M-Town takes down Thorndale, 55-49
It looked as if Milano’s six-point lead was going to be erased when Thorndale junior Chance Betak hit two layups and a free throw to make the game 45-44, but in the final two minutes, the Eagles came through for the home crowd in the final game of their 2020- 21 season.
On the next possession, guard Jayce Todd made two foul shots to make it 47-44 before making a block that landed back in the Bulldogs hands which led to senior Hector Munoz getting a steal and Ethan Gordon making a pair of shots from the charity stripe. Gordon made two more on the next time on offense to make it 51-44 with 1:06 left to play.
Although the Eagles were up seven, the Bulldogs were anything but done. Betak sank two foul shots and on the next time down the court, nailed a three to make it 51-49 with 23.5 seconds left.
However, pressure never got to Todd, a sophomore who led MHS in scoring in many district games this season, hitting four straight free throws on their next two possessions and helping the Eagles close out their season with a win.
“Driving to work today I was thinking ‘Man a win today would sure push us going into next season,” MHS head coach Lee Essman said. “I wish we could have made it (to the playoffs) but I’m proud of our guys because this meant something to Thorndale.
“For us, we were just playing with pride.”
Milano ends the season 4-6 in district play, finishing fifth and barely missing out on post-season action featuring a young core composed of Todd, Gordon, and Gael Alcala, all sophomores and Weston Avrett, Bryson Richards and Layne Telg, who are juniors.
“We got everybody coming back,” Essman said. “We’re losing Hector and Stephen ‘Chipper’ Gordon.
“This is the first year Chipper’s played but Hector’s been in our program and he’s been a spark plug off the bench for us. But I’m excited about next year and we’ve talked about it already. Hopefully big things will happen and we’ll have some blessings as well.”
Essman talked about their difficult pre-season schedule, which led to close games throughout the district slate.
“With these young guys, we didn’t really get blown out any games. We just gave up big leads or couldn’t figure how to win sometimes. But I think that’s going to be different next year.”
THORNDALE—The Bulldogs were without Logan Davis, a three-year starter for the Bulldogs. Davis had minor ankle problems and rested in order be healthy for the upcoming post-season.
THS was scheduled to return to Milano High School Tuesday for a play-in game with Thrall to decide which teams will be the third and fourth place team from District 27-2A.
The two rivals have faced each other twice this sea son with the Tigers winning their first matchup 45-39 in Williamson County and the Bulldogs blowing out the other THS 63-41 in Thorndale two weeks ago.
As of press time, a new date hasn’t been scheduled for the two teams to settle the tie.