CUMMING, Ga. — Milton opened a double-digit lead just five minutes and staved off South Forsyth in the second half Friday night to improve to 2-0 in region play with a 67-53 win on the road.
The Eagles (7-7, 2-0) were led by sophomore guard Christian Wright who led all scorers with 21 points and added three rebounds and three steals.
“We go as [Wright] goes,” first year head coach Allen Whitehart said. “He’s our pace-setter.”
Milton also had strong performances from Jordan Yates, Donaven Hairston and JP McGhee. Yates scored 15 points while Hairston put up 17, including shooting 7-7 on free throws. McGhee was consistent under the boards all night, gathering in 13 rebounds to add to his eight points.
The Eagles led throughout the game, powered by a 20-4 run in the first quarter.
“We had some points in the game that were good and we had some where we weren’t as good as I want to be,” Whitehart said.
Milton opened their early lead thanks to quick scores in transition while South’s shots continually missed the mark. But South was able to stay close throughout the second half with more consistent outside shooting and creating Milton turnovers. The War Eagles cut the lead to 45-35 midway through the third.
“We jumped out really well because we were doing the small things,” Whitehart said. But as the game progressed, he said his players became “greedy.”
“Something we have talked about is playing like a knife with small cuts,” he said. “They’re looking to gouge and get the kill-shot. It’s not about that, it’s about all the incremental steps that get your knock-outs.”
Though his team was unable to run away with the game after such a dominant start, the Eagles opened the gap in the fourth to stand alone atop the Region 5-AAAAAAA standings.
“You definitely want separation when you’re playing a 10-game region schedule,” Whitehart said. “We’re trying to get that separation to get ourselves a good seed come region tournament time.”
South Forsyth freshman Devin McGlockton led the War Eagles in scoring with 13 points followed by Santhosh Saravanan with 11.
In the girls game, South Forsyth (10-6, 2-0) led throughout and held Milton (1-6, 1-1) scoreless in the fourth quarter to win 48-18.
The War Eagles were led by Sara Idris who scored 16 with six rebounds. Olivia Woodison scored 11 and Ashley Breindl had 11 rebounds with six points. Milton’s Grace Armfield scored seven with six rebounds, three steals and a block.
South will take on North Forsyth (13-2, 2-0) for the top spot in the region rankings next Tuesday. Milton will host defending region champions Lambert (8-6, 1-1) the same day.