Tigers edge Flomaton, UMS in close contests
By By SCOTT COOPER – Sports Writer
Even though their last three victories have been by close margins, the T.R. Miller Tigers' recent play has proved they know how to perform in close, clutch situations and with the game on the line.
After defeating Clarke County earlier in the week, the Tigers held off challenges by the Flomaton Hurricanes and UMS-Wright Bulldogs to notch their third win in a row and improve to 12-4 on the season.
Miller 57, Flomaton 54
The Flomaton Hurricanes visited T.R. Miller High School on Jan. 10 seeking an upset win over the Tigers.
Although the Tigers have become known for an athletic and up-tempo team, the Hurricanes brought a similar style of play into the contest that turned out to be a barn-burner.
Both teams ran the floor well along with showing good defensive intensity over the course of the game. However, the Tigers were able to make the plays that proved to be the difference between winning and losing. As the dust settled, Miller emerged with a 57-54 win that improved their season record to 11-4.
Offensive leaders for the Tigers were DaWaun Johnson, 12 points; Trey Paul, 11 points; Neal Cheatham, 11points and Greg Bogan, 10 points.
Miller 50, UMS-Wright 46
When the Tigers hosted the UMS-Wright Bulldogs on Jan. 11, the game pitted two teams with contrasting styles of play. UMS-Wright brought its methodical, disciplined team concept into the contest attempting to knock off the quick and athletic Tigers.
Miller controlled the action and maintained the lead almost the entire game, but a fourth-quarter UMS-Wright rally forced Miller to perform to the end in a 50-46 Tigers' win that improved their overall record to 12-4.
UMS-Wright (8-14) scored the first two baskets before Neal Cheatham's layup pulled the Tigers within two, 4-2, with 4:30 remaining in the quarter. DaWaun Johnson's consecutive jumpers were followed by a Greg Bogan jump shot that gave Miller an 8-4 advantage.
Dominic Johnson kept the Tigers' run going with a putback after grabbing a rebound, but then a Bulldogs' 3-pointer at the end of the period tightened things up at 10-7.
In the second quarter, Bogan hit two 3-pointers that complimented the strong inside play of Cheatham, DaWaun Johnson and Dominic Johnson. UMS-Wright, however, stayed close with three 3-pointers that kept the Tigers in sight. As the teams headed into intermission, Miller held the upper hand by six, 26-20.
The Bulldogs' offense caught fire in the opening minutes of the third quarter, going on a 7-0 run that cut the Miller lead down to a single point, 28-27. The Tigers then reciprocated with a 7-0 run of their own, getting baskets by Cheatham and Bogan before Ryheem Drakeford's 3-pointer allowed Miller to take a 35-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
As a result of a furious UMS-Wright rally in which the Bulldogs outscored Miller 13-5 over the first five minutes of the final period, the teams were deadlocked at 40-40 with the game still up for grabs.
The Tigers responded to the challenge in a positive way, as a Bogan jump shot was followed by a couple of Drakeford free throws to give Miller a bit of a cushion at 44-40 with 1:20 left in the game.
From that point, the Tigers iced the game from the foul line. Clutch free throws by Trey Paul, Bogan and DaWaun Johnson allowed the Tigers to turn back the Bulldogs and put the wraps on Miller's 4-point victory.
Greg Bogan and DaWaun Johnson led the Tigers with 16 and 10 points, respectively.