By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Brighton Lady Cardinals waited patiently for their new Head Coach David Wampler throughout October and November as he finished up his football coaching duties.
When Wampler arrived to the Brighton Gymnasium, he had to install his game plans, style of play and culture on an accelerated pace. After a rough start to the season, the Lady Cardinals got a reward for their hard work Friday night beating area rival the Millington Lady Trojans 58-34 in the William Osteen Gymnasium.
“We’re so young,” Wampler noted. “We only have four girls who don’t play JV. This is our third game this week. We’re undefeated in JV right now. We got blown out in the first game and had two weeks to make adjustments.
“The biggest thing I’ve seen is they’re playing hard,” he added. “We’re not playing pretty all the time, but they’re playing hard. Every day we get a little bit closer. The other night at Ripley we get beat by 5. We missed 12 layups and go 1 of 10 from the line.”
Wampler and the Lady Cardinals made adjustments before taking on Millington. After Lady Cardinal Taliyah Brown traded baskets with Lady Trojan Traci Clark, Brighton responded with a 8-0 run.
MG Smith started the Lady Cardinals’ run with a foul shot. Then Lindsey Morrissett heated up with a layup and jumper to make the score 7-2. After a free throw from Sylvia “Buck” Jones, Morrissett was at it again nailing a baseline jumper to make the tally 10-2. Brighton led 17-4 after one quarter.
“We came in here tonight and didn’t miss many layups,” Wampler said. “We rebounded and made some free throws. We continued to play hard on defense. Right now, that’s what we have to do is concentrate on defense and hope it creates some offense.”
The Lady Cardinals’ pressure in the second quarter led to Brighton outscoring Millington 21-7. Brighton scored on the fast break and by feeding the post with players like Onyx Magno and Smith.
Brown closed the first half with a pair of steals leading to buckets and a 38-11 halftime lead.
The Lady Trojans came out the locker room firing in the third quarter with an 11-0 run sparked by Clark three-pointers and teammate Marquisha Sanders driving to the rim. The score was 38-22.
Smith ended the Lady Trojans’ run with a layup. Then Lady Cardinal Aubree Jones scored on a drive and drew a foul to complete a three-point play.
After a Kailey Hunt jumper, Brighton led 45-27 late in the third quarter. Hunt, Morrissett and Jones made buckets in the fourth quarter to help the Lady Cardinals march toward victory.
Wampler said those players fed off the energy and play-making of Brown and Jones.
“I just hope they continue to get confidence,” he concluded. “That’s what they were lacking — confidence. You can see it in JV, they’re wearing it out. They come in the first two varsity games with 2 points and 4 points. Tonight they took what they did in JV and played well tonight.”