North Forsyth’s collapsing defense smothered Tevin Glass in the paint, altering the four-star recruit’s shots. On the other end, Raiders guard Wade Allen rolled home a bucket that put North on top.
The home fans chanted “overrated,” and the players they supported were fired up.
For a few moments in their 83-35 loss Tuesday night in Coal Mountain, the Raiders were hanging with the fourth-best boys high school basketball team in the country, according to one poll. A team with as many as four players playing in the ACC or SEC next year.
It lasted exactly two minutes and 32 seconds.
Class AAAAA No. 1 Milton (19-4, 10-0 Region 6-AAAAA) blasted North a second time this season, tearing the ball away from the Raiders and hammering home dunks — 10, to be exact — in their 15th straight victory. Only one game during that stretch was decided by single digits, and the Eagles didn’t let up in Coal Mountain against a team they held to 11 points earlier this season.
“They’re the most athletic team that we’ll play against,” said North guard Chris Bureau, whose team fell to 3-19 (0-9 in region) and lost its 10th straight. “They don’t run any great offense or great defense, but on the fast break, man, they can throw it down, as you can see.”
Evan Nolte, a verbal commitment to Virginia, made two free throws at the first quarter’s 5:28 mark to give the Eagles the lead. Auburn commit Shaquille Johnson’s sky-high, two-handed slam moments later fully opened the floodgates, and the rout was on.
Johnson headlined the merciless charge, scoring 21 of his 23 points in the first half. Jalyn Patterson chipped in 11, and four other Eagles produced eight or more points.
Forward Brandon Rapson led North with 11 points.
Milton led 32-5 after a quarter and 57-18 at the half, turning most of North’s 17 turnovers during that span into easy transition points.
“We look so afraid of the basketball,” Moon said. “We’ve got to get good ball handling instilled in our program.
“You try to get your kids, outside of the season, playing against good kids. You know, find a gym that has good players and go play there every day.”
A frustrating campaign didn’t get any better for the Raiders, even though few would have expected them to challenge a team that’s played in the last three state championship games.
A 35-point showing was an improvement after the Raiders’ 76-11 loss at Milton earlier this season.
But there were bright spots. Rapson’s strength allowed him to make some plays in the post at both ends against players much quicker and taller than him. Bureau hit a pair of 3-pointers with two defenders in his face each time.
And a 10-1 North run to start the second half against the Eagles’ reserves prompted Milton coach David Boyd to re-insert his starters.
“I told our guys, you know, you make them put their starters back in, that’s probably a positive,” Moon said. “That’s out of respect for you that they had to do that.”
The score was 62-31 at that point, with 1:20 left in the third.
North would score only twice the rest of the way.
“You’re trying not to give up,” Bureau said. “It can get frustrating. Me personally, I just try playing as hard as I can. That’s the only thing you can do. Against a team like that that’s really getting after you, you’ve just got to be aggressive back at them and not bend over to them.”
A handful of North students waited outside the visitors’ locker room after the game to ask Johnson and other Milton players for their autographs. Guard Charles Mann is headed to Georgia next year, while Glass has yet to pick a college.
Even Bureau was a bit awestruck.
“I was telling my parents before the game, maybe one day [Milton’s players] will be in the NBA and I’ll be saying, ‘hey, I played against them,’” the senior said. “I can tell my kids that.”
North remained at the bottom of the region standings and will close out the schedule against Northview, West Forsyth and Centennial. Friday’s home tip against the Titans is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.