By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The William Osteen Gymnasium scoreboard should have read: Munford Cougars 16, Cameron Crawford 15.
The Millington Trojans came out Saturday night getting 2016 off to a good start hitting his first five attempts from behind the arch. Crawford kept the Trojans in the game against their rivals Munford in the first 8 minutes with the Cougars holding a one-point advantage entering the second quarter.
Then it was time for Cougar senior guard Queyon Mills to get the hot hand. He scored 15 points in the second period to stretch out the Munford lead to 39-23 at the break.
The second half Domonique “Buckets McGhee” Bell grabbed the torch to light up the scoreboard leading to a 69-42 victory for the Cougars.
“We shot it well because we took good shots,” Munford Head Coach Ryan Ross said. “We got inside early. Then we started getting the inside/outside kick out for three. Those are the kinds of shots we want. You shoot a lot better if you get good ones. We were able to get good ones early.
“In the first quarter, we let the Crawford kid hit five threes,” he added. “We talked about it all week, ‘Not letting him get off and get shots off.’ He comes out and hits five on us. But once we started getting those stops, we’re pretty fast in transitions. We started getting out and creating buckets.”
Crawford actually made six three-pointers for Millington. By that time it was Munford 26, Crawford 18.
The Cougars increased their 16-15 lead from the first quarter with Mills going on personal 10-0 run. The senior guard started with a pair of foul shots. After a put-back basket by Mills, he drained a three pointer to make the score 23-15. Munford was ahead 26-15 with a Mills three-point play.
“I was just feeling myself,” he said. “They gave me all the space I wanted.”
Crawford ended Millington’s drought with his sixth triple. Mills answered that three-pointer with a trey of his own. Montrel Miller added to Munford’s advantage with a three-pointer.
The Cougars outscored Millington 7-5 the remainder of the first half to lead 39-23 at the break.
In the third quarter it was Bell’s turn to ice the game. The senior shooting guard made a layup giving Munford a 46-26 lead.
Moments later hit his a jumper to make the advantage 22 points. The score was 53-28 when Bell drained a triple.
“I just felt like I had to take over a little and then start getting everybody else involved in the game,” Bell said. “I had a couple of good shots. I fed off of him (Queyon) and everybody else. He had the hot hand early.”
Munford was ahead 57-30 entering the fourth quarter. The Cougars and Trojans both tallied 12 points in the final quarter.
Now both teams enter the heart of their district scheduled.
“It’s a positive way to start the second half of our season,” Mills said of the win over Millington.
“We have to lead hard and keep our minds focused,” Bell said. “We have to play our role in practice and help everybody keep their right mind.”
Ross said practice has been the key to his team’s turnaround from November into December. And he expects it to continue the progress entering District 13-3A play.
“In practice, I think we’ve turned the corner a little bit with practice,” he concluded. “They really understand the competitiveness of practice. Games should be easy because practice is that hard. I think they’re really turned the corner there and that makes us game ready.”