Mumford masters Milano
The stakes weren’t quite as high Tuesday night, but as the basketball world converged on Geneva Pacely Gym for this little ol’ district matchup, you sure couldn’t tell the difference.
The No. 2 Mustangs staved off a furious lategame comeback bid by No. 14 Milano for a 51-42 victory Tuesday night in front of an overflow, standing-room-only crowd.
The Eagles suffered their first District 25A loss at 3-1 and stand 16-6 on the season.
Mumford improves to 26-0 and 4-0 in league play.
“We expected it to be a close game, of course,” said Mumford Coach Chris Sodek. “They showed us some things we hadn’t seen from any other team this year.
“They out played us and outcoached us tonight. It was a Milano paced game.”
“I thought we did a really good job on defense but had some breakdowns,” said Milano Coach Brad Jones. “Give Mumford credit, they are an outstanding team.
“It was an honor to coach this game. Both teams played with a lot of heart and emotion.”
LaKendric Hyson won this battle of the big men, floating inside for 22 points and 12 rebounds.
His counterpart, Milano’s Dominique Messer, was limited to 15 points while gathering up 10 boards.
Mumford’s Aubrie King scored eight points with seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks against his former teammates.
Despite shooting poorly (34 percent, 5-for-25 from the arc), the Mustangs were able to construct a comfortable double-digit lead throughout most of the game and lead 42-25 at the end of the third quarter.
After Hyson’s layup made it 44-27 to open the final period, it appeared Mumford was going to maintain the status quo.
However, Milano snapped to and outscored the Mustangs 15-3 in the final 6 minutes, 27 seconds of the contest.
The first Eagle run was boosted by a pair of three-point bombs from Jacob Willingham and then Toby Sanders from way behind the key that closed the gap to 44-36 with 4:33 showing.
Josh Sustaita’s trey stemmed the Milano tide momentarily, but Jordan Millar’s two followups and then David Jentsch’s drive to the basket trimmed the lead to 47-42 with 42 seconds remaining to be played as Milano fans erupted.
Mumford was able to break the Milano press with baskets by Hyson and Dion Mack in the final seconds and the Eagles ran out of time.
“You can’t be passive against their (Mumford) defense,” Jones said. “They don’t like you to hold the ball. You have to be ready to play fast when you play them.
“We’ve talked about adversity all year and tonight we faced some adversity.”