Samuel shatters mark in win over Neal
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
With the outcome of the game well in hand, it would have been easy for T.R. Miller Lady Tigers coach Ron Jackson to keep Ashley Samuel and the rest of his starting unit on the bench for the second half of Friday's game against W.S. Neal at the Escambia County Tournament.
That action would also preserve a record held by one of his family members.
"Records are meant to be broken. If it happens, it happens," Jackson said. "I don't care about records. I care about the wins and losses."
Samuel played just enough of the second half to break T.R. Miller's single game scoring record with 49 points in the Lady Tigers 80-14 romp over the arch rival Lady Eagles.
Samuel's performance erased the previous record of 47 points set by Jackson's daughter, Deanna Jackson, back in 1997.
It became obvious early on it would be a special night for Samuel, who tallied 40 points in Thursday's first-round win over Escambia County. The 5-9 senior had enough to beat W.S. Neal all by herself in the first quarter when she burned the nets for 19 points. That figure grew to 35 by half-time.
As for the game itself, T.R. Miller (5-1) had runs of 23-0 and 27-0 in the first half.
"We got off to a lot better start than what we've been doing. We came out with a lot more intensity, especially compared to what we had Thursday (against Escambia County)," Jackson said.
W.S. Neal (1-3) had 23 turnovers in the game, but 20 of those came in the first half.
"We spend a lot of time in practice working on our defense, but at the same time we still need to improve on the offensive side," Jackson said.
Just before Samuel headed to the bench for the remainder of the first half, she scored to give T.R. Miller an incredible 56-6 lead with 3:08 still left on the scoreboard.
Samuel's total reached 41 in the third quarter when she picked up two buckets and two free throws. Meanwhile the Lady Tigers' lead grew to 70-14.
Although she still had a quarter yet to go, Samuel's task of breaking the record grew tougher in the fourth quarter with a running clock in place.
Two quick buckets early in the final frame brought her figure to 45. She then tied the school mark with a steal and layup with 4:10 left.
Thirty seconds later Deanna Jackson's mark was gone when Samuel grabbed an air ball offensive rebound and scored for her 48th and 49 points.
The win moved T.R. Miller to 2-0 in the tournament. The Lady Tigers needed to beat Flomaton Saturday in order to clinch the championship.
Meanwhile W.S. Neal slipped to 0-2 in the tournament prior to Saturday's finale against Escambia County.
At W.S. Neal
W.S. Neal 6 2 6 0 – 14
T.R. Miller 36 20 14 10 – 80
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Marshall 3-0-0-6; Bradley 1-0-0-2; Nolan 1-0-0-2; Thompson 1-0-0-2; Andrews 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 7-0-0-14)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Samuel 19-2-5-49; McCorvey 8-0-0-16; Lane 2-1-0-7; Smith 2-0-0-4; Sanford 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 33-3-5-80)