JM’s Ashley Totani joins 1,000-point club
By ERIC FORTUNE
Earlier this month, the McDonald and Jackson-Milton girls basketball played a close three quarters before the Bluejays used a big fourth to give the Blue Devils their only conference loss in Inter-Tri County League play.
Another big quarter pushed Jackson-Milton to a 48-27 victory and at least a share of the Blue Tier league title Thursday night.
“Last game against them started off a bit rough and it always seems like we pick it up against them in the second half,” Jackson-Milton’s Ashley Totani said. “I think our intensity picked up a lot.”
It was a big night for Totani as she scored the 1,000th point of her career 17 days after her twin sister Kaitlyn accomplished the same feat against Sebring.
“It’s always been a goal of mine,” Ashley said. “Like when we were younger, Kaitlyn and I made a goal with our dad that this was one of the goals I want to accomplish by the end of my high school career. We really wanted this for each other.”
Ashley finished with a game high 20 points, including 10 in the final quarter.
“Kaitlyn was the scorer and Ashley was the defender and it finally became full circle last year,” Jackson-Milton assistant coach Dave Crismon said. “She really started to flourish. She attacks the basket better than probably than anyone we’ve got. So now we have a double edged threat — one that can attack, kick it out and hit a shot.
“They really complement each other. When she started to feel that confidence last year, she was really an integral part of us getting to regionals. We can flatten the floor and she can take someone off the dribble. It was just a huge asset for us.”
Early on, the Blue Devils (12-4, 6-2) were game against the Bluejays (15-3, 8-0) after a 10-9 opening quarter in favor of Jackson-Milton.
The game continued to be a back-and-fourth affair before back-to-back shots from Ashley Totani opened an 18-11 Jackson-Milton advantage.
“We tried to get the ball into the post,” McDonald coach Amy Dolsak said. “In the first half, we did a pretty nice job. We got it in there a few times and got good looks. Some of them fell and some of them didn’t.”
Sam Stitt led the Blue Devils with six points.
McDonald got it back within four after a 3 from Britney Smith, but saw a 3 from Michaelina Terranova push it back out to seven right before halftime.
Terranova had a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
“We still felt like we were with them,” Dolsak said. “We weren’t disappointed with our first-half performance. We were right there with them. That was just a miscommunication.”
After trading buckets to start off the second half, the Bluejays began to get separation outscoring McDonald 13-4 in the third quarter to push their advantage to 34-18.
McDonald was hurt by a six-man rotation and Jackson-Milton pressing that eventually wore them out as the second half progressed.
“That’s been our bread and butter for the last couple of years,” Jackson-Milton coach Pat Keney said. “It’s been a fun year. We struggled at the start of the season because we had four kids with ankle injuries and one with a concussion. When you have kids with bad wheels, you can’t play defense. We’re fortunate to be where we’re at.”