MLK Day tournament will include Mountain Mission

Dave Ongie • Jan 12, 2017 at 5:34 PM

For high school basketball fans in our area, the Arby’s Classic is like a bountiful holiday feast.

On Monday, Milligan College will be offering a desert of sorts as three top-notch high school programs take to the floor inside Steve Lacy Fieldhouse to cap off a full day of basketball that will also feature a doubleheader involving Milligan’s junior varsity teams.

Mountain Mission out of Virginia will be on hand at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day event along with Asheville Christian Academy and Rabun Gap, Georgia. Following a men’s and women’s JV doubleheader between Milligan and Bryant, Mountain Mission’s B-team is slated to take on Rabun Gap at 5 p.m. with Mountain Mission’s A-squad set to face Asheville Christian Academy at 7 p.m.

“The A team from Mountain Mission might be one of the most talented teams we’ve had in our gym in many, many years,” said Milligan men’s basketball coach Bill Robinson. “That’s saying a lot for a high school team.”

Last year, Mountain Mission had six kids sign Division I scholarships, sending players to Arizona State, Utah, West Virginia, Utah State and Penn. Asheville Christian had a player sign with Oklahoma last season and fields a strong team against this year.

Rabun Gap has a talented roster and is making its second trip to the area this year. The Eagles also played in the Roundball in the Palace event at Science Hill last month.

Admission for the full day is $5 for the general public and free for any Milligan student with an I.D. The women’s JV game will kick things off at 1 p.m.

— — —

The Milligan men’s basketball team is young, but the Buffs appear to be putting things together as the regular season enters the stretch run.

The Buffs recently reeled off a three-game winning streak to move up to the middle of the pack in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. That streak came to a screeching halt on the road at Reinhardt on Wednesday night, but Robinson said the ability to knock down some shots in recent weeks has created some momentum for his team.

“We’re starting to figure it out a little bit,” he said. “With young kids, a lot of it has to do with momentum. When you start playing well, you feel like you’re not going to ever lose, and then when you lose one, you starting feeling like you may never win another one.”

Offensively, the Buffs have been putting up big numbers, but the defensive end of the floor has been the challenge for Milligan so far. Robinson has been trying to switch defenses as much as possible to keep opponents off balance until his players get more cohesive defensively.

“With young kids, it’s not just learning how to play at the college level, it’s learning how to play together at the college level,” Robinson said. “I think that’s part of it, the trust and making sure everyone’s on the same page.”

The Buffs will get a shot to build more momentum on Saturday when St. Andrew’s comes to town for an AAC doubleheader. The women will play at 2 p.m. with the men to follow.

— — —

The indoor season will crank back up this weekend for the track and field team as the Buffs make the short trip to Johnson City to compete in the ETSU Invitational.

Highly-decorated senior Hannah Seagrave will be in action this weekend in the mile while junior JJ Robinson will run the 3K, an event she earned All-American honors in last year. Sarah Kate Gartman will also represent Milligan’s women in the 5K, while freshmen Katlyn Haas, Erica Stone, Liz Maller, Caelyn Thompson and Brianna Buck will look to make a splash.

Taylor Tafelsky, Mark Stair and Brandon Ellis will headline for the men’s team. Tafelsky will run the mile, Stair will compete in the high jump and Ellis will run the 5K. The men also have plenty of freshmen in the mix, including Alijah Dunn, Zach Thayer, Romeo Gibbs and Tons Ferguson.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos