By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Before the 10 Millington Trojan seniors played their last regular-season home game in the William Osteen Gymnasium, it was time for a quick trip down memory lane.
On Feb. 12, Millington Athletic Director Beth Hale stood nearby the Senior Night festivities with a larger white banner in her hands. As public address announcer Mark Healy introduced her to the large crowd, she unvieled the banner to display a gold background in black trim reading 2009-10 Shelby County Freshman Basketball Champions.
Most of the Trojans current seniors were on that championship team under Rob Sabau. All the 12th graders ran toward the banner to finally be honored.
“It meant a lot because we worked real, real hard,” Trojan senior guard Kelby Hollowell said. “We’ve been talking about being champions and we want to get back to that moment. It was a good feeling to see that banner.
“They’re all my brothers,” he added. “We’ve been playing together since the sixth grade. When we made this bond, it’s hard to get off of it. They’re my brothers and I love them.”
The brotherhood developed for the Class of 2013 through middle school courts and the classroom. Over time players like Willie Mudbone and DeCarlos Holmes were added to the corps. group.
In the seventh grade players like Hollowell, Jerick Newsome and El Paso Johnson were a part of the Millington Stallions Region Championship squad. All those days of playing together were highlighted by a 51-46 Senior Night win over the Bartlett Panthers.
“It’s been a long road to this point right now,” Newsome said. “It’s been hard work. Keeping your head up all those years we were losing. We have to continue to play as a team and stay a family. We wanted to make sure we won this night and make this night very special.”
The night was special for Newsome, Hollowell, Johnson, Holmes, Mudbone, Kendrick Carter, Jonathan Patterson, Antonio Webber, Tevin Oliver and Juvan Ballard.
Of the 10 seniors, two have played varsity basketball four years. Newsome and Hollowell played for former Millington Head Coach Keith Wood as ninth graders.
Newsome played several games that season and Hollowell was brought up in time for the postseason run after winning MVP of the Freshman Basketball Tournament.
After the win over Bartlett it was time to start their final playoff run with the Trojans.
“We have the talent to go all the way to State,” Hollowell noted. “It’s put-up or shut-up time. We have to play hard. We have to come out an play every game like our last.”
Newsome said with the seniors and key players like Jordan Browning, LaKeron Garcia and Roddarius Johnson in the mix, the Trojans are deep enough to beat any team in District 14-3A.
“We’ve all got to be clicking,” Newsome said. “Be on point and play as a team. If we play as a team we’re unstoppable. We’ve got shooters. We’ve got big men and we’ve got guards. We have everything you can ask for in a team.
“Records are 0-0 now,” he concluded. “It’s district time. It’s time to win. It’s put-up or shut-up, go home. If you don’t want to go home, you have to win.”
Newsome, Hollowell and their teammates had an uphill climb most of the night in the District 14-3A Tournament against Arlington. The Trojans left the Cordova Gymnasium court defeated and with their season coming to an end losing 67-57.