By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The host of the 2015 Millington Christmas Tournament presented by Oseman Insurance Agency had an ideal start against the Wooddale Cardinals.
On Dec. 21 in the William Osteen Gymnasium, the Millington Trojans used a new lineup to post a 69-59 victory.
“The outcome was we’ve got it done,” Millington Head Coach Rob Sabau said. “We did enough to win. By suspension we had a chance to play some of our younger players. They had some quality minutes which is a plus. Bu the negative is we had to suspend three players for missing a practice on Saturday.
“And two of them were our defensive catalyst,” he added. “But we got it done and we’re moving on. And now we’ve got Olive Branch. They’ve got three kids who are 6’6 or taller, but they’re all freshmen. Kind of like our freshmen, they play like freshmen at times.”
Olive Branch’s freshmen and seniors played well against Millington winning the game to advance to the championship round against the MUS Owls.
The Trojans were defeated in the third-place game by the Kingsbury Falcons. Millington senior Kelvin Jones was named to the All-Tournament team.
Jones was one of the key contributors in Millington’s opening round win against Wooddale. Playing some point guard, Jones located teammates like Cameron Crawford for baskets giving keeping the Trojans close. Wooddale led 13-10 after one quarter.
Crawford hit a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter. Then it was teammate Kolby Hollowell’s turn to heat up from the outside. The senior sharp shooter hit two treys giving Millington a 16-15 advantage.
Wooddale responded with a 6-0 run capped off by a shot from Roderrius Walls.
Trailing 21-16, Millington closed out the quarter on a 19-5 run started by another Hollowell three-pointer.
Crawford tied the game at 24-24 hitting a three-pointer. Later in the stretch, Jones hit a three-pointer giving Millington a 32-26 lead. Crawford closed out the half with another triple making the score 35-26.
In the third quarter Millington kept pace with the Cardinals behind buckets from Bryce Mattox, Mac Coulter and Cameron Tubbs. Sabau said it was good to give the younger players a chance to contribute in the victory over Wooddale.
With the Christmas Tournament in the books, Sabau said the rest of the Holiday season will be time to build toward a run in District 15-2A.
“We have to get back to playing the way we were before Covington — play like we did against Haywood,” he noted. “The four or five games before Covington, we played well enough to win the games. We were just learning how to win. Even though we have a number of seniors, some of them really never played varsity.
“We’re playing a sophomore a lot,” Sabau concluded. “We’re playing a freshman a lot. We’re playing guys who are still learning how to play basketball. If we can get back to playing basketball the way we did before Covington with that intensity, we’ll have a shot.”