By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The Millington Trojans left the William Osteen Gymnasium court Nov. 20 the owners of a 3-0 record after beating the Overton Wolverines.
The players and Head Coach Jewell Gates weren’t jubilant leaving the floor winners of the contest 86-59. The Trojans had a subdued confidence walking toward the locker room after turning back the Wolverines in convincing fashion.
“We played for four quarter — didn’t have a lapse,” Gates noted. “That was the third game of this season and in two games we’ve had a lapse here or there. Which we are prone to do. But tonight we played four quarters and that’s probably why we scored the points we scored.
“We kind of defended decently — not greatly,” he continued. “We did play hard for four quarters and that’s something Coach Johnson mention to them. That’s why I am so fortunate to have guys who played for me now coaching with me. They pick up on the stuff a little bit quicker than I do because they played it themselves. It’s the exact same thing. He caught it before I did that we played a complete game.”
The 26 points scored by Millington in the first quarter was a good indicator to Gates and his assistant coaches Johnson and Nick Buford.
With score was tied 6-6 early in the first quarter when Overton jumped out 12-6. The Trojans got the spark they needed when guard Chris Parker located big man Taveon Collier in the paint for a layup.
After a Hunter Klutts drive to the rim made the tally 12-10, Kaveyon Lewis deadlocked the game at 12-12 with a bucket.
Millington took the lead for good when Collier grabbed an offensive rebound and kissed the ball off the glass for a basket while drawing a foul. Collier’s three-point play made the score 15-12.
Later in the period Klutts returned to his normal role on the court of hitting outside shots with a pair of three-pointers making the tally 25-16.
The Trojans were ahead 26-16 heading into the second quarter. Millington kept up the intensity in the second period with Jamerio Jones hitting a couple of triples early to grow the advantage to 41-27.
Other Trojans to score before halftime were Bobby Macklin and Parker.
Down the stretch of the first half, Millington received a three-point play from Jones to make the score 49-35. Collier kept up the work on the boards with a put-back bucket making the tally 51-35.
The halftime score was 53-35 when Klutts attacked the rim once again making a layup.
“At the half we were up 18,” Gates noted. “I mention at halftime, ‘We either go up 30 or we’ll only be up 8 in three or four minutes.’ If we’re only up 8, what is going to happen? Hunter Klutts said it’s going to be a fight for the rest of the game. Which would have been true.
“You go up 30, they kind of give in,” he continued. “You made trade baskets back and forth, but you don’t have to fight anymore. We came out and kind of put our foots on their throats a little bit and I am proud of that. We went from up 18 to up 28, 30. To give the effort to achieve a 30-point lead is good to see. We’re maturing into that kind of team.”
In the third quarter, Trojan forward Lewis broke loose on a fast break. The junior leaped toward the goal for a one-hand slam making the score 73-41. The 32-point deficit was the largest of the night.
Millington was ahead 73-44 heading into the fourth quarter. Although Overton outscored the Trojans 15-13 in the last period, Millington was on its way to a 3-0 start.
Johnson had words of encouragement for the players after having a complete game effort against Overton.
“He said ‘Now you look like a team coached by Jewell Gates,’” Gates said. “That doesn’t do anything for me as far as making my head explode. But what it does, he realizes that we now play like we used to play. And that is important for me to hear that.
“ You played like a Jewell Gates-coached team tonight,” he concluded. “I want us to play hard, tough, aggressive, don’t give in. And sometimes we do that, but we didn’t do that tonight.”