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Wolf Attack: Trojans see district win slip through their hands

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Trojan Garcia in lane Trojan Julian Daughtry drive

Millington Trojan junior guard Julian Daughtry faces press from the Cordova Wolves Friday night during the opening round of the District 14-3A Boys' Tournament in the William Osteen Gymnasium.

Millington Trojan junior guard Julian Daughtry faces press from the Cordova Wolves Friday night during the opening round of the District 14-3A Boys’ Tournament in the William Osteen Gymnasium.

Trojan Roddarius Pitts uses a pump fake to create space for a layup Friday night.

Trojan Roddarius Pitts uses a pump fake to create space for a layup Friday night.

The bracket of hanging in the William Osteen Gymnasium read Millington vs. Cordova in the first round of the District 14-3A Boys’ Basketball Tournament.
But by game’s end Friday night, most spectators were saying it was poor rebounding vs. bad free throw shooting. And despite the Cordova Wolves going 5 of 18 down the stretch from the line, it was the Millington Trojans missing on two key defensive rebounds that lead to a 55-50 victory in the favor of Cordova.
With Wolves Head Coach Terrance Scales serving a suspension, Assistant Coach Marcus Matthews moved down a seat running the show. Matthews was relieved when free throws found their mark in the final seconds for that five-point cushion.
“I felt great watching them go in but we also got two huge offensive rebounds off free throw misses,” he noted. “The guys might have been a little tight or maybe a little too excited. But at key parts of the game they still boxed out and made big rebounds for us that counted for us.”
Those two boards helped reserve a spot for Cordova in the Semifinals and Region 7-3A Tournament starting Saturday. Meanwhile the Trojans watched their 2013-14 season come to an end despite gutty efforts from players like Roddarius Pitts, Jordan Browning and junior Julian Daughtry.
“I feel like we weren’t putting out a full effort in the beginning,” Daughtry acknowledged. “We were a little too relaxed. We fought back and stayed in it, but we just couldn’t pull it out tonight.
“I was playing for my seniors so they have a good run in the tournament,” he added. “I tried hard to make it the next round but it didn’t happen tonight.”
Despite a slow start from the Trojans, the game was close throughout the first half. Kensen Carmichael paced the Wolves with multiple baskets helping Cordova take a 11-9 lead after one quarter.
Then it was the Trojan trio of Pitts, Browning and Daughtry kept Millington close at 19-16. But when Carmichael raced down the other end of the court for a fast-break slam, Cordova was up 23-16.
Pitts heated up before the end of the first half with 6 points and the Trojans trailed 29-26 at the break.
Millington cut the deficit to 30-28 early in the third quarter when Davonte Winston made a steal and attack the rim for a powerful slam. Pitts deadlock the contest at 30-30 with a layup.
Carmichael stepped up again for the Wolves making a basket. Cordova build a 35-30 advantage before Pitts made another basket in the lane.
Winston drew the Trojans within a point with a pair of foul shots. Then the Wolves closed out the third quarter on a 8-0 run to lead 43-34 entering the fourth quarter.
Millington opened the final period with a 7-2 run. Two Browning to Winston connections sparked the run.
Then Cordova jumped back ahead 49-42. Daughtry made a floater to make the score 49-44.
After the Wolves went 1 of 2 from the line, Daughtry made a pair of foul shots to make the score 50-46.
Once again Cordova only made one foul shot setting up Daughtry. The junior guard was able to tip the ball back into the basket to make the score 51-48.
The score became 52-48 with 26.3 seconds remaining when the Wolves only made 1 of 2 foul shots again. Daughtry was fouled and he was able to nail both of his foul shots to make the score 52-50.
Then the junior guard fouled out. It seemed for a minute his sacrifice would pay off when Cordova missed the second foul shot. But an offensive rebound kept the possession alive for the Wolves.
Cordova’s activity on the boards ended up paying off and giving the Wolves a 55-50 victory.
“A win is always a good win, that’s the old cliché,” Matthews said.  It’s true. As a four seed we should beat a five seed. We played all season to get to this point to have an advantage. But I can’t say it really was an advantage because we’re in their building. But I’m pleased with the win.
“The free throw shooting was embarassing,” he acknowledged. “I applaud coach for deciding to foul us. It was a great strategy. I’m just glad he didn’t do it sooner.”
Daughtry said he wished the season could continue for players like Browning, Pitts, Winston, Lakeron Garcia, Devynn Brandon, Dwight Greer, Jarkell Freeman and Nick Hunt.
“They taught me to be more of a leader and take control, and we have to play hard every second,” Daughtry said. “They all taught me a little bit.”
Matthews said the win over Millington put the rest of the league on notice. Last year the Wolves came in as a low seed and ended up winning the championship.
“We are still the district champions,” he concluded. “That remains the case for a couple more games. And we plan to be in that final game to defend our championship.”

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