By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels were primed to end their winless drought in the Millington/TRA series Dec. 13.
The history of the crosstown hoops rivalry has been one sided with the Millington Trojans winning games in grand fashion. The single-game Millington scoring record of 47 points was set against the Rebels.
Last season the Trojans pulled away from the Rebels to win 74-52. With Millington graduating its entire starting lineup and a new coach in Jewel Gates in the mix, TRA saw a golden chance to steal a win from the other team in Flag City.
The Rebels were well on their way toward that historic victory when Howard Gray hit a go-ahead shot with 6 seconds remaining to put TRA ahead 54-53.
But the Trojans had one more chance to leave Rosemark keeping the streak alive. After Cameron Tubbs tossed the inbound pass to Cameron Craft. The guard located teammate Hunter Klutts for a three-pointer.
Klutts’ shot missed and bounced off the hands of fellow Trojan Bobby Macklin. The ricochet found Tubbs racing up the floor. With less than a second remaining, Tubbs tossed a shot toward the rim finding nothing but net and giving Millington a 55-54 win.
“No I haven’t ever hit a game winning shot,” Tubbs said. “So it feels pretty good to come out there get a win for my team. A six-game losing streak, that’s too long. It feels good to actually win. So hopefully we’ll get plenty more.”
Millington entered the TRA Gymnasium trying to bounce back from its recent woes. Behind the solid shooting of Klutts the Trojans were ahead 15-11 after one quarter.
The Rebels rallied back behind the shooting of Dillon Munn and Carter Weakley. Weakley drove to the paint and used a spin move to hit a floater to make the score 21-19 in favor the Trojans.
Millington closed out the first half on a 10-5 to lead 31-24 at halftime.
The Trojans appeared to seize control of the game in the third quarter building a 9-point advantage. But the Rebels responded in the fourth quarter with a 11-0 run.
Weakley scored 5 points during that stretch tying the game at 42-42. Sheldon Spence hit a pair of foul shots to give TRA a 44-42 lead.
The game remained close with Munn hit a hook shot to give TRA a 48-47 lead. Then the game turned into a free-throw shooting contest.
The Rebels made 4 of 6 attempts. Meanwhile Millington hit 6 of 6 with Klutts’ final two foul shots making the score 53-52 in favor of Millington with 15.2 seconds left.
TRA Head Coach Michael Moore set up a play for Gray. The athletic guard used his dribbling to drive into the lane to get a shot off. The jumper connected giving TRA the lead at 54-53 with 6 seconds remaining.
Gate’s called a timeout to set up Millington’s final possession. Although the play call was executed, the shot didn’t connect. Tubbs was there for the rescue.
“I got to get it up,” Tubbs recalled. “I like the mid-range game so I pulled it. I heard Coach’s voice saying take more shots. So I did that in this game. I got the results I wanted.”
The 55-54 victory kept Millington’s streak going and Tubbs hopes propels them to greater heights the rest of the season.
“It was very important,” he said. “It give us momentum going into our next game which is against Munford another rivalry. We’ll just keep on moving forward from here.
“I believe that game-winning shot is going to evolve us into a better team,” Tubbs concluded. “It will help us also take on this district game and prepare us.”