By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The two high schools that reside in Millington city limits faced off in the Tipton-Rosemark Academy Gymnasium Dec. 13.
The visiting Millington Lady Trojans have never dropped a contest to crosstown rivals the TRA Lady Rebels. But the youthful Lady Rebels and their first-year Head Coach Cameron Pridemore didn’t know the history of Millington vs. TRA. That ignorance turned out to be blissful when the Lady Rebels prevailed 56-9.
“That’s good,” Pridemore said. “That’s a monkey to get off your back. I did not know that. I’m really proud of them. We’ve lost 3 in a row coming into tonight. So we needed a good one. We needed to play well in a win. And we did that. We’ve really struggled in the past three games. We did not start well.”
The Lady Rebels didn’t start well against Millington scoring 9 points to hold a three point advantage going into the second quarter. Then TRA turned up the defensive intensity and settled down on offense to outscore the Lady Trojans 24-2.
“We really picked it up,” Pridemore said. “I told them, ‘We were being a little bit more patient on offense. We were being strong with the ball. And we were not rushing.’ I told them before the game to get what we want we have to patient and stay with it.
“They did a much better job of that in the second quarter,” he added. “We were able to pick up the tempo and get some turnovers with the press. We were able to speed it up with our defense but also slow it down a little bit to play smarter.”
The TRA outburst started with a Jordan Allen post bucket leading to a three-point play. The Lady Rebels were ahead 12-6.
Later TRA’s lead grew to 17-8 when Abby West hit a bank shot. Moments later West drained a triple to make the tally 20-8.
After a West jumper and foul shot the Lady Rebels were head 23-8. The rest of the quarter TRA received points from Neely Turner, Emily West, Eva McIntosh and sisters Brittany and Brianna Hall.
The Lady Rebels were ahead 33-8 at the break. TRA kept the momentum going in the third quarter outscoring Millington 15-1.
Once again Allen got things started with a basket. Kallie Alexander followed with another bucket in the paint making the score 37-8.
The rest of the period TRA outscored the Lady Trojans 11-1 to build a 48-9 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
“Mainly just results you get when you compete every position,” Pridemore said. “I’ve told them one thing we’ve been trying to work on is really competing for everything. If you’re boxing out, win your box out. If you’re guarding the ball, win that possession. If you’re in help, win that possession. Just compete in every single thing we do. They did a much better job of that tonight. That’s something we’ll have to work at with a team so young.”
At times TRA featured three eighth graders in the lineup. Sometimes freshmen like West, McIntosh and Megan Sanfratello were on the floor running the show.
“Youth is not an excuse for effort,” Pridemore concluded. “Youth might be something to talk about when closing out game. Experience is needed then. But youth is not an excuse for effort. I think tonight we put forward a full game effort. We needed to do that.”