Categorized | Sports

Trojans take second at St. Benedict Tournament

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

CORDOVA – The ch

Trojans hold the second place plaque at the St. Benedict Tournament.

Trojans hold the second place plaque at the St. Benedict Tournament.

 

El Paso Johnson slams home two points.

El Paso Johnson slams home two points.

ampionship game of the 2012 St. Benedict Holiday Invitational turned out to be a title bout of North Shelby County.

And at the end of the night Dec. 29 the team walking out of the St. Benedict Gymnasium with gold on their plaque was the Bolton Wildcats. It took overtime for the Wildcats to edge their rival, the Millington Trojans 61-57.

“This is a good confidence builder going into our district,” Bolton Head Coach DJ Simpson said. “The kids have been peaking at the right time. The last two games we’ve had have been overtime. They have shown well and heart and been having an attitude of not wanting to quit.

“That’s what’s important,” he added. “They play hard and I’m just so proud of these kids. I feel this group has a lot to offer.”

Saturday began with the Trojans heating up the cold night with their offense building a 13-5 lead. Millington guard Jordan Browning hit two triples and Millington post players DeCarlos Holmes and El Paso Johnson contributed 5 points.

When Millington guard Jerick Newsome drove to the rim for a bucket, the Trojans had an 8-point lead. Bolton responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 13-13.

Tournament MVP Chris Taylor sparked the rally with back-to-back three-pointers. Then a pair of free throws by DeAunte Houston even the score.

Johnson helped Millington regain the advantage with a layup and three-pointer. The Trojans were ahead 18-15 after one quarter.

The pace of the game slowed down in the second quarter with both teams scoring 8 points. Wildcat guard Trebor Jackson had three of those points nailing a triple.

Newsome paced the Trojans with a pair of drives resulting in baskets. Millington maintained its three-point lead at the break with the score 26-23.

The offensive tempo picked up for both teams in the third quarter. Millington built a 6-point lead at one point behind an outburst by Johnson.

The Millington senior forward hit a three-pointer and made a layup giving the Trojans a 41-35 advantage. But before the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter, Houston made a put-back basket to make the tally 41-37.

The Wildcats came out on fire in the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run. Jackson jumpstarted his team again with two layups. Then Taylor went to work with a bucket giving Bolton a 43-41 lead. Holmes tied the game for Millington with a jumper.

Houston gave the lead back to Bolton with a drive to the rim. When Taylor hit a three-pointer from the baseline the Wildcats were ahead 48-43.

It was Millington’s turn to overcome adversity. Holmes cut the Bolton lead to three with a basket. Then Newsome races up the court tossing an alley-oop pass to Johnson for a slam that made the score 48-47.

Taylor slowed down the Millington momentum with a floater. Then the guard hit another three-pointer that made the score 53-47.

Johnson trimmed the deficit to four points with a drive to the rim for a lay-in. Holmes made the score 53-51 attacking the boards for a put-back bucket. In the final 30 seconds of regulation, Johnson scored his 20th point and tied the game at 53-53 with a layup.

The last 20 seconds of the game went scoreless with charge call, a turnover and a steal resulting in a miss at the buzzer for the Wildcats.

In overtime Browning tied the game at 55-55 with an aerobic layup. After that shot Bolton outscored Millington 6-2 down the stretch to earned the championship.

Trojans Newsome and Johnson were named to the All-Tournament team. Jackson and Harvey Anthony were also named to the All-Tournament squad. Taylor with 21 points in the title game was named MVP for his three-game effort.

“It’s easy to say I got the individual award,” Simpson said. “But the most important is the one we hold up as a team. It’s a team game and it was a team effort. We have kids who step up night in and night out.”

Bolton used big performances for their players to beat Fayette and St. Benedict to reach the title game. The Trojans path to the Saturday night championship was Holy Innocent and Brentwood.

The St. Benedict Tournament gave the District 14-3A foes a preview of what’s to come in January and February.

“Millington is a tough team,” Simpson concluded. “I’m proud of how my kids played them. I think my team is tough as well. One thing about our district and one thing about kids, any given night anybody can beat anybody. That’s why you’ve got to go and compete.”

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