By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Excuse the Bolton Wildcats for coming into the William Osteen Gymnasium a little confident Friday night.
The previous match up with the Millington Trojans went the way of Bolton by the final of 81-49. Fast forward 24 days and the Trojans were ready for some revenge.
Millington was well on its way toward avenging the 32-point defeat from Jan. 7 jumping ahead 29-10 in the first half. Then Harold Scott’s Wildcats realized the urgency and picked up the intensity in time for a 53-51 comeback victory.
“I think our confidence had skyrocketed at the beginning of the game feeling they could just come in and play,” Scott acknowledged. “Then I told the guys, “When you’re playing somebody at their home, they’re going to give you more at home than away.’ With Millington, it’s always a rival and going to be that way.”
The Trojans forced the issue in the first quarter taking a 14-5 lead. Millington’s Seth Grandberry hit a jumper and drove to the rim for a layup to make the Trojan advantage 9 points.
Grandberry’s back-to-back steals leading to breakaway lay-ins made the score 18-5. After Kaveyon Lewis made a foul shot, Grandberry drove to the basket again for a bucket making the tally 21-5.
Grandberry was joined by teammates Lewis and Jaylen Woodard in building the Millington lead up to 29-10. Bolton started to slow down the Trojan momentum closing out the second quarter on a 8-2 run to make the tally 31-18 at the break.
“The second half we had to get mentally tough as far as understanding the details of the game,” Scott noted. “We were making a lot of turnovers. We missed 10 free throws in the first half. The first half was 18 to 31. If we made at least 5 of those, we would be withing striking distance. In the second half they turned it up and started making shots.”
The opening moments of the third quarter was a mirage for the Trojans when Lewis drove to the rim for a three-point play. The scoreboard read 34-18 in favor of the Trojans.
Then next 7 minutes would belong to the Wildcats with Bolton going on a 21-4 run to grab the lead before entering the fourth quarter.
Wildcats like senior Jamarius Carter, Jayden Thompson, Korbin Smith, Terrance Banks, Jadarius Carter and Ricky Williams led he way with full-court pressure defense leading to Millington miscues. Bolton converted those into layups and fast break baskets.
The Wildcats lead by as much as 8 points in the fourth quarter with the score 53-45. Millington had to play comeback in the final minutes using a technical foul and Grandberry three-pointer to make the score 53-50.
With 1.3 seconds remaining, Grandberry made a foul shot to make the score 53-51. Trying to miss the second attempt on purpose, the ball did not hit the rim leading to a valuation. The Wildcats were able to inbound the ball and secure the thrilling victory.
“The fourth quarter, mentally they grew up a little bit,” Scott concluded. “We usually breakdown about the 4-minute mark. But they stuck together and put it all together by playing together.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.