By Thomas Sellers Jr.
MEMPHIS — With the Millington Lady Trojans moving up the ranks in the Shelby-Metro Area, Jason Nichol’s squad received an event to the prestigious Martin Luther King Jr. Tournament.
Most of the 50th Annual MLK Tournament took place on the campus of Hamilton High School. On Nov. 22, the Lady Trojans opened up First Round action vs. one of the top Class 4A teams in the area, the Arlington Lady Tigers. The team led by Ashley Shields prevailed 81-54.
“A team with bigs,” Nichols noted. “I saw a lot of fight from my team. Just a turnover here and a turnover there, we did cut it to 6 there late in the first quarter.”
After Arlington grabbed a 4-0 lead in the opening minutes, Keria McGhee put Millington on the scoreboard with a pair of foul shots.
The Lady Tigers took a double-digit lead late in the period when Millington cut into the deficit with back-to-back three pointers from Breanna Hulsey and McGhee. The score was 18-12 in favor of the Lady Tigers heading into the second quarter.
The size and depth of Arlington helped the Lady Tigers outscore Millington 21-11 in the second period to build a 39-23 advantage going into the locker room.
In the third quarter Millington received standout plays from players like Jontavia Bonner with a three-pointer and Micaiah Halliburton with a basket. Kayla Dotson drove to the rim among the Arlington trees for a bucket.
But the Lady Tigers matched Millington play for play to maintain the lead at 59-35 after three quarters.
“I saw the fight in the end from my younger kids,” Nichols said. “We can build off of that. We have one more game tomorrow. We can build on that.”
Young Lady Trojans like Ayanna Ransom, Makenzie Chambers, Madison Turner and Aubrey Young logged several minutes in the fourth quarter helping Millington score 19 points in the period.
“It was a good experience,” Nichols reiterated. “I think that’s going to carry us from here on out. Not every team has a bigs 6’4, 6’3, 6’3 and a 6’2 power forward who can shoot the trey ball. It was for us to see that on a neutral site. February and March is what we’re getting ready for. We have to play back-to-back at neutral sites.
“I told myself today, ‘If I am not successful today, this gets us ready for Covington’s big and Fayette-Ware’s big,” Nichols concluded. “I hope my four guards learned to just keep going and get a little physical. We have to endure that punishment. Once we settled in they just didn’t hurt us like that. That’s on me, I made us a little too anxious.”