Jennings scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to pace the Yellowjackets to a 65-35 victory.
“As soon as we started to close out on shooters and play good defense early, we started to get a good transition game going, so that kind of sparked us to start pulling away,” said Milton coach Chris Brown. “We were moving the ball well and didn’t have a letup in the second half, which was nice to see.
“Jennings is kind of the separation between us and a lot of the other teams we have played so far. He can score, has great basketball I.Q., and can shoot from anywhere on the floor, which makes him tough to defend.”
It was a difficult day for the Thunderbirds, who were missing two players to illness, including their lone senior in Hunter Nunes-Wales. That left Missisquoi with only three reserves, one of who was also sick.
“I thought we held pretty tough for starting two sophomores and three freshmen today,” said Missisquoi coach Jim Bose. “Milton is a very good team and playing well, but I was happy with what we saw from our young guys. We have some kids that can shoot, but we aren’t as big as some of the teams like Milton, so it’s tough. But I was happy with how the kids battled.”
After Missisquoi kept things interesting in the first quarter, down only 19-13, Milton started to use its depth to its advantage. The Yellowjackets extended their lead to 18 by the half and 24 by the end of the third quarter.
Seth Herrity tossed in 11 points for Milton, all in the first half.
Rotating five players at a time at times throughout the game, Brown said the experience his entire team is getting is a reason for its success and will continue to be a big part moving forward.
“We are working toward getting as much depth on our team as we can,” said Brown. “There isn’t a lot of dropoff between who we start and who we get in off the bench. So now we are just finding out who can run our sets both offensively and defensively and see who can do what in game situations. In games like this when we had the lead in the second half, it gives us a chance to see what guys can run what and gives us an idea of who we can use where going forward.
“Team rebounding is key for our team,” Brown added. “Today we had six different players with three or more rebounds. What makes us a good team is all the contributions each player makes. Some guys are good at scoring, or rebounding, or on the ball D or help D. Some guys create scoring for other players, some guys provide balance on the floor. Guys that lead us in scoring get a lot of credit, all well deserved. And each guy that steps on the floor to help us compete deserve a lot credit too. Great win for all 13 guys that played today.”
Jennings led the rebounding effort with eight, while Herrity had four assists and three steals to go with his scoring. Deven Cremer finished with 10 points, including a wide-open slam dunk in the third quarter that brought the home crowd and bench to its feet. Cremer also grabbed three rebounds. Colby Mason had four points and five rebounds, while Milton got two points each from Sam Patterson (4 rebounds), Andrew Harvey (4 rebounds), Colby Ducharme (3 rebounds, 2 assists), and Kyle Brown (steal, assist). Tyler Farrar grabbed two boards and assisted twice, while Tre Sherwood pulled down a pair of rebounds.
Ethan Creller led the Thunderbirds (0-8) with 18 points.
Despite his team struggling to find baskets at times throughout the game, Bose was happy with the effort his young squad showed throughout. MVU visits BFA-Fairfax on Monday.
“This team plays with a tremendous amount of heart every minute they are on the court and they never give up,” he said. “We had three reserves today. One was sick and the other two played in the JV game, so we were limited who we could put out there. But everyone who was on the floor gave everything they had out there, so I was very happy with the effort they have been showing.”
Brown has been impressed with his team through 10 games, as they sit at 9-1 in Division II with their lone loss against Division I BFA-St. Albans.
They will look to make it two wins in a row when they travel to Mt. Abraham on Tuesday.
“Consistency on the defensive end has given us an opportunity to start the season 9-1,” said Brown. “Playing BFA was a good test for us, so we know we can learn from that gave and keep improving on everything as we go forward.”