Friday, April 19, 2019

Jackson-Milton routs Western Reserve

Constant pressure powers J-M’s rout
Published: 1/20/17 @ 12:10

By Brian Dzenis


Press, force turnovers and score in transition.

Jackson-Milton repeated the process numerous times against Western Reserve in a 72-22 blowout victory.

The contest in no way resembled the two sides’ first meeting on Dec. 8, a 47-33 win for the Bluejays.

Western Reserve (8-7) was without starting point guard Maddie Owen due to injury and the Blue Devils had no answer for a full-court press.

“You have to have your best ball-handlers out there. With that being said, we never even challenged them,” Western Reserve coach Steve Miller said. “It was over when the ball went up at the jump. They gave us a flat-out, good-old butt-kicking from start to finish.”

Western Reserve started the game with a 3-0 lead, but quickly imploded. Jackson-Milton’s press really worked its magic in the second quarter, when the Bluejays (14-4) outscored the Blue Devils 28-3. After making a basket, Western Reserve seemed to lose the ball just after the inbound pass. The Blue Devils finished the game with 36 turnovers and gave up 26 straight points across the second and third quarter.

“Our team always comes out ready to play, but tonight was a big accomplishment for us,” Jackson-Milton’s Ashley Totani said. “We’ve been trying to go all four quarters and we had a good start and we were all playing hard.”

Miller was determined to make sure his team got something out of the game. He approached Bluejays coach Pat Keney after the third quarter with the score 62-16.

“I said, ‘I have no idea what your intentions are and you obviously have to coach your team, but I would appreciate it if you continued to put pressure on us and press us,’ ” Miller said. “We’re pretty young. I play a lot of underclassmen and they’re trying to get better. If they felt sorry for us or took the press off, it would have done us no good.”

Keney held his end of the bargain while still taking his team’s foot off the gas. His defense went from a full-court to half-court press. His starters played sporadic minutes in the second half.

“I have the utmost respect for Steve Miller, he’s a great coach and we just came here and did what we needed to do,” Keney said.

Totani led the Bluejays with 24 points. Michaelina Terranova had 16 points and Emily Williams added 12. As a team, Jackson-Milton shot 35 of 61 from the floor.

Jackson-Milton has maintained a good record despite dealing with injury issues of its own. The team has had four players with ankle injuries and another with a concussion during the course of the season, Keney said. Miller couldn’t help but be impressed with the opposing side.

“Jackson is a seasoned team that’s been to regionals and will be the No. 1 seed in our district. They’re playing with that mindset of every night, every minute and every possession they’re trying to get better because they have goals they want to meet,” Miller said. “It seemed like we came in a little bit passive, a little bit timid and a little bit scared and if you play that way, you’re going to get licked and they smacked us from start to finish.”

Alexis Hughes led Reserve with six points — all coming in the first half.

With Thursday’s victory, the Bluejays have won three straight.

“We’ve struggled for a bit, but everybody’s back and it really showed tonight,” Totani said.

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