Categorized | Sports

Legendary Lady Trojan Hoopsters wrap up college careers

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Jasmine Newsome

Jasmine Newsome

LaTesa McLaughlin

LaTesa McLaughlin

Legend Link 1

The late 2000s were a glorious time for Millington Lady Trojan Basketball.
Under the guidance of then Head Coach Stan Gatlin, Millington racked up wins, championship, college players and respect. Several Lady Trojans contributed to the four straight Sectional round appearance, four District 14-3A championships and 2008 Class 3A State runner up.
Some of the award-winning players were Tamarah Brandon, Olivia Maddox, Ashley Robinson, Michele Brown, Jerrica Spencer, Sabrina Mathews and Jasmine Prophet. So many great memories from that era.
And two players stood out to this reporter from 2006 to 2010, LaTesa McLaughlin and Jasmine Newsome. Every dynasty has brain, heart and legs it stands on.
Of course Gatlin was the brains teaching fundamentals, preaching targets, basketball IQ, and tough defense. Gatlin created a team mindset from the uniforms to the pre-game huddle.
The heart of the program at that time was McLaughlin. When she arrived on campus from Woodstock Middle you could tell she was special.
Her confidence could be seen every time the No. 10 dribbled the ball or locked down on the opposing guard.
McLaughlin’s freshman season was the first for Gatlin at MCHS. The duo helped Millington reach the Regional Semifinals that year.
Then the next season the foundation of the Lady Trojans arrived from Kentucky. The word about an eighth-grade guard who played varsity basketball in the Bluegrass State started to spread around the Millington Central High School campus.
The myth came to life when I saw Newsome fire a laser from mid-court through seven players to reach her target for layup. The newest Lady Trojans could pass like LeBron James.
I wonder could she score, dominate and win like the NBA superstar. Over the next four years Newsome put James to shame.
McLaughlin took care of the defense while Newsome distributed the ball to teammates and the net. The duo’s history as Lady Trojans is well documented in banners and the record book.
McLaughlin owns the steals record at the school and most three-pointers in a game with 10. Newsome had a single-game to remember scoring 44 points at Briarcrest. She overheard one of the opposing coaches say “She can’t shoot.” That still makes me laugh.
That Lady Trojan single-game scoring mark was just part of more than 2,000 career points. Another all-time record belonging to Newsome is the assist mark.
Both players were signed by the University of Tennessee at Martin. But McLaughlin transferred to then NAIA power Union University.
There she has been a part of a National championship. McLaughlin is now a key member of the Lady Bulldogs’ transition to NCAA running the point. She’s the coach on the court as demonstrated at a recent game at Christian Brothers University.
Battling injuries, McLaughlin plays nearly every second keeping things flowing for Union. And that confident girl is now a mature vocal leader on the hardwood and in the classroom.
Up the road in Martin, Newsome stuck with the Lady Skyhawks. And just like in Millington, she’s rewriting the record books at UT-Martin.
With her sidekick Heather Butler, Newsome has guided the Lady Skyhawks to three NCAA Tournament appearances with as many Ohio Valley Conference titles. Newsome is the all-time assist leader at Martin and second in scoring for a career.
Newsome is only behind her teammate Butler, who recently broke the all-time scoring mark for the OVC.
Time has proven what McLaughlin and Newsome meant to the black and gold during that era. Both girls overcame personal tragedies, naysayers and an intense spotlight to reach basketball greatness.
As both prepare to wrap up their college careers, the residents in Flag City should be proud of the duo sticking it out and representing Millington on a high level.
Here is another salute to two of the best Millington Trojans of all-time. Time continues to prove that.

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