By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Millington Lady Trojans arrived in Munford Friday night with the size advantage featuring senior centers Treasure Reading and Tiara Caldwell in the starting lineup.
Munford Lady Cougars Head Coach Steve Poindexter instructed his players to attack the rim. One reason was to try to get the Lady Trojans in foul trouble. But the third-year Munford coach has another method to his madness.
“With our team, this was our seventh game,” he noted. “And if we’re known for something, we’re known as a team that can shoot the ball really well. Thus far, we have not shot the ball really well.”
The Lady Cougars had another subpar shooting night. But the pentration to the basket led to success and a 51-42 win over Millington.
“What we’ve been working on in practice and trying to focus on is, ‘Look we’re going to continue to take the shots we work on,’” Poindexter said. “‘We’re open, we are not going to stop shooting. But we have to be more aggressive attacking the basket.’ And that’s one of the things I saw more of tonight. I think we had more people trying to get to the rim.”
The main Lady Cougar attacking the rim was Robneisha “Bird” Lee. The senior forward used her sprinter speed to draw some fouls on mulitple Lady Trojans including Reading.
“We drew some fouls and it’s a whole lot harder to play them when they have two of them out there,” Poindexter noted. “When there’s one, that’s to our advantage. They had to take one of them out due to foul trouble. I think our kids did a good job of taking advantage of it.”
Reading wasn’t on the court for most of the second quarter. The score was 11-10 in favor of Munford after one quarter.
By the second quarter the Millington defenders started to collaspe back on players like Lee, Alex Turner, Precious Mills and Kierra Richardson and Kierra Webb. That freed up one of Munford’s trademark shooters, Shalyiah Wiggins.
The senior guard hit back-to-back triples that made the score 20-13. Munford build its lead to 26-17 with baskets from Webb and Lauren Zvolanek. The first half ended with Caldwell scoring on a put-back bucket that made the halftime score 26-19.
Caldwell was just getting started. The UT-Martin signee scored 5 of 7 points for Millington during once stretch in the third quarter to make the score 35-30 in favor of the Lady Cougars.
“She’s a great player,” Poindexter said of Caldwell. “Obvisiously, from last year to this year, she’s a better player. I think anybody who has seen her will say she’s better than she was. She’s been working.”
The Lady Trojans post player made a foul shot, hit another put-back basket and made a layup. Bird stopped Caldwell’s roll by getting back to the Munford game plan. She drove to the rim and scored a layup making the tally 37-30 after three quarters.
Caldwell got her team the closest it would come in the beginning of the fourth quarter with a three-point play. Bird once again had the answer to Caldwell. Her three-point play made the score 40-33.
After Caldwell made a layup to trim the deficit to five, Wiggins drained a three-pointer to give the Lady Cougars an eight-point lead.
Down the stretch Munford iced the game from the line. Bird made four foul shots late in the quarter to add to her total of 25 points. Wiggins finished the night with 13 points.
Caldwell led Millington with 18 points and her teammate Erin Clark contributed 11 points.
Poindexter and the Lady Cougars improved to 5-2 on the season beating Millington. With another cool night from the field, the leader of Munford said players like Lee sticking to the game plan made the victory over the Lady Trojans possible.
“We anticipated one of the bigs guarding her,” he concluded. “We just wanted her to be under control, but attack with the mindset of, ‘I”m going to go in here and finish.’ That’s what we talked about, we were going to attack them early. We did a good job of isolating in the right spots. She did a good job. She sees the floor pretty well”