By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The regular season home finale, also known as Senior Night, gave the Millington Trojans a chance to prove their growth throughout the 2016-17 season under first year Head Coach Jewell Gates.
One of the best teams in the district, the Ripley Tigers rolled into town to take the court of the William Osteen Gymnasium. The Feb. 7 match up was a thriller and the Trojans pushed the Tigers to the limit but came up short 46-41.
Both teams struggled shooting throughout the night with the first quarter score 7-6 in favor of Millington. The Trojans received a bucket from Mac Coulter and Rodney McGhee hit 5 points in the period.
The scoring picked up in the second quarter. Tiger Trey Austin had a couple of highlights before the first half ended with a pair of dunks that made the score 15-11 in favor of Ripley.
The Tigers were ahead 17-13 with time running out in the first half when McGhee fired a no-look pass to Bobby Macklin for a layup. The halftime score was 17-15 in favor of Ripley.
Millington grabbed a quick lead in the third quarter when McGhee hit a triple to make the score 20-19. Then the Tigers responded with a 15-4 run to take a double digit lead. During that span Ripley took advantage of a technical foul going 4 of 4 from the line.
After a Famous Jones reverse layup Ripley was ahead 34-24. Trojan forward Justin Austin ended Millington’s drought with a bucket. And Jeremiah Temple hit a basket for Millington to make the score 34-28. The Tigers were ahead 36-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Ripley jumped ahead 37-28 early in the final period. Once again Austin came to the rescue with a bucket to make the score 37-30. That sparked an 8-0 run for the Trojans with buckets from Macklin, Temple and McGhee.
The score was 37-36 when the Tigers and Trojans started trading buckets. The score was 43-38 when Millington guard Hunter Klutts hit a triple to make the score 43-41.
That shot was a part of Klutts’ double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds. Macklin grabbed 11 boards keeping Millington in the game.
But the efforts were not enough as the Tigers made foul shots down the stretch earning Ripley a 5-point victory.