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Posted on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

New look Milan boys basketball team impresses in 71-40 win over Chelsea

By Kyle Austin

The first few moments were tense, with a new-look Milan team missing its first three shots, unable to get on the board while playing in front of its home crowd for the first time all year.

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But after an alley-oop from Latin Davis to C.J. Turnage for their first bucket of the night, the Big Reds were off and running to a convincing 71-40 win over Chelsea Friday night at Milan High School.

“That got us going,” Davis, a sophomore, said of the dunk.

Milan led by five after the first quarter, before starting the second quarter on a 16-2 run to all but put the game away.

The Big Reds allowed just two baskets in the second, while scoring 19 points of their own.

“I thought our pressure defense really got to them in the second quarter,” Big Reds coach Josh Tropea said. “I thought we allowed them to run their offense in the first quarter, but in the second quarter I thought we did a really good job of making them uncomfortable, and it led to a lot of easy baskets.”

Jacob Novak led Milan with 14 points, followed by Turnage with 13, Davis with 10 and Donovan Verges with 10. Turnage and Davis each added five assists.

Milan’s big win spoiled the head coaching debut of Chelsea’s Rourke Skelton, who took over for Robin Raymond during the offseason. The Bulldogs were led by Shon Kuhn’s 14 points.

Davis and Turnage continued their theatrics throughout the game, connecting for two more alley-oops in the second and third quarters.

“Last year we did it in a game, and ever since then, we just make eye contact and I throw him the ball,” Davis said.

With Davis stepping into the starting point guard role this season, he and Turnage, a senior, displayed strong chemistry for teammates two grades apart who have played only one season together.

“These guys, they’re together all the time," Tropea said. "They say family when we bring it in, and they mean it, and with those two it really is, and they play that way when they’re out there.”

That chemistry will be key as the Big Reds try to follow up on an 18-3 season with 11 new players.

“Guys didn’t have the experience, so we wanted to make sure guys were ready for the varsity level,” Turnage said.

But if Friday was any indication, the transition should be a smooth one. Milan’s bench combined for 27 points against Chelsea, and took the reins during a fourth quarter in which the Big Reds starters didn’t play.

“A big focus in practice and one of the keys today we energy from our bench,” Tropea said. “We’re a pretty good team, but we could be one of the better teams from the area if we get some consistent play off the bench and energy like we did tonight.”

Kyle Austin covers sports for He can be reached at or 734-623-2535. Follow him on Twitter @KAustin_AA.