By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Hugs, cheers and a huge sigh of relief echoed from the Millington Lady Trojans’ bench last week at the conclusion of the Jackson North Side contest.
The reason for the signs of celebration was the 36-33 district victory over the Lady Indians Jan. 24 in the William Osteen Gymnasium.
“It especially builds the confidence of the ‘Little Ones,’” Millington senior Marquisha Sanders said. “Sometimes they don’t know what to do or who to guard. Tonight they did much better.”
Sanders along with fellow seniors Trevona DeSouza and Traci Clark led Millington to victory along with contributions from younger players like Kennedy Lamar, Kaitlyn Mickey, Taylor Payne, Sky Clark Kamyiah Tomlin and Keyona Jones.
It was Jones who gave Millington a 10-6 lead in the first quarter when she hit a three-pointer. Before Jones’ triple, Tomlin had 2 points and Traci Clark hit a trey.
JNS outscored the Lady Trojans 5-0 the rest of the opening period to take an 11-10 lead into the second quarter.
Millington bounced back in the second quarter outscoring the Lady Indians 8-5. Clark hit another triple and DeSouza had 5 points.
The senior guard first scored on a put-back bucket giving Millington a 15-14 advantage. Before halftime and the Lady Trojans trailing 16-15, DeSouza connected on a three-pointer giving Millington an 18-16 lead at the break.
“I just felt like I had to step up being a senior,” DeSouza said.
The combination of Sanders to DeSouza got Millington off to a positive start in the third quarter. The senior duo executed a give-and-go fast break leading to a DeSouza layup and 20-16 lead.
Later in the period Sanders nailed a three-pointer from the baseline making the score 23-18. The reason Sanders was open on the wing was because Jones was running the point.
Throughout this season Sanders has been the primary ball handler. With the return of Jones from her knee injury, the Millington offense has better flow.
“It give me a chance to relax and actually calm down,” Sanders said. “When she’s bringing the ball down I can actually be on the wing somewhere taking a breathe. Instead of just guarding a fast person all the time and being guarding by them.”
Sanders and the rest of the Lady Trojans played defense well enough to maintain a 25-23 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Millington took a 7 point lead at 30-23 early in the period courtesy of a Jones shot in the lane and DeSouza three-pointer. Later the Lady Trojans regained a 7-point edge at 34-27 when Sanders hit triple.
JNS rallied back down the stretch with a couple of baskets. With Millington ahead 34-31, Sanders iced the game with a pair of free throws.
“It gives the team something to look forward to for the next game,” DeSouza said of the win. “Winning gives us a positive attitude toward the next game.
“A win makes them want to work much harder,” she concluded. “It give them the confidence to hold their heads up. Because when we lose, they are negative and dejected. I want to see the younger players stepping up and not expecting the seniors to do everything.”