Quick start fuels Lady Tigers to EC title
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
It was pretty much an even game after the initial run. Then again that was like locking the barn after the horse was stolen.
Even though the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers were outscored by a point over the final 28 minutes, they had enough early cushion to post a 47-35 victory over the host Escambia County Lady Blue Devils in Saturday's championship game of the Escambia County Tournament.
It looked as if the the Lady Tigers (7-0) might be able to name their score after they began the night with a 13-0 blitz. Tournament Most Valuable Player Joy McCorvey began a 17-point night with a trio of field goals and a free throw, while Jasmine Sanford and Krystle Smith combined for three more field goals in the early strike.
While T.R. Miller's lead was never seriously challenged the rest of the way, the Lady Tigers were also unable to deliver a knockout blow against a team it beat 74-43 on the same floor back on November 30.
"I think that was part of it. It's tough to get up to play against a team you have soundly beaten that soon after you've played them. I don't think Escambia County did anything different against us from that first meeting. It was more a case of what we didn't do, which was execution." T.R. Miller coach Ron Jackson said.
After the initial 13-0 blitz, the Lady Tigers were only able to extend that advantage up to 15 points the remainder of the first half. The last was a 23-8 edge after Sanford's baseline jumper halfway through the second quarter.
Escambia County slowly pecked away at its early hole and got as close in the first half as 23-14 after a goal by Ashanti Jones late in the frame.
T.R. Miller, which led 27-16 at halftime, made its best bid to deliver a knockout blow in the third quarter. With the lead at 30-20, Keya Peterson drained a three-pointer, Keonshaye Lane nailed a jumper from the wing and McCorvey, who had a dozen rebounds to go with her 17 points, scored twice from down low. Her hoop with nine seconds left in the quarter gave the Lady Tigers their biggest lead of the game at 39-22.
While Escambia County was unable to make a serious run at the Lady Tigers down the stretch, they got as close as 45-34 on Carnella Lee's basket with a minute left.
"We weren't as ready for this game from a mental standpoint as we need to be. At the same time, it's a good sign to still win when you're not at the top of your game. We definitely have room for improvement," Jackson said.
The Lady Tigers' next action is Friday at Monroe County.
At Escambia County
Escambia Co. 4 12 6 13 – 35
T.R. Miller 17 10 12 8 – 47
ESCAMBIA COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) C. Lee 6-0-0-12; B. Lee 2-0-0-4; Jones 2-0-0-4; Sanders 2-0-0-4; Lett 2-0-0-4; Crenshaw 1-0-0-2; White 1-0-0-2; Banks 1-0-0-2; Crimbley 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 17-0-1-35)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) McCorvey 8-0-1-17; Sanford 7-0-1-15; Smith 3-0-0-6; Lane 2-0-0-4; Peterson 0-1-0-3; Scott 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 21-1-2-47)