Bogan, Tigers stun Red Level
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
When a shooter goes into a slump, there is only one way for him to get out of it. Good thing T.R. Miller Tigers coach Rob Atkinson was patient with senior Greg Bogan.
After a scoreless first half, Bogan caught fire in the second half with six three-pointers. However, none was bigger than the one he hit at the final buzzer to give T.R. Miller a dramatic 49-46 win over the Red Level Tigers on Senior Night at Brewton Saturday.
"When you've got a shooter like Greg and they go into a slump, all you can do is to ride it out," Atkinson said. "Fortunately he came out of it in the second half."
Saturday's victory was arguably the best of the season for the Tigers (13-11). Red Level came into Saturday's game with a 16-4 record and ranked seventh in the state in Class 2A. The visiting Tigers also have the best individual player T.R. Miller has faced this season in 6-3 senior and Auburn University recruit Frank Tolbert.
Tolbert was a big factor when he played, but the key for T.R. Miller was Tolbert only played about half the game. Tolbert was plagued with foul trouble the entire game and departed with his fifth foul and 14 points with 1:50 left in the third quarter.
"Getting Tolbert into foul trouble was huge. He is a tremendous player. Quite frankly, I'm glad to see the last of him at this level. Now I'll just sit back and enjoy watching him on the Southeastern Conference television network," Atkinson said.
Tolbert scored all of Red Level's first seven points, as the visiting Tigers took a 7-3 lead four minutes into the game. Yet Tolbert soon headed to the bench after he got two quick fouls late in the first quarter.
During that span hoops by Kreij Bougard, Damien Jackson and Trey Paul gave T.R. Miller a 9-7 lead at the end of the period.
Paul had two more field goals, one of which led to a three-point play, early in the second quarter that extended T.R. Miller's cushion to 14-9.
Tolbert returned long enough in the second quarter to pick up his third foul with better than three minutes still left in the half.
To Red Level's credit, it did not fold with its big star on the bench. Instead senior center Will McInvale kept his team in the game with four buckets and a free throw in the second quarter.
McInvale's last hoop of the frame briefly gave Red Level a 20-18 lead before Tye Walker's offensive rebound bucket just before the half-time horn knotted the score at 20-20.
Even with Tolbert back on the floor in the third quarter, T.R. Miller was able to regain the advantage.
A pair of treys by Bogan, two field goals by Paul and a hoop by Laine Lucas gave the host Tigers their biggest lead of the game at 32-25.
Ironically as Tolbert departed for good, Red Level was in the midst of a 9-0 run that put the visiting Tigers back on top 34-32.
The seesaw affair started to swing back the other way in the waning moments of the third quarter. Damien Jackson's three-pointer and Gerald Banton's hoop from inside gave T.R. Miller a 37-34 lead headed into the fourth quarter.That lead reached 40-34 after a three-pointer by Bogan early in the final period.
Just when it seemed Red Level was about to succumb, the visitors rallied and took a 42-40 lead on a basket by McInvale with 4:39 left.
Bogan gave T.R. Miller the lead on three occasions in the final three minutes, each with a three-pointer.
The first gave the host Tigers a 43-42 lead with 3:11 left. The second gave T.R. Miller a 46-44 edge at the 1:31 mark.
Two free throws by Red Level's Larry Hudson tied the game at 46-46 with 31 ticks left prior to Bogan's final and decisive trey.
T.R. Miller, which played at Flomaton Tuesday, will play its final regular season game Friday when it travels to Monroe County.
At T.R. Miller
Red Level 7 13 14 12 – 46
T.R. Miller 9 11 17 12 – 49
RED LEVEL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) McInvale 9-0-1-19; Tolbert 4-2-0-14; Ryce 3-0-0-6; Hudson 0-0-4-4; Rigdon 1-0-0-2; Lawson 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 17-2-6-46)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Bogan 0-6-0-18; Paul 5-0-1-11; D. Jackson 2-2-0-10; Walker 1-0-2-4; Banton 1-0-0-2; Bougard 1-0-0-2; Lucas 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 11-8-3-49)