Milton makes name for itself by taking Beach Ball crown

Five teams ranked in ESPN’s Fab 50 entered this week’s Beach Ball Classic in hopes of earning the title of champion of “America’s Finest Holiday Hoops Tournament.”

As it turned out, all five went home empythanded and the team perhaps least likely to succeed, Milton (Ga.), captured the crown in dominating fashion Saturday night at the Beach Ball Classic.

Milton (8-4) routed Lone Peak (Utah) 70-42 in the Beach Ball championship game, capping an impressive week that saw them win by margins of 20, 11, 21 and 28 points against what was supposed to be a highly competitive field.

Instead Milton, which has reached the finals of the Class AAAAA Georgia state tournament the past three years, stole the show by making mincemeat of the field, cuolminating with Saturday’s performance in the final.

In its first-ever trip to the Beach Ball Classic, Milton took the lead for good with 5:35 to play in the opening half and went on to open leads as large as 28 points.

In a field filled with big-name players and flashy stars, Milton did it with defense. Lone Peak (8-2) connected on just two 3-point baskets the entire game and shot just 33.3 percent from the field.

Evan Nolte, who was named the BBC’s Most Valuable Player, led Milton with 20 points.  Shaquille Johnson added 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting for the Eagles.

Nick Emery led Lone Peak with 21 points and scored a four-game tournament record 119 points.  Emery’s total broke the previous mark of 114 points set by Chris Wright of St. John’s (D.C.) in 2006.

Emery also set the Beach Ball Classic’s four-game record for made free throws with 33, breaking Darius Washington’s (Edgewater, FL) record of 32 set in 2003.

2011 Beach Ball Classic Awards

Most Valuable Player: Evan Nolte, Milton
Most Outstanding Player: Shabazz Mohammad, Bishop Gorman
All-Tournament Team:
Julius Randle, Prestonwood
Shaquille Johnson, Milton
Rosco Allen, Bishop Gorman
Tevin Glass, Milton
Jahlil Okofor, Whitney Young
Nick Emery, Lone Peak
Myles Hamilton, St. Edward
Deion Taylor, St. Augustine
Tameron Manning, Scott County
Quentin Snider, Ballard

Individual Sportsmanship Award: T.J. Haws, Lone Peak
Individual Hustle Award: Mickey Mitchell, Prestonwood
Danny Defensive Award: Demetrius Morant, Bishop Gorman
Team Hustle Award: St. Augustine
Team Sportsmanship Award: Lone Peak

Photo by Digital Magic Photo

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