Eagles drop first game of the year

It takes overtime for Caldwell to shake Milano
Reporter Staff Writer

Jacob Willingham posted 10 points and six steals in the Eagles’ 2-point win over Allen Academy. 
Reporter/Marie Bakken Jacob Willingham posted 10 points and six steals in the Eagles’ 2-point win over Allen Academy. Reporter/Marie Bakken MILANO—The No. 14 Milano Eagles suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Class 3A Caldwell Hornets on Tuesday night at Geneva Paceley Gym, falling 53-47 in overtime.

The 6-1 Eagles led 28-21 at the half, but were outscored 10-4 in the third for the Hornets to cut the deficit to just one headed into the final quarter.

The teams traded bucket after bucket with Caldwell managing to tie things up at the end of regulation 45-45.

Milano put up the first two points of overtime, but wouldn’t make a bucket for the rest of the game.

Milano’s thorn in its side was free throws where the team shot 25 percent, hitting only six of 24 from the charity stripe.

All six of those free throws were made in the first half of play.

Dominique Messer had 21 points, 13 rebounds and nine steals in Eagles’ losing effort.

Toby Sanders added 12 points and 11 rebounds, with Jacob Willingham putting up 10 points and six steals.

The Eagles had its first real second half test of the season on Saturday during the Dime Box tournament championship game against private school Allen Academy.

Milano managed to squeak out the victory 38-36.

“It was just one of those grind it out kind of games. I don’t know if either team played particularly well,” Milano head coach Brad Jones said. “I told the guys when we got on the bus Saturday morning that this (Allen Academy) is a good team.

“They were longer and taller than we were and were quick on the perimeter.”

Milano never led by more than six during the contest.

“ They took the lead in the fourth with about three minutes left and they got the momentum,” Jones said. “We made some good defensive stops and made a couple of shots to get the lead back.”

Messer led Milano with 17 points and six rebounds, followed by Willingham’s 11 points and four assists.

“Our guys faced lots of adversity during the game, but didn’t handle it all well,” Jones said. “We still have lots of work to do. We were able to make adjustments and they are catching on. We are still learning each other.”

To reach the championship game, Milano defeated Fayetteville’s varsity squad in the semifinals on Friday.

During Milano’s 32-2 campaign last year, Fayetteville was the only team to beat Milano during the regular season and it was the Dime Box tournament.

This time the Eagles took down Fayetteville 64-45 with Messer putting up 23 points and snagging 14 rebounds.

Toby Sanders had 17 points and seven rebounds.

Milano opened up tourney play on Thursday with a 68-45 win over Fayetteville’s JV team.

Messer had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Sanders 10 points to lead the Eagles. Rhett Endsley added 10 boards in the win.

Mi lano’s scheduled game against Chilton on Friday has been canceled.

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