Norcross High School hosted the third annual Marriott Invitational where some of the best basketball teams in Georgia showcased their talent to the rest of the country. The last game of the event took place on Saturday, as Milton, the top-ranked team in Class 5A, squared off against Rainier Beach, one of the premier programs in Seattle, Wash. Rainer Beach have talented players on their roster, but it wasn’t enough, as Milton came away with a 66-50 win.
Milton, who is the defending Class 5A state champions, got off to a fast start with a 8-0 run. Evan Nolte opened the scoring with a three-pointer and Dai-Jon Parker was able to follow, scoring six of his 22 points in the first. Rainier Beach was able to keep the game within reach after the first half, with the scoring being 30-22. They were able to get quality production from Michael Middlebrooks who scored eight points in the first half. Middlebrooks finished the night with 18 points and was named the team’s Most Outstanding Player.
But a slow third quarter doomed the Bears, as Milton got on a 7-0 run and was able to increase their lead to as much as 20 points midway through the quarter. Rainier Beach was able to cut the lead down to 13 in the fourth quarter, but never could maintain the offensive momentum and Milton was able to capitalize.
One of the problems for Rainer Beach is two of their starters did not score at all and they virtually got all their points from Middlebrooks and L.C. White who scored 17 points in the loss. They have one player that is committed to play at the college level and that’s Hikeem Stewart who will play for Washington next season. He only scored five points and was held to zero points in the second half.
As for Milton, it was another solid performance against an athletic team that gave the Eagles everything they had. Parker was named the team’s Most Outstanding Player and Nolte had a productive game as well, scoring 14 points in the win. Four players from Milton have committed to play college ball for next season including Parker, Julian Royal, Shannon Scott and Jordan Loyd. Parker will play for Vanderbilt, Royal will join Georgia Tech, Scott will dawn the Ohio State colors and Loyd will go to Furman.
Milton has improved their record to 16-2 and they have won six games in a row. However, this week will be their toughest test to date. They will face Northview on Tuesday, Centennial on Friday and Saturday will be their biggest game of the year as they face Wheeler which will be on Milton’s home court.