By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Maybe the Brighton Lady Cardinals were feeling pretty good entering Friday night’s home against the Millington Lady Trojans.
The Lady Cardinals entered the contest with a better record than Millington and above .500 in the process. But after 8 minutes of action, the Lady Trojans were ahead on the Brighton Gymnasium scoreboard 8-3.
“I was trying to figure out the same thing,” Brighton Head Coach Tiffany Porter said. “I told them during the first timeout, ‘You guys are putting me to sleep.’ My thing is we have to learn how to start playing from tipoff. We can’t wait until the second quarter or third quarter.”
Brighton’s wakeup call came in the second quarter with the Lady Cardinals outscored Millington 18-8 in the period. The Lady Cardinals seized control of the game in the third quarter behind solid defense and solid foul shooting. Brighton eventually prevailed 50-30.
“We came out slow,” Brighton junior guard Danielle Collins acknowledged. “I mean we came out amped up but I think we underestimated them in the first quarter.
“We came together as a team,” she continued. “It was our defense. It all started on the defensive end. The offense did the rest.”
Sam Sloan got Brighton on track early in the second quarter with a layup and foul shots. When MG Smith hit a jumper the Lady Cardinals finally took the lead at 10-8.
Later in the quarter when Sloan made another basket the score was 15-8.
Millington kept pace with Brighton with shots from Glenda Garner, Marquisha Sanders and Keyona Johnson. The Lady Cardinals were ahead 21-16 at the break.
“They jumped out on us 8-2,” Porter recalled. “They were kind of dead there in the first quarter. We woke up a little bit once we started to do some substitutions, different combinations.”
The flock of Lady Cardinals continued to swarm the Lady Trojans throughout the third quarter. Millington was forced to foul Brighton players several times throughout the period after the Lady Cardinals snatched rebounds or stole the ball.
Shayna Johnson led Brighton in scoring making shots in the post and nailing free throws. The Lady Cardinals were ahead 38-22 entering the fourth quarter.
Brighton coasted to victory outscoring Millington 12-8 in the final quarter.
“With us it’s building confidence at this point — focusing on fundamental basketball too,” Porter said. “It’s mainly about us building confidence and understand on any given night, anybody can be beaten. As along as they have confidence in themselves and their abilities, we’re going to be fine.”
Collins said what Porter is preaching and displaying to the Lady Cardinals is working.
“We’re coming together as a family,” the co-captain said. “Everything is starting to click with everybody on the floor.
“We’re not cocky,” Collins concluded. “We’re confident. We’re humble and we are thankful for what Coach Porter is doing for us. We’re going to keep working to prove everybody wrong.”