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Loss to Flomaton drops Tigers below .500

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Hurricane season is supposed to be over for a few months, but try telling that to the T.R. Miller Tigers after they dropped a 58-46 decision at home to the Flomaton Hurricanes Friday.
Two uninvited storms hit the Tigers. One was called Hurricane Wesley, Flomaton guard Alphonso Wesley to be exact. Wesley was all over the court, as he burned the Tigers for a game high 26 points.
"I've been watching that kid play since eighth grade and he has improved so much. He has tremendous quickness. It seemed like any time there was a loose ball, he was on top of it," T.R. Miller coach Rob Atkinson said.
The other storm that hit the Tigers was called Hurricane Turnover. T.R. Miller turned the ball over 25 times, but 17 of those came in the second half and 10 of them occurred in the third quarter when Flomaton started to pull away.
"We didn't make very good decisions. You're not going to win when you turn the ball over that many times," Atkinson said. "Flomaton (14-2) is really good. Right now we don't match up very well with them."
The Tigers put themselves in an early hole when they fell behind 8-1 in the first four minutes thanks to three hoops by Alphonso Wesley and another bucket by Brian Wesley.
T.R. Miller recovered from that start and pulled even later in the quarter when Laine Lucas scored from inside to tie the game at 10-10.
C.J. Williams' three-pointer put the Hurricanes back on top and they would maintain that three-point edge at 15-12 at the end of the quarter.
On two occasions in the second quarter, T.R. Miller would pull even again. The last came when a fastbreak field goal by Trey Paul knotted the score at 19-19 three minutes into the frame.
Perhaps the complexion of the game changed on the final play of the first half. Up 26-23, Flomaton had the ball and worked the clock for the last shot. As time wound down, the Hurricanes were not in position to get the high percentage shot they wanted. Instead Williams fired up a three-pointer at the top of the key from about NBA range that hit nothing but net. That trey doubled the Hurricanes' advantage to 29-23.
Flomaton quickly extended that lead into double figures before the third quarter was two minutes old. By the time the period was over the Hurricanes' lead had grown to 45-31 thanks largely to four field goals by Alphonso Wesley and the 10 T.R. Miller turnovers.
Neither team was able to gain much ground in the final frame, as the Flomaton lead stayed between 12 and 15 points the rest of the way.
Bogan led the Tigers with 20 points, while Paul and Tye Walker each had eight.
The loss dropped the Tigers, who host W.S. Neal Tuesday, below the .500 mark for the first time this season at 7-8.
At T.R. Miller
Flomaton 15 14 16 13 – 58
T.R. Miller 12 11 8 15 – 46
FLOMATON (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) A. Wesley 10-0-6-26; Williams 2-4-1-17; Lewis 2-0-2-6; B. Wesley 3-0-0-6; Johnson 0-0-3-3 (Totals: 17-4-12-58)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Bogan 7-2-0-20; Paul 4-0-0-8; Walker 3-0-2-8; Byrd 0-1-0-3; Lucas 1-0-0-2; Bougard 1-0-0-2; D. Jackson 1-0-0-2; Banton 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 17-3-3-46)
Tuesday's game
T.R. Miller's chances of landing the top seed and hosting the Class 3A Area 1 Tournament were sidetracked Tuesday when the Tigers dropped a 50-45 decision on the road to the Clarke County Bulldogs.
T.R. Miller led most of the game, but a series of mistakes down the stretch proved fatal.
The Tigers overcame a fast pace and a trio of five-point deficits in the opening quarter. Greg Bogan helped rally the Tigers into a 20-18 lead by the end of the frame with an offensive rebound basket and a pair of three-pointers. Bogan's second three-pointer came at the buzzer to put T.R. Miller on top.
Buckets by Bogan, Kreij Bougard and a three-point play by Trey Paul helped T.R. Miller extend its lead to a first half high margin of 27-21 halfway through the second quarter.
That lead remained at six points until Clarke County's Jon Horn scored in the final minute of the half to trim the Tigers' lead to 30-26.
The Bulldogs caught the Tigers on two occasions in the third quarter, the last of which came when Horn hit two free throws with just over a minute to go to tie the game at 38-38.
Thanks to a bucket by Paul off an assist from Tye Walker in the final minute of the frame, T.R. Miller was able to take a 40-38 lead into the fourth quarter.
Over the last 11 minutes the Tigers scored just seven points and only five in the fourth quarter. Part of that was coach Rob Atkinson's decision to go to a spread offense. The other part was T.R. Miller's inability to execute.
Despite the latter, buckets by Walker and Bougard had T.R. Miller up 44-40 with just under three minutes to go.
In the last three minutes though, T.R. Miller hit just one of six shots, turned the ball over four times and got called for an intentional foul.
The intentional led to a free throw by Raynell Armstrong with 1:09 left that put Clarke County ahead 45-44. It turned out to be a lead the Bulldogs would not relinquish.
Clarke County tried to leave the door open for a rally by the Tigers, as it missed 10 of 18 foul shots in the fourth quarter. That included five in the final minute. However, the Bulldogs also hit five charity tosses in the final minute to secure the win.
At Clarke County
T.R. Miller 20 10 10 5 – 45
Clarke County 18 8 12 12 – 50
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Bogan 6-2-0-18; Paul 4-0-1-9; Bougard 4-0-0-8; Walker 2-0-3-7; D. Jackson 1-0-0-2; Lucas 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 17-2-5-45)
CLARKE COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Horn 2-0-6-10; Johnson 4-0-2-10; Davis 5-0-0-10; Armstrong 2-1-2-9; Burroughs 1-2-0-8; Morris 0-0-3-3 (Totals: 14-3-13-50)