Tigers get hot in time for county tournament victory
By By SCOTT COOPER – Sports Writer
After beginning the season with a 0-2 record, the T.R. Miller Tigers caught fire over the weekend with three consecutive wins and claimed the championship of the Escambia County Tournament held Dec. 12-14 at Miller Gym.
In raising their record to 3-2 on the season, Miller defeated Flomaton and W.S. Neal in the first two rounds before edging Escambia County by one point in the tournament finale.
Miller 69, Flomaton 44
Miller drew the Flomaton Hurricanes in a Dec. 12 opening-round game and dominated the action from the opening tip until the final buzzer sounded.
The Tigers shot an amazing 69 percent from the floor during the game as four players score in double figures. With 20 steals over the course of the contest, Miller created many of its scoring opportunities with a stingy defensive effort.
Offensive leaders for the Tigers were DaWaun Johnson, 17 points and five rebounds; Neal Cheatham, 13 points and 8 rebounds; Greg Bogan, 11 points and 5 assists; and Ryheem Drakeford, 10 points and six rebounds.
Miller 66, Neal 45
A Dec. 13 second-round game pitted the Tigers against their cross-creek rival, the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles.
The Tigers led from the outset and progressively stretched the advantage over the course of the game.
Although the Blue Eagles' defense hung tough most of the way, the Tigers continued the hot shooting they enjoyed in the tournament opener. While hitting 52 percent from the floor for the game, Miller led 34-25 at intermission before outscoring the Blue Eagles 32-20 in the second half to close out a 21-point win and earn the right to meet Escambia County for the tournament title.
Leading the way for the Tigers were Ryheem Drakeford, 17points and 10 rebounds; Neal Cheatham, 17 points and 5 rebounds; and Greg Bogan, 13 points and six rebounds.
Miller 47, Escambia County 46
Miller and the Escambia County Blue Devils each brought 2-0 tournament records into the Dec. 14 championship game.
By continuing to shoot the ball well at 50 percent from the floor against Escambia County, Miller played evenly with the talented Blue Devils as time wound down in the fourth quarter.
With a minute to go in the game, the Tigers were down 46-44 when DaWaun Johnson hit a clutch basket to tie the game at 46-46.
After calling a timeout to discuss strategy, Escambia County was in the process off bringing the ball up the floor when Greg Bogan picked the Blue Devil ball-handler's pocket with the biggest steal of the tournament. Bogan was fouled after the steal and went to the line where he iced the 47-46 victory by hitting the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw opportunity.
Bogan and Neal Cheathem led the Tigers with 13 points each. Ryheem Drakeford also contributed 11 points and seven assists to the winning effort.