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Year had several sports highlights

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
(First in a three-part series)
As the year 2003 gets set to enter the history books, it is time to take a look back at the several significant items that have occurred in area sports.
January
* The T.R. Miller Tigers basketball team fell in the championship game of its own Holiday Tournament to Escambia County 59-42.
W.S. Neal, which lost to the Tigers in the semifinals, finished in fourth place after a 60-34 setback to Mary Montgomery in the third place game.
T.R. Miller's Greg Bogan, DaWaun Johnson and Ryheen Drakeford made the all-tournament team along with W.S. Neal's Nick Benjamin and Keith Woods.
* The Jefferson Davis Community College Warhawks captured their conference opener with a 91-43 victory over Marion Military Institute. Ray Lewis and Greg Dickinson both had 15 points to lead the Warhawks.
* Both the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers and Tigers claimed the Class 3A Area 1 regular season championship with wins over Clarke County. The Lady Tigers
See REVIEW Page 6A
posted a 59-28 victory behind 20 points by Joy McCorvey.
The Tigers knocked off Clarke County 74-57 behind 20 points from Neal Cheatham.
* Jim Morrill was hired as head baseball coach at JDCC. It was the first head coaching post for Morrill, who graduated from Furman in 1999.
* W.S. Neal Blue Eagles football coach Jim Fountain resigned. Fountain had two coaching stints at W.S. Neal. His second one lasted six seasons. W.S. Neal finished 6-4 and missed the playoffs in Fountain's last season.
Febuary
* Both the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles and Lady Blue Eagles had their basketbal seasons come to an end with losses to Clarke County in the opening round of the Class 3A Area 1 Tournament.
The Blue Eagles lost 70-56 and finished the season with a 6-21 record. The Lady Blue Eagles bowed 65-28 and finished the season with a 3-18 record.
* Former T.R. Miller basketball player Deanna Jackson was named to the Birmingham Tip-Off Club's 30-year anniversary team. The club selected what it felt was its all-time top 30 players in the state of Alabama at the college level.
* The T.R. Miller Tigers claimed the Class 3A Area 1 championship with a 52-36 victory over Clarke County. DaWaun Johnson and Ryheen Drakeford. Both had 13 points to pace the Tigers.
T.R. Miller's season ended in the opening round of subregional competition with a 63-41 setback to Francis Marion. The Tigers finished with a 19-8 record.
* The T.R. Miller Lady Tigers captured the Class 3A Area 1 championship with a 60-29 win over Clarke County thanks to 25 points by Ashley Samuel.
* Two T.R. Miller athletes earned gold medals at the state indoor track meet held at Priceville.
Michael Jones captured the 55-meter dash, while Antonio Gomez claimed the long jump. T.R. Miller competed in a division that combined Class 1A-4A.
* The postseason run continued for the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers basketball team when they claimed the regional championship with a 48-31 win over Francis Marion.
Ashley Samuel, who was named tournament most valuable player, was joined on the all-tournament team by Brittnee Malloyd and Joy McCorvey.
* W.S. Neal baseball player Paul Crabtree signed with Southern Union State College.
* The bid to repeat as state champions came to an end for the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers basketball team when they fell in the state semifinals to Lauderdale County 65-51. T.R. Miller finished its season with a 24-5 record.
March
* The JDCC Warhawks basketball team had a quick postseason exit, as they fell in the opening round of Region 22 competition to Southern Union 95-72.
Ephriam Hudson led JDCC with 16 points.
* W.S. Neal hired Shane Smothers as its new head football coach. After assistant coaching positions at Curry, Cullman, Parrish and Russellville, Smothers coached two years at McKenzie and posted a 20-3 record prior to his arrival at W.S. Neal.
* T.R. Miller Lady Tigers basketball player Ashley Samuel was named the Alabama Sports Writers Association Player of the Year for Class 3A. Samuel received the honor during a ceremony held at Birmingham.
* The W.S. Neal Blue Eagles baseball team opened its season with a doubleheader sweep over Hillcrest by scores of 9-8 and 11-1.
Brad Jerkins had a pair of hits and one RBI in the opener, while Chad McCall had a pair of hits and an RBI in the nightcap.
Meanwhile the T.R. Miller Tigers dropped a 1-0 decision to Jay in its baseball season opener.
* A doubleheader sweep over Enterprise State gave the JDCC Warhawks baseball team their eighth win in their last 10 games after a 2-12 start to their season. Jack Schwartz led the way in the sweep with four hits and three RBIs.
April
* The T.R. Miller Tigers baseball team captured the championship of the Escambia County Tournament with a perfect 3-0 record. W.S. Neal finished second at 2-1.
T.R. Miller's Trent Davidson was named tournament most valuable player after he went seven-for-10 at the plate and allowed just one hit in five innings on the mound.
Other Tigers named to the all-tournament team were Brad Lannom, El Cook and Randy Holland. W.S. Neal was represented by Cory Freeman, Jared Cooper and Chad McCall.
* T.R. Miller baseball player Russell Bagwell signed to play at Southern Union College.
* The T.R. Miller Tigers track team captured the Class 3A sectional championship. W.S. Neal finished fourth.
State qualifiers for T.R. Miller were Michael Jones in the 100 meter dash, Rodney Lane in the 400 meter dash, Neal Cheatham in the 400 meters and high jump, Antawn Gomez in the 400 meter dash and long jump, Antonio Gomez in the 110 meter high hurdles, 300 meter intermediate hurdles and long jump, Skylar Fountain in the 100 meter high hurdles, DeWaun Johnson in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles, Demetrius Preyer in the shot put and discus, Tye Walker in the javelin, and Kevin McCall in the javelin. The Tigers' 400, 1600 and 3200 meter relay teams also qualified for state.
W.S. Neal boys state qualifiers included Alphonso Gross in the the long jump, 100 and 200 meter dashes, Marcus Folmar in the 200 meter dash, Nick Benjamin in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles and triple jump, Chris Johnson in the shot put, and Kendreal Williams in the discus. The Blue Eagles' 400 meter relay team also qualified for state.
* The T.R. Miller Lady Tigers track team captured the sectional championship, while W.S. Neal finished fourth.
State qualifiers for T.R. Miller included Joy McCorvey in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, Jasmine Sanford in the triple jump, 100 and 200 meter dashes, Keonshaye Lane in the long jump, high jump and 400 meter dash, Brittnee Malloyd in the long jump, triple jump and shot put, and Candace Smith in the shot put and discus. The Lady Tigers also qualified their 400 and 1600 meter relay teams for state competition.
W.S. Neal state qualifiers included Tierra Andrews in the 1600 meters and Misha Brown in the shot put. The Lady Blue Eagles also qualified their 400 meter relay.
* The JDCC Warhawks baseball team was denied a spot in the postseason playoffs after a doubleheader loss to Wallace.
* The T.R. Miller Tigers baseball team captured the Class 3A Area 1 championship.