Milano-Mumford matchup a study in sportsmanship
I n a fantasy basketball world, University Interscholastic League Director Charles Breithaupt would have shown up before the latest Milano-Mumford game, grabbed the microphone at the scorers table and announced:
“There’s been a terrible mistake— both teams can go to state.”
Unfortunately, we exist in the real world.
Mumford Coach Chris Sodek echoed the feelings of many.
“This is a good Milano team,” Sodek said. “They do everything the right way and they play hard. It’s a shame we both can’t go to state. But both teams went as far as we could, being in the same district.”
For the second year in a row, we basketball junkies were treated to a state tournament flavored game without having to actually go to Austin.
Milano got off to a poor start and shot even poorer from the field, missing 19-of- 21 shots from behind the arc and missed 40-of-56 from the floor in the 51-38 regional final loss.
Mumford employed a reverse box-in-one by sticking 6-foot-6 Aubrie King on 6-foot-4 Dominique Messer and it worked, as Messer managed just 10 points.
We were all hoping for a replay of the last time they met, in district play in Mumford, where it was tied at the end of each quarter and it took an extra period to decide things.
What made the circumstances different this season was the insertion of Brad Jones as Milano’s coach.
We all know the story of long-time Milano coach Alvie King moving to Mumford with star son Aubrie in tow and the younger King’s friendship with Dominique Messer.
King and Jones grew up as coaches together and as close as brothers.
“Because of him, it makes this harder than last year,” King said.
While predecessor Robbie Robinson did an outstanding job, Jones was the popular prodigal son returning home.
“I’m disappointed because we expected to win,” Jones said. “I expected to win. I like my guys and I’m proud of them.”
And in a true example of sportsmanship, Jones led a throng of Milano fans in standing and cheering the Kings and Mumford in their semifinal game against Port Aransas.
In their six meetings, Mumford now holds a 5-1 lead in this backyard series.
While Mumford has some unfinished business this weekend in Austin, they are likely to remain just as strong next season.
Milano on the other hand, will have to replace star Messer as well as fellow seniors Toby Sanders and Jacob Willingham.
For at least one more year, these two titans will face each other in district play and as basketball fans, we can only hope they will continue to provide we gym rats with some great competition and a shining example of doing things the right way.