By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The beginning of the 2016 William L. Osteen Christmas Tournament presented by Dange’s Living Water Bookstore gave the co-host Millington Lady Trojans some holiday cheer.
More like the Lady Trojans earned a good mood by defeating Soulsville 38-31 in the opening round contest Dec. 20 in the William Osteen Gymnasium.
“We came out and in the early part of the game, neither team could really score,” Millington Head Coach Bruce Marshall said. “Shots just wouldn’t go in. Then we finally got out a 14-2 lead. But we kind of lost our composure in thinking it’s going to be a cakewalk.
“We let them get back into the ball game,” he added. “If we had kept executing like we were, we would have possibly had that game over with at halftime. But we gave them the hope that they got a chance.”
Soulsville got a team-high 10 points from Tianna Smith. Millington overcame her efforts with a balance attack from Eliana Chambers, Sky Clark, Taylor Payne and Traci Clark. The Lady Trojan with the offensive bang for the night was senior Marquisha Sanders. The guard kept Millington flowing offensively with 21 points on the night.
“I hope the win inspires them to work more,” Marshall said. “They do play hard. They’re really trying to do the things we need them to do to get better. But we need as many reps as we can to get more comfortable with it. Then we might have a chance when we get to district to make a little noise.”
Before the Lady Trojans jump into District 15-2A play, Marshall wanted to take care of the unfinished business of the Christmas Tournament. The Soulsville victory earned Millington a rematch from earlier in the season against the Brighton Lady Cardinals.
The Lady Cardinals outlasted Memphis Catholic in the first round of the Osteen Christmas Tournament. Earlier in the month, the Lady Cardinals defeated Millington 58-34.
“I don’t really look at it as a championship game or stuff,” Marshall said. “We really need to work on the things that we did poorly against Brighton. Hopefully work on them to where we give ourselves a chance to get to the championship game.
That will be the biggest point for us like eliminating mistakes that led to layups for them and basically took us out of that ball game,” he concluded.
The rematch on Dec. 21 went the way of Brighton 62-17. The Lady Cardinals used defensive pressure from their backcourt to limit Millington’s offense. Sanders was held to 9 points in this game.
Meanwhile 10 Brighton players scored with Aubree Jones hitting 11 points. Mary Grace Smith netted 10 points in the effort.
Brighton advance to the William Osteen Christmas Tournament championship game. The Lady Trojans moved into the third-place contest.