This is the third place game for the City of Palms Classic. No doubt both teams would like to be playing in the final, but to finish third in a tournament with 13 nationally ranked teams is an accomplishment that should be appreciated
IMG ascended to the lead quickly as Jarace Walker dunked home a miss, Keyonte George did the same and Walker jammed home a drive to put IMG up 6-0 before two minutes had gone off the clock. Milton finally got on the board with a bucket from Chase Cormier. Jett Howard of IMG scored but Milton got to within two after two free throws from Bruce Thornton, one from L.T. Overton and a three from Cormier. All of a sudden, Milton had new life, down 10-8 with just under four minutes to play in the first. Milton took its first lead with a three from Kanaan Carlyle but a bucket from Eric Dailey and a three from Noah Batchelor gave IMG back the lead at 15-11 with just under two minutes to play. Carlyle scored again for Milton but a six point run by Jaden Bradley of IMG pushed their lead to 21-13. Both teams scored one more bucket each to make the score 23-15 in favor of IMG at the end of the first.
IMG was able to keep Milton at arm’s length for much of the second quarter. They lead by as many as ten, 35-25 after a three from Batchelor. That’s when things got interesting. Milton shaved four points off that lead until IMG hit another bucket. Milton shaved four points off that eight point margin to get to within four, 37-33. A three point play by Jacoi Hutchinson put IMG back up by seven. Once again, Milton shaved four points off of THAT margin to get within three. IMG hit a bucket inside but then Milton completed its comeback as Thornton went nuts, hitting back-to-back threes to put Milton up 43-42 with just over a minute until the break. George dropped in a three to give IMG back the lead but Thornton hit another three just before the horn to give Milton a 46-45 lead at the half.
The third quarter was déjà vu all over again as IMG got off to a fast start, a 9-0 run, five from George, to go up 54-46 with just two minutes gone in the period. Milton responded just like in the first quarter. Cormier hit a three to get the run started and it didn’t stop until Cormier scored on a drive to give Milton the lead at 55-54. Walker scored on a drive to give IMG the lead back but Milton wasn’t done. They ripped off a 9-0 run, culminating with a three from Carlyle to go up 64-56 with 2:08 to go in the quarter. IMG stopped the bleeding, scoring the final six points of the period the last by George to make the score 64-62 in favor of Milton going into the final quarter.
In the fourth, it was Milton that got off to a quick start, with Carlyle knocking down a three and Overton putting back a miss to give them a seven point, 69-62 lead. IMG clawed back to within two, 69-67, with 5:31 to play. Thornton scored on a drive to push the Milton lead to four but at that point it seemed Milton ran out of gas. They had three turnovers and two misses on their next five possessions. Meanwhile, Bradely scored on a drive and then tied the game with another drive to make the score 71-71. Dailey drained a three for IMG to break the tie with just over a minute to play. Thornton hit two free throws to get Milton back to within two, but Walker connected on two free throws for IMG to make the score 76-73 with twenty-five seconds left. Milton got a good look at a three but it didn’t go down. IMG holds on to win by that 76-73 score.
IMG was led by George with 19 points while Dailey had 17, Bradley had 12 and Walker contributed 11 points.
Milton got 29 from Thornton, 17 from Carlyle and 12 points from Cormier.