and is undefeated when point guard Charles
Mann, the Georgia signee, has played. Wheeler has lost two starters since
December to academic ineligibility, so this will be a measure of whether the
Wildcats remain serious state-championship contenders.
Milton defeated Wheeler 77-59 in the 2011 regular season and 72-71 in
overtime in 2010. Wheeler beat Milton three times in 2009, including in the
state final. Milton’s Evan Nolte and Wheeler’s Chuck Mitchell, both highly
recruited seniors, have been around for all those games.
In other news around Class AAAAA, second-ranked Shiloh lost its opener in
the Montverde Academy Invitational to Orlando Christian 59-55 this week
after failing to hold a four-point lead in the final 90 seconds. Orlando
Christian made a pair of 3-pointers, and Shiloh called a time out it did not
have, leading to a technical and a turnover. Shiloh’s 7-foot Tayvon reed
scored 19 points. Shiloh (16-3) bounced back Friday and beat Leesburg of Florida 61-55.
Duluth (6-14) scored perhaps the biggest upset in the AAAAA regular season
this week by beating ninth-ranked North Gwinnett 62-46. It was Duluth’s
first victory in over 10 years against North Gwinnett. Zach Erwin was
Duluth’s leading scorer with 19 points.
Eighth-ranked Savannah isn’t getting much attention despite its 17-1 record,
but a chance comes Saturday when the Blue Jackets play first-place Johnson
(14-4, 11-0) in a Region 3 showdown. Savannah’s only loss was to Johnson in
overtime on Dec. 10. .
And finally, there seems to be a trend of NFL quarterbacks coming to see
high school basketball games in Georgia. Earlier this month, former Westlake
basketball star Cameron Newton, now of the Carolina Panthers, dropped in on
a game featuring his alma mater, which is ranked No. 3 among AAAAA boys.
On Feb. 7, Pope High in Marietta is putting Houston Texans quarterback T.J.
Yates in its sports hall of fame.
Yates will be inducted at halftime of the Pope-Kell game. Yates wasn’t a
star quarterback until his senior season year at Pope. In fact, he quit
football as a junior and planned to focus on basketball, a sport in which he
was a four-year varsity player and three-year starter. Pope made the state
playoffs in all four of his seasons on the varsity.
He went back to football as a senior in a pass-friendly offense, and the
rest is history.
“He was very good in basketball,” Pope coach Patrick Abney said. “He was
being recruited D-I in basketball at the time when North Carolina came
calling in football.”
FYI, Newton and Yates are the only former Georgia high school players who
are starting quarterbacks in the NFL.