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Trojans still working on early season issues, progress evident with victory over St. Benedict

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Trojans Winston Dunk 1 Trojans Winston dunk 2

Trojan forward Davonte Winston explodes to the rim for an one-arm slam during first half action last week against the St. Benedict Eagles, leading to a 58-52 Millington victory.

Trojan forward Davonte Winston explodes to the rim for an one-arm slam during first half action last week against the St. Benedict Eagles, leading to a 58-52 Millington victory.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, Millington Trojans Head Coach Rob Sabau maybe had another holiday on his mind watching his team take on the St. Benedict Eagles.
As his team ran up and down the William Osteen Gymnasium court on November 26, Sabau was watching a familiar script play out. His team’s 58-52 victory reminded him of the 1993 Bill Murray comedy film Groundhog Day.
In that flick, Murray played a weatherman with the assignment of covering the traditional event in Punxsutawney but he ends up waking up, reliving the same day over and over again.
So far in the young season, Sabau has worked the sidelines watching his team do a lot of the same things correct. But it’s one aspect of the game that has frustrated the Trojans’ leader.
“Except for the one game against Dyer County, it’s what we’ve been doing the whole season,” he noted. “We had some lapses defensively. Offensively, I think we’re OK. We didn’t score as much as we normally do tonight.
“But we have plenty of firepower,” Sabau continued. “Although we don’t have the size we still create inside with our guards. Our problem is strictly defensively and our decision making toward the end. We had two turnovers and we took a lay-up I thought we probably should have turned down there at the end. But with this team, although we’ve got some seniors, they don’t have a lot of experience. So it’s a learning process.”
Once a lot of the Trojans’ lessons kick in, Sabau said he expects to see better results on the defensive end. The veteran coach said with the pieces he has on the court, Millington will be a better team from November and December to January and February.
“We’ve shown progress in every game if you throw out that one game with Dyer County where we played really, really bad,” he added. “It’s just a learning process. And that’s what it was tonight.”
The process started with a 17-17 tie after one quarter against St. Benedict. Roddarius Pitts paced the Trojans with a couple of triples late in the opening period.
It was a lay-up by Pitts that made the score 24-20 in favor of Millington in the second quarter.
But the Eagles closed out the first half on a 10-2 run.
Sabau noted it was the lack of help-side defense that allowed the St. Benedict rally leading to an Eagles’ 30-26 halftime advantage.
And the familiar trend of defensive lapses continued to plaque the Trojans in the opening moments of the third quarter with St. Benedict building its lead to 34-26. Pitts’ layup ended the Trojans’ drought.
Trailing 38-31, Millington appeared to make an adjustment on defense and used it’s offense for a 12-3 run to end the third period ahead 43-41.
The Trojans’ run was sparked once again by Pitts with the senior hitting another three-pointer. Then his cohort Jordan Browning got into the long-range act nailing a triple of his own to make the score 38-37.
With 22 seconds left in the third Pitts gave Millington the lead with a three-pointer at 40-38. St. Benedict went back ahead with a trey.
The Trojans regained the lead when Davonte Winston drove to the basket for a layup drawing a foul. His three-point play made the score 43-41.
The fourth quarter was a seesaw affair with St. Benedict taking a 45-43 lead. Browning hits a three to make the score 46-45 in favor of the Trojans.
The Eagles tie the game at 48-48 before Browning hit’s another trey to give Millington the advantage for good. Trojan LaKeron Garcia made a pair of foul shots to make the tally 53-48.
St. Benedict closed to within 53-50, but Winston, Pitts and Browning made foul shots down the stretch to give the Trojans a 58-52 victory.
“Wins always help because it builds confidence,” Sabau said. “It’s easy for me to say, ‘Guys we’re going to get better.’ But if they don’t see some results, they’re going to get frustrated. As a coaching staff we have to keep their heads in the right direction.
“And we’re capable of beating everybody on our schedule,” he concluded. “I honestly believe that. How far are we going to progress and get better? That’s why I’m glad district is not until January and February so we can work out these kinks and get these guys some experience.”

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