Tigers fall to Samson in Red Level opener
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Considering the T.R. Miller Tigers have scored 60 points in a game one time in their first eight contests, it is becoming more and more apparent that is a figure they need to hold their opponents below in order to have a realistic chance of winning.
Not only did T.R. Miller fail to do that in Friday's opening game of the Red Level Tournament, but it allowed a season high defensive total in a 70-58 loss to the Samson Tigers.
Despite the fact T.R. Miller tied its second highest offensive output this season, the Tigers also struggled on offense where they shot just 33 percent from the field for the first three quarters.
T.R. Miller (4-4) managed to boost that final shooting percentage to 41 percent (23-for-55), but most of that came in a fourth quarter where the Tigers were in a desperation mode and had as much as an 18-point deficit.
"We just didn't play very well. We really didn't have any fire or intensity. I don't know what else to say," T.R. Miller coach Rob Atkinson said.
All day long T.R. Miller had no answer for Samson junior Aaron Allen, who blistered the nets for 36 points. Twenty-one of those came in the second half and 17 came in the fourth quarter when Samson pulled away for the win.
"Allen played a great game. We had no answer for him," Atkinson said.
Although Allen did hit a pair of three-pointers, most of his production came from near the basket. T.R. Miller's inside game was weakened by the absence of senior Trey Paul along with three reserves (illness).
T.R. Miller had just one lead in the contest, which came late in the first quarter. After a dunk by Allen gave Samson a 10-6 advantage, T.R. Miller got a pair of free throws by Rodney Lane and field goals by Greg Bogan, Damien Jackson and Chris Byrd in an 8-1 run that gave the Tigers a 14-11 lead.
The final two minutes of the first quarter started to change the complexion of the game. T.R. Miller had a couple of turnovers that led to buckets. Allen drove in for another score, while an offensive rebound basket by Lindsay Marsh late in the period gave Samson a 19-14 lead.
Allen had another field goal at the start of the second quarter that extended Samson's run to 10-0 and its lead to 21-14.
A three-pointer by Allen with three minutes left in the half bumped Samson's cushion into double digits at 30-18.
The last play of the first half was perhaps the most frustrating for T.R. Miller. As time was about to run out, Samson took the ball the length of the court and Allen hit a wide open Darrell Carter undernearth the basket for a layup as the horn
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sounded. That hoop gave Samson a 36-21 advantage, which was its biggest cushion up to that point.
After a first half where T.R. Miller hit nine of 28 shots (32 percent) and committed 10 turnovers, the Tigers appeared to have turned the right corner in the third quarter.
Bogan drained a three-pointer and added a pair of free throws, Laine Lucas hit two free throws and added a baseline jumper, and Tye Walker came up with a pair of field goals. Walker's second hoop capped off a 13-4 surge by T.R. Miller that trimmed Samson's lead down to 42-34.
Just like the end of the second quarter, T.R. Miller gave up another key basket at the third quarter buzzer when Allen scored on a fastbreak to make it 44-34. Samson's lead would remain in double digits the rest of the way.
What realistic chance T.R. Miller had of a comeback evaporated in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter. Samson opened the period with consecutive field goals by Allen, Carter and Darrell Marsh to swell its advantage to 50-34.
A baseline basket by Lucas stopped that run, but Allen had two more buckets during the next minute that took Samson's lead up to 54-36 with five minutes left.
Samson's biggest margin of lead came when a three-pointer by Lindsay Marsh with
four minutes left made it
Bogan, who led T.R. Miller with 21 points, tried to rally his teammates in the fourth quarter with four three-pointers.
While Bogan's hot streak cut into the lead, T.R. Miller was unable to get any closer than 11 points over the last seven minutes.
The loss dropped the Tigers into the consolation bracket. If T.R. Miller won its consonation semifinal game Saturday, it will play for the consolation championship Monday at 1:30 p.m. If the Tigers lost Saturday, they will play in the consolation third place game Monday at 10:30 a.m.
At Red Level
Samson 19 17 8 26 – 70
T.R. Miller 14 7 13 24 – 58
SAMSON (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Allen 13-2-4-36; L. Marsh 5-0-0-10; D. Marsh 4-0-0-8; Carter 2-0-0-4; Adams 1-0-0-2; Beagles 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 28-2-8-70)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Bogan 2-5-2-21; Walker 4-0-0-8; Lucas 3-0-2-8; D. Jackson 2-1-0-7; Lane 2-0-2-6; Byrd 2-0-0-4; Banton 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 17-6-6-58)