By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Some spectators at the second day of the Williams L. Osteen Christmas Tournament presented by Dagen’s Living Water Bookstore were left rubbing their eyes when the co-host Millington Trojans arrived.
On the opening night of the tournament, the Trojans wore their white home uniforms sending the usual starting lineup to the court to take on the Memphis Catholic Chargers. In the battle of MCHS, it was Memphis Catholic High School winning 50-43 over Millington Central High School.
Millington Head Coach Jewell Gates was not pleased with the lackluster effort by his Trojans. So entering the next game of the tournament against Soulsville, the Trojans featured a new lineup and the players were sporting gold jersey tops and black shorts. The attire was their practice gear.
“The change in how we look as our attire,” Gates said, “there was also a change in the lineup. A change in me, we changed how we played. So there were a lot of changes today. We may have to continue these changes until they realize how you must play if you want to be good.
“Right now we don’t have the toughness,” he continued. “We come back to one work as I always tell you. To play the way Jewell Gates wants a team to play. It’s difficult to play that way. It’s rewarding if you can do it. But it’s very difficult. Right now we haven’t grasp the idea of handling the difficult things to get to the rewards down the road.”
Millington displayed some toughness and positive affects from the changes beating Soulsville 61-42.
In the Catholic contest, the Trojans received 11 points from Jeremiah Temple. But the duo of Chad Foster and Ontario Hullom combined for 28 points for the Chargers.
Against Soulsville, the Trojans received scoring from Johnnie Austin, Lawrence Chambers, Tavion Collier, Mark Coulter, Faizon Fields, Hunter Klutts, Jonathan Mattox, Dylan Nix, Jeremiah Temple, Rodney McGhee and Bobby Fields.
Temple tallied 8 points in the Soulsville’s game with Klutts leading the way with 14 points.
Gates said he liked the balance from his team and hope they realize the growing process has tough moments.
“We expect it to be sweet and easy,” he said. “It’s not just going to happen. I made it a little bit easier for them today. We played a Zone. That’s not Jewell Gates at all.”
Soulsville’s Jalonnie Spears had some good moments against the Zone defense with 22 points. But the rest of the Soulsville players were limited throughout the 32 minutes.
With one more tournament game remaining, Gates said he hopes his entire roster realizes district is near and nothing is promised.
“If they don’t grasp it now or they don’t get it, they will sit where they sitting today,” he said. “Today was a message sent to the former starting point guard who started 10 games. To two seniors who played eery night.
“We’ll see what they will do going forward,” Gates concluded. “If they can’t get into a groove, they will continue to play as they did today. Which is an DNP — Did Not Play. That is on them.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.