Lady Tigers bag Area 1 season title
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Staying home for the holidays is nice, but staying home in the postseason is even nicer if you are the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers.
Home is where the Lady Tigers will be next month when they host the Class 3A Area 1 Tournament. T.R. Miller earned that honor Friday when they downed the visiting Clarke County Lady Bulldogs 71-24 to claim the Area 1 regular season championship.
"It's a good thing anytime you get to play at home in the postseason. That will be an advantage for us when that time comes. Prior to that we still have some unfinished business. We want to beat W.S. Neal Tuesday and finish the Area 1 regular season undefeated," said T.R. Miller coach Ron Jackson.
T.R. Miller's 47-point margin of victory Friday was a bit bizarre considering the Lady Tigers (16-2 overall and 3-0 in Area 1 play) went the equivalent of a quarter (eight minutes) in the first half without scoring a point.
"Give Clarke County credit. They started double-teaming Ashley Samuel and that threw us for a while," Jackson said.
There was little indication the Lady Bulldogs would provide such a big obstacle based on the first six minutes of the game.
Samuel (nine) and Joy McCorvey (eight) combined for 17 points during that span when T.R. Miller raced out to a 19-4 lead.
The Lady Tigers would not score again until there were only two minutes left in the first half. Clarke County failed to take advantage of the situation, as it trimmed only four points off the lead during T.R. Miller's dry spell.
With the home team up 19-8, a basket by Keonshaye Lane finally got the Lady Tigers' offense going again.
Over the final two minutes of the half T.R. Miller went on a 13-0 run thanks to four buckets by McCorvey and two more by Samuel. Just like that T.R. Miller had a 32-8 half-time lead. McCorvey (15) and Samuel (13) accounted for 28 of T.R. Miller's 32 first half points.
The Lady Tigers had a much more balanced attack in the second half. In the third quarter, Megan Fountain came off the bench and hit a three-pointer and scored again inside off an assist from Samuel. Lane buried a three-pointer, while Krystle Smith turned a steal into a layup.
That production enabled T.R. Miller to extend its lead to 46-15 by the end of the third quarter. The Lady Tigers began the final frame on a 16-0 run. Three field goals by Samuel and two by Smith sparked that surge which increased the gap to 62-15.
"We got more people involved in offense in the second half, but the way Clarke County defended us forced us to go that way," Jackson said.
Samuel finished the night with a team high 21 points and moved within 12 of Felecia Jackson for second place on the Lady Tigers' career scoring list. Samuel was also a defensive menace with 11 steals. McCorvey added 19 points.
At T.R. Miller
Clarke County 7 1 7 9 – 24
T.R. Miller 19 13 14 25 – 71
CLARKE COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) T. Johnson 3-0-0-6; Curtis 2-0-1-5; Martin 1-0-1-3; Taylor 1-0-0-2; Thomas 1-0-0-2; D. Johnson 1-0-0-2; Dickerson 1-0-0-2; Denson 0-0-1-1; Davis 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 10-0-4-24)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Samuel 8-0-5-21; McCorvey 9-0-1-19; Lane 3-1-2-11; Smith 4-0-0-8; Fountain 1-1-0-5; Scott 1-0-1-3; Sanford 1-0-0-2; Herbert 0-0-1-1; Walker 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 27-2-11-71)
When people discuss the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers, they usually start with senior Ashley Samuel and sophomore Joy McCorvey and with good reason.
Samuel is averaging a team high 25.4 points per game and is closing in on 2,000 career points, while McCorvey is contributing 15.9 per contest.
If sophomore Jasmine Sanford's performance in Tuesday's game against visiting W.S. Neal is any indication, people may want to start including her in that group.
Sanford fired in a career high 20 points and was one of three Lady Tigers to reach that mark in a 78-14 victory.
"Jasmine's performance was great to see. I could tell in the locker room she was really focused. She came out and got off to a great start in the first quarter (with 10 points) and
See LADY TIGERS Page 6
played really well," T.R. Miller coach Ron Jackson said.
Meanwhile Samuel and McCorvey both had a game high 22 points. It marked the seventh time this season Samuel has outscored the opposing team.
T.R. Miller charged out to a 14-0 lead and held W.S. Neal (2-7) without a field goal for better than 14 minutes at the start of the game.
All five T.R. Miller starters scored during its 14-0 run at the start of the game. Sanford had three field goals in that stretch, while Samuel, McCorvey, Keonshaye Lane and Krystle Smith all had one.
Two free throws by Tierra Andrews broke that blitz and two free throws by Carolyn Marshall made it 18-4.
Just when W.S. Neal appeared to weather the initial storm, T.R. Miller began a 21-0 run that swelled its lead to 39-4.
While it was Sanford that carried the Lady Tigers in the first period with five buckets and 10 points, Samuel and McCorvey picked up the slack in the second period. Samuel had 12 of her 16 first half points in that frame, while McCorvey had 10 of her 14.
W.S. Neal's first field goal did not occur until the 1:35 mark of the second quarter when Brittany Tagudar scored off an offensive rebound.
The Lady Tigers' response to that was back-to-back offensive rebound buckets by McCorvey and a three-pointer at the first half buzzer by Samuel that made it 46-6.
Those three hoops were part of a 17-0 run the Lady Tigers strung together into the third quarter. When Samuel capped off that streak with a jumper from the free throw line, T.R. Miller's lead had grown to 56-6.
For a while, Sanford's early output appeared to be just a quick flash. After she put up 10 points in the first quarter, she recorded only two over the second and third frames. Sanford got hot again in the fourth quarter with four consecutive buckets to hit the 20-point mark.
At T.R. Miller
W.S. Neal 4 2 4 4 – 14
T.R. Miller 24 22 13 15 – 74
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Nolan 2-0-0-4; Andrews 0-0-3-3; C. Marshall 0-0-3-3; Tagudar 1-0-0-2; Fantray 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 4-0-6-14)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) McCorvey 11-0-0-22; Samuel 9-1-1-22; Sanford 10-0-0-20; Lane 1-1-0-5; Smith 2-0-0-4; Scott 1-0-0-2; Walker 1-0-0-2; Nettles 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 35-2-2-78)