By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Bruce Marshall and his Millington Lady Trojans were going through their normal routine in the William Osteen Gymnasium when a phone call comes through.
Marshall received word that his next opponent and district opener, the Liberty Tech Lady Crusaders would be a little late because of issues with their bus. So the Jan. 10 matchup would be delayed until 7:30.
“You like to stay pretty much in a routine during the season,” Marshall said. “With the travel difficulties that they experienced we had to play the late game while the boys played the 6 o’clock game.
“That can affect you a little bit but it didn’t seem to affect Liberty Tech,” he added. “They came out and played hard. They played harder than we did tonight. They deserved every bit of the win.”
While the Lady Trojans were trying to adjust their routine during the boys’ contest, the Lady Crusaders finally arrived in their jumpsuits looking to get loose. Liberty got warmed up and stayed hot leading to an 81-20 victory.
The game tipped off slightly after 7:30 with the Lady Trojans at full strength. Leading scorer Marquisha Sanders made an early basket and alluded the pressure of Liberty keeping Millington on pace.
But the senior guard started to experience some pains midway through the first quarter. She was examined by the staff and medical attendee on the sideline, not to return to the contest.
“That probably had a lot of it, just the fact we can get the ball into Marquisha,” Marshall noted. “She can get the ball up the floor for us and get us into our offense. Tonight she was getting dizzy. She had a real bad headache.
“I don’t think she’s really ever had that problem before,” he added. “Our younger kids had to play under a lot of intense pressure. They found out tonight what Quisha goes through and does for them every night she’s out there on the floor.”
With Lady Trojan guard Kiara Kemp already out because of a knee injury, the ball handling responsibility fell on Traci Clark, Taylor Payne, Kennedy Lamar and Keyanna Jones.
Liberty took advantage of Millington’s limited experience building a 43-11 advantage at halftime. The Lady Crusaders had the Lady Trojans to 2 points in the first and third quarters. Meanwhile Liberty kept a balanced attack on offense leading to 81 points.
The Lady Crusaders earned their first victory of the season just in time to be 1-0 in league play. Millington’s district opener had many unique factors but Marshall noted one thing you can expect with league games is tough battles.
“I told them after the game, Covington is going to get out and play the exact same way as Liberty Tech,” he said. “They’re going to Man Press us. They’re going to put a lot of pressure on the basketball. They’re going to get after us.
“I think some of the kids tried to step up a little bit,” Marshall concluded. “But they’re going to have to step up more in league play. This is not an easy league.”