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Lady Trojans open season with roster full of youth against St. George’s

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Lady Trojans loose ball Lady Trojans Sanders upcourt

As time ticked off the clock in the William Osteen Gymnasium on opening night, Millington Lady Trojans were still diving to the court.
Bruce Marshall’s bunch didn’t stop hustling or giving full effort last Thursday as the St. George’s Lady Gryphons were working toward a 61-27 victory.
“The biggest thing I told them after the ballgame, ‘No matter what the score is, whether we’re up 40 or down 40, you played hard the entire 32 minutes,’” Marshall said. “I thought we played hard the entire ballgame. I told them we cannot lay down no matter what the score is. We don’t stop playing hard. That’s what Lady Trojans Basketball is not about.”
Those around the Millington program knew the 2013-14 season would be a learning experience with a roster full of freshmen and sophomores. Marshall graduated five players including Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Week, UT-Martin’s Tiara Caldwell.
With a bunch of new faces on the court, the Lady Trojans got off to a good start when Jherika Brown scored the first basket of the game with a layup. When senior guard Kendra Richardson fired a pass to sophomore post player Glenda Garner, Millington was ahead 4-2 in the first quarter.
Then St. George’s proceeded with a 12-0 run to close out the first quarter ahead 14-4. Falling behind by double digits, the Lady Trojans faced another challenge with Richardson on the bench with foul trouble.
While their most experienced player was on the sideline, the Lady Trojans impressed Marshall as they adjusted to life without Kendra in the second quarter.
“I hate to see Kendra get into foul trouble but this will have benefits for us down the road,” he noted. “Those young ones have to come in and play themselves instead of standing around watching to see what Kendra is going to do next.”
The Lady Trojans doubled their output in the second quarter with 8 points. But St. George’s tallied 22 points in the period to lead 36-12 at the break.
Millington got points from Marquisha Sanders, Gabby Knox and Garner. The sophomore interior player demanded the ball in the post. And guards like Lindsey Harris, Sanders and Brown started to feed it to her.
“I was really proud of the way Glenda played,” Marshall said. “Last year when I saw her in JV games, she was real emotional. She was up and down. She didn’t get the ball a lot early in the ball game. But when we were able to get the ball to her we were able to be successful. The biggest thing, she didn’t get into foul trouble tonight.”
Garner played smarter on both ends avoiding fouls while altering shots for the Lady Gryphons. On the offensive end she hit a jumper, made foul shots and even drained a three-pointer.
Although the deficit was double figures, Marshall said several positives can be taken from opening night for his young team.
“The biggest thing I told them tonight besides playing hard, ‘We have to keep learning from our mistakes,’” Marshall concluded. “We had a lot of those. We made a lot of bad decisions tonight. Maybe we played a little bit beyond our abilities allowed us. I thought we took pretty good shots. But I bet we had 30 plus turnovers. That’s 30 times we don’t get to shoot the basketball.”

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