Milligan U celebrates Senior Day, splits with Bryan

Published 10:25 am Monday, February 20, 2023

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By Ron Marvel
Star Correspondent
Milligan University played their final home and regular season game and had anything but an easy game scheduled on the docket with Bryan College, as both their Men’s and Women’s teams have had very strong seasons. The Bryan Women’s team came in looking to clinch first place in the conference, while the Bryan Men’s team was looking to clinch second. This game would also serve as Senior Night and allow the University and athletic staff to acknowledge this senior class one more time for their contributions.
Women’s- Bryan 72 Milligan 57
For three and a half periods, the Lady Buffs gave Bryan all they could handle, pulling to within a point at 58-57 with just 4:00 minutes left in the game. Unfortunately, the Lady Buffs would be outscored 14-0 to end the game, and send the Lady Buffs to a third-place finish in the Appalachian Athletic Conference.
Steve Lacy Field House was near capacity and rocking as the game kicked off, the two teams would trade jabs early. Stacia Wilson would get a stick back to push the Lady Buffs to an 8-5 lead, only to see the Lady Lions hit a three-pointer to tie things back up at eight all. After the Lions took a 13-11 lead, Milligan would respond with a 7-0 run of their own, including a long three-pointer by Jaycie Jenkins, to end the first period with the Lady Buffs holding an 18-13 lead. The Lady Buffs would push their lead to 22-15 after a short jumper by Jenkins, only to see the Lady Lions go on a 10-0 run to retake the lead at 25-22. Bryan would hold onto a lead throughout the rest of the second period before pushing it to nine points with just 1:45 left before Lauren Longmire would hit back-to-back three-pointers to close the lead to four points, 35-31 going into the break.
The third period would see Bryan push the lead back to double digits before the Lady Buffs would start to whittle away. Semaj Clark and Longmire would start the rally with back-to-back layups and the Lady Buffs would drop the Lady Lions lead to just six points to start the final period, 53-47. Milligan would continue to rally, closing to a single possession several times at the midway point of the final period. Unfortunately, they could get no closer and Bryan would hit their free throws in the final minutes to extend their lead back to double digits.
The Lady Buffs would finish the regular season at 19-11. Longmire would lead the Lady Buffs with 16 and Clark would chip in 12. After the game, former Cloudland standout Stacia Wilson would be one of the Seniors acknowledged; after the ceremony, she would talk about how this experience has been a real blessing to her, “this has been amazing; when I was in high school, I didn’t think I wanted to play in college but I realized one day I didn’t want to hang them up. I would just tell any girl playing now, don’t overthink it give your all and just have fun.” Milligan University Head Women’s Basketball Coach Kylie Greer would share what Stacia has meant to the program, “Stacia is tough; her instincts are so good! She has had an injury she’s been trying to push through so we limited her minutes today but we are going to need her next week for tournament play.” Coach Greer added, “I want some mountain girls on my squad; there is a toughness in them like Stacia that just comes from those small mountain schools Cloudland, Hampton, North Greene. I want to recruit from schools like that; they know how to win,” she stated.
Men’s Milligan 82 Bryan 76
Milligan men’s squad got some needed momentum for the upcoming AAC Tournament, knocking off Bryan and winning four of their last five games. The Lions would jump out to a 21-11 lead, but the Buffs would respond by going on a 27-9 run and would be sparked by Sami Sanad and Dylan Bartley as they would go into the locker room up 38-30.
 The Buffs would push their lead to double digits throughout most of the second half but the Lions would rally late to pull within three at 73-70. But when they needed it the most, Dylan Bartley would get a couple of free throws and Sanad would hit a huge three-pointer, bringing the Milligan faithful to their feet to push the lead back to 78-70 and then hold on for the six-point win. Sanad would score a career-high 26 points on the day, while Sam Gold and Dylan Bartley would chip in 12 and 11, respectively.
Both Milligan teams will start tournament play next week in Kingsport at the Meadow View Marriot Convention and Conference Center with the boys playing Wednesday at 2:30 against Truett McConnell and the girls playing Thursday at 5:30 versus Montreat.

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