Coach David Boyd's Milton boys are off to their typically fast start. The Eagles entered Region 6-AAAAA games this week against Walton and Centennial with a 10-1 record after going 3-1 against national competition in Florida's 16-team City of Palms Classic.
Boyd, who won state championships at Campbell in 1982, Tucker in '96 and at Berkmar in 2000 and '01, shared his thoughts on why he believes his team is on course to avenge last season's loss to Wheeler in the Class AAAAA championship game.
1. Four returning starters: Juniors Julian Royal, Dai Jon Parker and Shannon Scott are averaging 17, 15 and 13 points, respectively, and sophomore Evan Nolte is averaging 14. "That experience has been a big help," Boyd said. "They've kept us really well-balanced in scoring. We've been very fortunate that our best players have been so unselfish, too, and have distributed the ball so well. Teams haven't been able to focus on only one or two of our guys."
2. A tough schedule: The Eagles began the season by beating defending Class AAAA champion Miller Grove and Norcross, before splitting with nationally ranked Westchester (Calif.) and Winter Park (Fla.) in City of Palms. "Our schedule is purposely tough, so we know we've had to keep playing our best," Boyd said. "We've wanted to play the toughest teams we can so we won't see anyone more difficult [in the state playoffs] than we've seen during the season. When you've got such good guys coming back, you have to play tough competition."
3. Solid defense: "We've got a great individual defender in Parker, who has guarded our opponents' best player game-in and game-out. But our team defense has also been really solid. We've played mostly man, but have mixed in a little zone, too. Interestingly, I've always had full-court pressing teams to increase the tempo of games, but lately, we've been playing more half-court defense and still forcing things and increasing the tempo by being aggressive."