Class AAAAA Boys: Milton 72, Shiloh 52

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

If Milton goes on to win the Class AAAAA state title, a little bit of the credit should go to Tift County. The Blue Devils caught Milton napping back on Dec. 10 and stole a 57-52 win at the Eagle’s Nest.

“We took them lightly and didn’t show up to play,” said senior guard Shaquille Johnson. “But we said to ourselves then that that was the last game we were going to lose this season.”

That promise lives on. Top-ranked Milton (26-4) came out clicking on all cylinders Wednesday night and overwhelmed upstart Shiloh (25-4), ranked No. 5, 72-52, in front of a jam-packed and full-throated home crowd. The win sends Milton to its fourth consecutive Elite Eight, Saturday at West Georgia, against North Gwinnett, which won a thriller over Wheeler, 70-68 in overtime.

Milton slept-walked through much of its first-round win over Walton (65-62), last Saturday. But their intensity was on display early and often against the Generals, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. Shiloh could muster just 10 points in the first quarter, thanks to effort and a little defensive wrinkle employed by Milton head coach David Boyd, who used two players to guard Shiloh’s 6-foot-9 center Robert Carter, a Georgia Tech signee.

While Carter was on the perimeter, he was guarded by the shorter (6-foot-5) but quicker Johnson, who has committed to Auburn. When he went inside, 6-foot-8 Virginia-bound forward Evan Nolte drew the assignment. The tactic held Carter to just 10 points, four in the first quarter.

Then, with Milton leading 16-10 heading into the second period, the Eagle offense got cooking. Johnson, and fellow guards Charles Mann (committed to Georgia) and Jalyn Patterson, began to attack the middle of the General defense, going right at Carter and 7-foot sophomore center Trayvon Reed.

“We saw on film that a lot of teams were hesitant to go inside on their big men,” Boyd said. “We decided that the best way to attack them was to go right at them. Once we did that, it opened up things for us on the perimeter.”

The result was a 21-point second quarter that put Milton ahead 37-25 at the half. Shiloh would only get as close as eight points the rest of the way, as the Eagles put the game on ice with a 22-point final period. Milton forward Tevin Glass led all scorers with 25 points, while Johnson and Mann added 14 apiece.

Boyd felt the moment, along with his team’s intensity, was too much to handle for Shiloh, an emerging basketball program which missed the state playoffs three out of the last four seasons.

“We’ve been here before and this is kind of new for Shiloh,” Boyd said. “Plus we were playing at home, which is a huge advantage for us because we get to keep our regular routines.”

Shiloh head coach Kim Rivers, in his fourth season, agreed.

“I think the moment got to us a little bit. We didn’t get the 50-50 balls because they were so much more aggressive than we were,” Rivers said. “I told them before the game that winning a state championship is the hardest thing you’ll ever do and you have to leave everything out on the floor to do it. Most of our guys were just not ready for this stage.”

But according to Johnson, Milton is more than ready to reclaim the state championship it won in 2010, but lost in last year’s final to Norcross.

“We said we weren’t going to lose again,” Johnson said. “And we’re not.”

18 comments Add your comment

Bball Fan

March 1st, 2012
6:03 am

I think not having Mann had a lot to do with losing to Tift. Milton is a totally different team with him in the line-up.

AGGHHH

March 1st, 2012
6:47 am

“Milton slept-walked”
SLEPT-WALKED?
english good is

Rubin Hood

March 1st, 2012
7:29 am

Who is Milton’s next opponent? Aren’t they a football power school?…..this is basketball….next…….

Farland Cobb

March 1st, 2012
10:38 am

Appears that Milton and ML.King are on a crash course to match up in the final 4 as AJC predicted. That matchup will boast two teams with a combined 10-12 major D1 prospects and most likely decide the title winner. Dont know how ML.King’s young staff managed to keep a team that loaded under the radar for so long with wins over multiple ranked teams including a blowout of Harrison, Westlake, and winning the states most dominant region this year but it appears to be working in their favor. Very impressive ball club.

Noneya

March 1st, 2012
10:42 am

I’ve watched a lot of high school basketball this year and the only teams in the state that I think can beat Milton are not in their classification. Of course anything can happen, off night, injury, but if they are on their game they will be raising the trophy.

[...] forward Evan Nolte chipped in with nine points last night.  He also teamed up to help slow Shiloh standout big man Robert Carter, a Georgia Tech [...]

Northside1

March 1st, 2012
2:23 pm

Shaq J’s alleyoop dunk last night as he leaped over the Shiloh PG to do it was amazing!

AJC Analyst

March 1st, 2012
2:37 pm

Im no Milton hater but after I saw the kid Shaquille Johnson say they could’nt lose, I had to take a second look at their strength of schedule to tell what my opinion has been all season of them. Ok lets have it… They have 26 wins of which 18 came by teams either under .500 or no more than 3 games over .500. They beat 5 teams out of town who are in the exact same situation. I learned that just because the game is out of town does’nt make it a national powerhouse team that their playing. They played horrible competition out of town with the exception of Bishop Gorman. They lost to good GA teams Miller Grove and Tift County and struggled with a down and out freshman filled Wheeler team surviving by 5pts. Wheeler was not a good team this season. Descent but not good. Shiloh was overrated from the start and any true analyst of the game knows this as well. Who is Milton trying to intimidate in blogs? I would like to hear anyone’s opinion discussing a quality team they beat out of 32 games outside of Bishop Gorman and maybe a very overrated Shiloh… Let the talk begin

AJC Analyst

March 1st, 2012
2:42 pm

No disrespect intended to Milton, but their schedule this year was no more impressive than that of North Cobb who has been critisized for playing a weak schedule in many of post over the past days.

Farland Cobb

March 1st, 2012
2:49 pm

@AJCAnalyst: I tried my best to find a fault in your statement but when one examines Miltons Record/Schedule, everything you addressed is absolutely true

HENJAMCOL

March 1st, 2012
7:40 pm

THERES IS ALWAYS A SLEEPER IN THIS TOURNAMENT! COUNT N.COBB AS SUCH. THEY’LL SHOW UP READY TO PLAY SAT.SAVANAH GOT A BIG WIN YESTERDAY,HOPE THEY KNOW THERE’S STILL ALOT OF BALL TO PLAY……P.S. NC STARTS 5 JR’S SO STAY TUNED.

Northside1

March 1st, 2012
10:15 pm

AJC Analyst, you gotta be kidding! They beat nationally ranked Bishop Gorman by 30 and are a better team this year then last. Ranked 7th nationally by ESPN with only one lose
They will probably still be overrated after they win out the rest of the season by 20+ per game.
Dont be a hater, sit back and enjoy the team and talent

HJ

March 1st, 2012
10:39 pm

For female state of Ga player of the year I have one name: Pachiyanna Roberts of McEachern. I have followed the teams from region 4, AAAAA, as well as many others around the state. She has been more consistent that any player I’ve seen this year. Durable, consistent. Offensively and defensively, playing the 5 (undersized) and the 4, with probably less talent around her than DeShields. She is the truth.

AntBall

March 2nd, 2012
9:39 pm

Milton not bad,but 5A only strong in football this season. MillerGrove beat them@Milton and 3a champs(Columbia)would beat them too. So actually easier to win a title in 5a than 3a and 4a this year.

OHCOMEON

March 3rd, 2012
1:02 am

AJC Analyst, I’m not sure where you get your information. In addition to Bishop Gorman (who won their state title this season, but lost to 21 to Milton), they also beat Niagara Falls, which had lost maybe eight games in four or five years, and beat Jamesville-DeWitt from New York 93-52. DeWitt is ranked No. 1 in their classification in the state. They also beat Ballard (Ky.), who finished 24-9, and Lone Peak (Utah), currently 20-3 ranked No. 1 in Utah, by 28. These aren’t nail-biters we’re talking about, either …. they’re beating state champions or top-ranked teams by 20-40 points.

Ajcanalyst

March 3rd, 2012
4:31 am

@ohcomeon Bishop Gormanbeat MGrove by 20 and Miller Grove beat Milton… & did you say the #1 team in UTAH!!!! Lol… That really says a lot

rudbuck

March 3rd, 2012
9:36 am

Miller Grove is a good team, but it was a scrimmage game a week into practice in the beginning of the season, where everyone got to play some and it was a 75-73 game. And as far as Lone Peak, they have beaten ranked teams from accross the country. Milton also beat Miami Senior , one of the top schools in Florida..Listen to yourself, Gorman beat Millerr Grove by 12, MG beat Milton by 2 in a SCRIMMAGE, and Milton BEAT Gorman by 21. If you ask me it don’t look good on Miller Groves Resume. Went 1-8 against out of state. Milton went 8-0, but 6-2 after forfeits.

columbia track star

March 3rd, 2012
5:29 pm

so @rudbuck tell me why they had to forfeit.