By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Things were going smoothly for the Millington Lady Trojans.
Senior guard Kendra Richardson was making plays including nailing three-point shots during the first half November 26 against the St. Benedict Lady Eagles, the William Osteen Gymnasium scoreboard read 29-24 in favor of the Lady Eagles at the break.
And the Lady Trojans were still in it, midway through the third quarter. Then Millington’s experience reared it’s baby face leading to a St. Benedict pulling away for a 59-42 victory.
“You saw a lot of our youths trying to do things that they shouldn’t have been doing,” Millington Head Coach Bruce Marshall acknowledged. “We all of a sudden started trapping the rebounder, instead of getting back on defense. Which gave them some easy transition buckets.
“St. Benedict, they hadn’t won a game until tonight,” he continued. “But they’re still a good basketball team. But it’s still one I felt we gave away. We had some opportunities to do the little things we’ve been working on. We missed lay-ups and wide open shots. Eventually you’ve got to put the ball in the bucket. We’ve got to score some points.”
In the first quarter the Lady Trojans scored enough to tie the Lady Eagles at 12-12. In the early moments buckets from Glenda Garner and Jherika Brown were the only points for Millington as it trailed 12-4.
Then the Lady Trojans proceeded with an 8-0 run courtesy of Richardson. The senior guard drained back-to-back triples to make the score 12-10. And as the final seconds ticked off the clock in the first quarter Richardson stole the ball and raced to her goal for a lay-up.
In the second quarter St. Benedict scored the first four points. The Lady Trojans responded with a 7-3 run to deadlock the game at 19-19. The three-pointer from Marquisha Sanders tied the game at 19-19. The game was tied at 22-22. The Lady Eagles took the lead again with a free throw. Richardson gave Millington its first advantage with a layup at 24-23.
“I thought Kendra did a great job of trying to put us on her back,” Marshall said. “It’s still too many times the other kids are looking to throw it back to her. They’ve got to grow up. A lot them I told, ‘You can’t be a freshman. You’ve got to be a player. You’ve got to make plays and don’t be afraid to do it.’”
At the break Millington trailed by five points as St. Benedict closed out with a 6-0 run. The Lady Eagles were still ahead by that margin at 31-26. Richardson tried to keep the Lady Trojans in the contest with a couple of jumpers as Millington was behind 43-36 after three quarters.
St. Benedict outscored Millington 16-6 in the fourth quarter to earn its first win of the season. The Lady Trojans remained winless on the season, but Marshall said his young team made some positive steps at game’s end.
“I hope they’ve learn that we’ve still got to be able to play aggressively but with more composure,” he concluded. “It was times you could see them getting frustrated, getting lost. A lot of that is they have to work harder in practice and stay more focused on what we’re trying to do in practice. And things will get better.”