By Thomas Sellers Jr.
On the eve of the first big winter event of 2016, a few residents of Haywood County and Millington entered the warm William Osteen Gymnasium for some basketball.
The district contest between the Haywood Lady Tomcats and Millington Lady Trojans was moved up a day with the expectations of inclement weather hitting West Tennessee Friday morning. Thursday night was a chance for the Lady Tomcats led by sophomore sensation Jamirah Shutes to get a second win over Millington.
The Lady Trojans were out for revenge after losing to Haywood on Dec. 15. Millington was in position for victory only trailing 20-13 after the first quarter.
Then the Lady Tomcats achieved a double-digit lead in the second quarter and maintained it until the final buzzer winning 66-41.
The halftime score of the contest was 38-24 in favor of Haywood. Lady Trojans like Keyona Johnson, Glenda Garner and Tamia Aldridge kept Millington within shouting distance with buckets in the second quarter.
Johnson nailed a three-pointer while Garner made two baskets in the post. Aldridge’s three-point play made the score 33-24 late in the first half.
Haywood closed with the final 5 points of the second quarter. And the Lady Tomcats outscored Millington 14-7 in the third quarter.
“We have been very good at coming out for the third quarter in a lot of the game against the better teams,” Millington Head Coach Bruce Marshall said. “Haywood has a very good basketball team. We had a lot of unforced turnovers to where we just made bad passes. We didn’t step to meet the ball. So people were able to jump in front and get the steals. Just little things that we’ve got to be better at executing when we come out for the second half.”
When Shutes drained a triple in the third quarter, the score was 52-31 heading into the fourth quarter. Millington was held to 10 points in the fourth quarter while Haywood managed to put 14 more points of the scoreboard for the 25-point victory.
Marshall noted it was inconsistent play in transition that led to his team’s demise. He said the Lady Trojans will work on the problem areas in practice heading toward the district tournament next month.
“We’ve just got to keep working hard at practice as we play more games,” he said. “We’ve got Covington which presses a lot. They want to create a lot of chaos. We go to Liberty Tech. They want to up the tempo.
“We’ve just got to keep working hard in practice against each other to where we are more prepared for those teams,” Marshall concluded. “And we have to be better with the basketball in practice.”