22 Dec 2021

City of Palm Classic – Montverde Academy vs GA Milton

In the last game of the night, two of the better teams in the country squared off for a place in the championship game.  The Eagles of Montverde were looking to continue their success in the City of Palms over the last few seasons while Milton was hoping to become just the third team from the Peach State to take home the title (Marietta Wheeler and Atlanta McEachern were the others).

For a pair of juggernauts, it was a slow start to the contest.  Montverde either missed or turned the ball over on their first six possessions.  Meanwhile, Milton got a three from Chase Cormier and another from Kanaan Carlyle to go up 6-0.  Montverde finally got on the board with a three from Jalen Hood-Schifino to cut the margin in half with just over four minutes to play in the first.  A driving score from Bruce Thornton and another three from Carlyle made the score 11-3 in favor of Milton with just over two minutes to play in the quarter and the crowd was stunned in silence.  Montverde cut the gap a bit with a free throw from Dariq Whitehead and a transition basket from Derek Queen.  A mid-range jumper from L.T. Overton of Milton and a three from Montverde’s Whitehead ended he scoring for the quarter which found Milton up by the score of 13-9.

Montverde seemed to get back on track at the start of the second period.  Queen scored four more points and after a drive and score from Milton’s Seth Fitzgerald, Kwame Evans of Montverde tied the game at 15-15 with a steal and score.  On three separate occasions from that point, Milton would grab back the lead only to have Montverde answer with a bucket in kind to tie the game.  Whitehead scored in transition for the Eagles to tie the game at 21-21 with just under three minutes until halftime.  Milton responded with another three from Carlyle to go up three.  A couple of possessions later, Queen connected on a pair of free throws to get to within one at 24-23.  That would be the score at the halftime horn.

Vincent Iwuchukwu of Montverde gave the Eagles their first lead of the contest with a stickback on the first possession of the third quarter.  Milton answered with six straight points and led 30-25 with 5:40 left in the period.  At that point, the Eagles took flight, ripping off an 11-0 run, seven of those from Whitehead, to take a 36-30 lead with 1:37 left in the quarter.  Milton quickly drew back to within one as Cormier hit a three and Thornton putback a miss.  That would be as close as Milton would get as Hood-Schifino scored on a drive and Whitehead knocked down a three with three seconds left in the third to make the score 41-35 in favor of Montverde going into the final period.

Two free throws by Fitzgerald got Milton within four but then Montverde resumed its reign of terror.  A 12-0 run put the Eagles up 53-37 with 4:03 left in the contest.  Milton would get no closer than 57-44 with just under a minute to play.  Hood-Schifino ended the scoring with two free throws with just over thirty seconds to play and Montverde heads to the title game to face Oak Hill with a 59-44 win.

Whitehead finished with 23 points for Montverde while Hood-Schifino added 12 and Queen contribute 10 points.

Milton’s “Iron Five” was led by Thornton and Carlyle who each had 12 points.


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