Lady Tigers take area with win over Clarke
By By SCOTT COOPER – Sports Writer
As the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers traveled to Grove Hill for a Jan. 17 meeting with the Clarke County Babes, their sights were set on a victory that would secure the Area-1 regular season title.
Miller, ranked No. 6 in the latest Class 3A poll, systematically disposed of the Babes by a 59-28 margin to accomplish the goal of winning the area championship while improving to 14-3 overall and 3-0 in the area.
Clarke County hung tough for most of the first quarter, but the Lady Tigers' swarming defense and transition game began to wear on the Babes late in the period.
Miller controlled the opening tip and wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, as Ashley Samuel nailed a short jump shot for a 2-0 Lady Tiger lead. Clarke County responded with two straight baskets and led 4-2 before Akia Suarez hit a jumper to tie the game at 4-4 with 6:34 to go in the period.
After neither team was able to manufacture any offense over the next two minutes, a Joy McCorvey basket from in close was followed by a Brittnee Malloyd layup that gave Miller an 8-4 advantage. But, once again the Babes answered with the next four points to knot the score at 8-8.
The Lady Tigers then proceeded to turn up the heat over the last two minutes as they began to establish their dominance. McCorvey, Malloyd and Suarez led Miller on a 9-2 quarter-ending run that allowed the Lady Tigers to gain control at 17-10.
Clarke County repeated its opening-quarter performance by playing Miller tough the first half of the second period only to fall further behind as the quarter progressed.
McCorvey's two straight baskets to begin the period gave Miller a 21-10 cushion, but then Clarke County drained a 3-pointer to pull closer at 21-13. Samuel hit a couple of free throws for a 23-13 Miller lead before a Babes' layup again pulled them within eight, 23-15. The Lady Tigers then outscored their hosts 10-1 the remainder of the period to build a comfortable 33-16 halftime lead.
Miller's inside superiority along with the ability to create turnovers simply was too much for the Babes in the second half of play. The Lady Tigers completely dominated the action of the third quarter, outscoring Clarke County 20-1 while stretching their margin to 36 points, 53-17.
With an insurmountable lead entering the final stanza, Miller substituted freely over the final eight minutes of the contest. Clarke County was able to outscore the Lady Tigers 11-6 in the period to reduce Miller's winning total to 31 points.
Leading the Lady Tigers' offensive efforts were Joy McCorvey with 20 points and Ashley Samuel with 16 points.