By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Take the first and third quarter, the Millington Trojans would have earn their first win in District 15-2A for the 2019-20 season 27-21 over the Haywood Tomcats Friday night in the William Osteen Gymnasium.
But the second and fourth quarters were added into the overall totals giving Haywood a 61-50 win over the Trojans. The Tomcats outscored Millington 40-23 in those periods to earn the league victory.
“They were tougher than we are,” Millington Head Coach Jewell Gates said. “That’s something I’ve been saying all along. It’s been hard for me to develop toughness in this group because I am not sure they really want to be tough.”
District 15-2A is tough with Haywood, Ripley, Bolton, Bolivar Central, Fayette-Ware and league leading Covington on the agenda twice.
Gates told his players after the defeat a league like District 15-2A is like old-school methods of making men and dogs tougher. You have to be ready to endure some hardships to overcome the task.
The Trojans appeared poised to overtake the Tomcats erasing a 7-3 deficit with three-pointer from Jason Sumrell and layup by Remiello Thomas. When Millington senior Kaveyon Lewis used a hop-step move to get to the rim for a bucket, the Trojans led 12-11 entering the second quarter.
Millington’s one-point lead evaporated into a Haywood 25-16 advantage. The Tomcats’ 14-4 run was sparked by Markeston Douglas scoring 7 points including a spin move to the basket.
After another Sumrell triple cut the Haywood lead to 25-29, Douglas took a pass from teammate Cortarion Buford for a one-hand dunk.
The Trojans ended the first half with baskets from Seth Grandberry and Jalin Coe to make the halftime score 27-23 in favor of the Tomcats.
Millington won the third quarter 15-10 to regain the lead before heading into the fourth quarter. The Trojans received contributions from the fore mention players and senior Jaylen Woodard. Wood hit a jumper that cut the Haywood lead to 37-32. Then it was a Woodard steal leading to an assist to Lewis for a layup that gave the Trojans the 38-37 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Haywood seized control of the final quarter with an 14-3 run when Damion Powell made a basket to give the Tomcats a double-digit advantage. Both teams scored 10 points during the final 3 minutes and 40 seconds of the game.
“Because a certain time in the game it comes back to one word — fight,” Gates said. “You’ve got to fight. That’s what it comes down to toughness and are you willing to fight. Sometimes we don’t fight. That doesn’t mean we’re not trying, or doing things.
“It comes down to you have to fight in this district,” he concluded. “We’re not in a easy district. We’re in a district of basketball schools. They’re not worried about other sports. They are basketball schools and that’s what they worry about.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.