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Samuel grabs fourth tourney MVP Award

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
It seems to be standard procedure. Every time the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers basketball team plays in a tournament, senior Ashley Samuel walks away with the Most Valuable Player Award.
Samuel bagged her fourth MVP honor of the season at the Class 3A Southwest Regional. Samuel also received the top honor at the Escambia County, Pensacola Catholic and Area 1 Tournaments.
Samuel posted double-doubles in both regional games. She had 32 points and 16 rebounds in the semifinal game against Tarrant. She tallied another 14 points with 11 boards in the championship game against Sumter County.
Samuel actually had some shooting problems against Sumter County, as she hit just two of 10 field goal attempts. However, the two field goals she hit were both three-pointers and those treys bumped T.R. Miller's slim one-point lead to 17-10 at half-time.
Samuel found other ways to score, as she was eight-for-10 from the free throw line and hit all four of her charity tosses in the fourth quarter.
"Ashley is the kind of player who finds ways to score," T.R. Miller coach Ron Jackson said.
Lady Tigers sophomore center Joy McCorvey also made the All-Regional Team. McCorvey had 16 points and 13 rebounds in the two games.
Other players on the team included Sumter County's Felicia Drummond and Jessica Delanie, Tarrant's Sherri Morris and Indian Springs' Elizabeth Theibert.
While T.R. Miller has been a frequent visitor to the state tournament, it has never won the championship in Class 3A.
All three of its state crowns (1995, 1996 and 2002) came while the school competed in Class 4A.
If the Lady Tigers can win the state championship, they would tie the 2002 team's school record for wins in a season. That team went 30-2. T.R. Miller would have the same record this year if it can reach that victory total.
While many are pointing towards a possible championship match between Lauderdale County and T.R. Miller, the state's top two ranked teams, the Lady Tigers have a strong DAR squad waiting for them in the semifinals.
DAR (27-6) had little trouble winning the Northeast Regional crown. The Lady Pats mowed down Glencoe in the semifinals 61-36 and Plainview 67-37 for the championship.
DAR has a formidable one-two punch in guard Mia Keller and forward Brooke Largen. Keller led the Lady Pats in the regional with 36 points and 13 rebounds and five steals, while Largen had 32 points and 21 rebounds.