Regional Redux

Milano, Mumford on full court collision course
BY MARIE BAKKEN
Reporter Staff Writer


MIiano’s Toby Sanders slices to the hoop against San Antonio Stacey’s Dillon Stewart in the second quarter for two of his 17 points in the Eagles’ quarterfinals victory Tuesday night. 
Reporter/Bill Martin MIiano’s Toby Sanders slices to the hoop against San Antonio Stacey’s Dillon Stewart in the second quarter for two of his 17 points in the Eagles’ quarterfinals victory Tuesday night. Reporter/Bill Martin FLATONIA—The Milano Eagles won the battle of the birds on Tuesday night as they defeated the San Antonio Stacey Tuesday night at Bulldog Gym 68-44 in regional quarterfinal action.

This sets up a trip to the Class A, Division I, Region IV tournament for Milano (25-7) to be played Friday and Saturday at the Cougar Den at New Braunfels Canyon High School.

They reached the same tournament last season and went all the way to the title game.

The Eagles will play in the first semifinal on Friday against Weimar (13-10) at noon. The other semifinal, to be played at 2 p.m. will see No. 2 Mumford (36-0) against No. 4 Port Aransas (29-7).

The two winners will face off at 1 p.m. Saturday for a berth in the state tournament set for March 7-9 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin.

Should Milano and Mumford win their semifinal matches, it would set up a dramatic rematch of sorts with these two district foes, as they met in the same regional title game last season. Mumford went on to win and make it to the state title game, falling to Clarksville.

Mumford beat Milano in both of their district match ups, the final game having to go into overtime to determine a winner. The Mustangs were champions of 25A. Milano was the runner up.

Mumford beat the other 25A playoff team Snook, who was third, on Tuesday night 90-53 to reach the regional tournament.

Eagle teams have reached the regional tournament five previous times in school history, the most recent being last season, then in 1997 when they lost in the regional finals to eventual state champion Moulton.

Milano also reached regionals in 1951 and 1977 under Coach Charlie Martin and in 1981 under Coach Jay Wise.


David Jentsch, here double-teamed by Stacey’s Dillon Stewart (23) and Austin Stewart (10) scored seven points for Milano. 
Reporter/Bill Martin David Jentsch, here double-teamed by Stacey’s Dillon Stewart (23) and Austin Stewart (10) scored seven points for Milano. Reporter/Bill Martin In 1951, the first year UIL recognized basketball as a sanctioned sport, the regional tournament was the furthest a team could go. Milano lost that year in the regional finals 33-32 to Big Sandy.

This will be the first regional tournament for Jones to coach in.

Fan Bus

Milano ISD superintendent Robert Westbrook said the district will take a fan bus to the game on Friday for a cost of $5 per r ider. A dmission a nd c oncessions are the responsibility of the riders. Those interested in riding should call the high school principal’s office at 512-455-9333.

Weimar

Milano’s first obstacle is Weimar, which finished second to Shiner in District 29A.

The Wildcats reached the regional tournament by smothering Woodsboro 74-47.

Weimar does not have a player over 5-foot-11 on the roster andwas 4-21 last season in Class 2A.

The Eagles have faced Weimar once this season already. Milano hosted the Wildcats on Dec. 17 in non-league action, winning 62-35.

Stacey

After a couple of mishandled passes, Milano made the first points of the game against Stacey (22-11) and never looked back.

The Milam County Eagles never lost the lead during the contest, with Stacey getting as close as two points last in the first quarter.

A s the second quar ter got going, so did Milano’s cylinders, where they wound up leading by 10 at the break.

“We hadn’t played a good, complete, solid game in awhile and I thought we did that against (Stacey),” Milano head coach Brad Jones said. “We hit our shots and took care of the boards.”

The second half was much of the same, as Milano’s inside game was spurred by players Domiand nique Messer, Toby Sanders and Jordan Millar.

Messer had yet another double double performance with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Sanders scored 17 points and Millar added 12.

Guards Jacob Willingham and David Jentsch sliced through the Stacey press well. Willingham had nine points and Jentsch seven.

With a large lead, reserve players were placed in the game by Jones. Derek Walton sank both his free throws after being fouled at the end of the game to finish out Milano’s scoring.

Jones said he knew Milano would have to use its length advantage to stop Stacey’s outside shooting, which had led them through district play and the playoffs thus far.

“We really had to take away their three points shots and lay up attempts and use our length to force them to shoot inside,” Jones said.

Trevon Ruffin led Stacey with 12 points, followed by Nicholas White with 11.

Stacey finished third in 28A.

Area

On Friday, Milano took down Sabinal, champion of 28A, in the area round 70-58.

Sabinal reached the regional tournament last season where they lost to Mumford in the regional semifinals.

Sabinal came out early, hitting deep three pointers, and then were able to get the Eagles in to early foul trouble with very physical defense. Milano led just 30-29 at the half.

Sabinal gained the lead twice early in the third quarter, but Milano spread the court and would drive the lane to force Sabinal to foul.

Sanders was six of seven from the free throw line on the night, keeping his Eagles in the ball game. Sanders had 17 points overall.

A big rebounding night by Messer, who had 24 points and 21 boards, help Milano retain and keep the lead.

Jentsch and Millar each had double figure performances with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Willingham and Jonathon Reyes each added two.

“They had us against the ropes,” Jones said. “The referees kept things pretty consistent in the second half, keeping it a basketball game rather than football.”

This is the fifth straight season for the Eagles to reach the post-season.


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