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Tigers hold off Monroe County

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Damien Jackson's seven three-pointers were huge. So were the 16 free throws out of 19 attempts T.R. Miller hit in the fourth quarter. A forced jump ball caused by Laine Lucas late in the game when it was the Tigers' turn for possession was also key.
While the list of heroes and clutch plays was rather lengthy, T.R. Miller needed every one of them to hold off the host Monroe County Tigers 68-67 Friday.
It may have been a game T.R. Miller (4-2) led from start to finish, but it was also a game the Tigers were unable to breathe a sigh of relief until the final second ticked off.
"Anytime you leave here with a win, you've done something. They're a 5A school with a lot of big boys inside. I credit their players for never giving up, but our kids didn't give up either," T.R. Miller coach Rob Atkinson said. "If you're going to be good, you have to win on the road and this was our first true road win of the season."
T.R. Miller had as much as a 15-point lead with less than two minutes left in the third quarter only to see Monroe County (4-5) get right back in the game with three three-pointers in less than three minutes.
That began a furious fourth quarter charge by Monroe County that saw the host Tigers rack up 33 points in the final frame after having scored just 34 in the previous three quarters.
"They got the pace of the game speeded up, which is something we knew they wanted to do," Atkinson said.
T.R. Miller rode the torrid periemter shooting by senior guard Damien Jackson for most of the game. Jacson drained three treys in the first quarter, another in the second and three more in the third frame en route to a career high 26 points.
"Damien got in a zone and stayed in it. He was tremendous," Atkinson said.
Two of Jackson's three-pointers came before the game was less than three minuts old when T.R. Miller cruised out to a 9-2 lead, an advantage it would not relinquish.
Wade Jackson, who finished with 17 points, had a pair of charity tosses and a field goal late in the opening quarter that pushed T.R. Miller's lead up to 18-10.
Damien Jackson's fourth three-pointer of the first half early in the second quarter knocked the visiting Tigers' lead into double digits at 21-10. It reached a first half high of 24-12 on Wade Jackson's fastbreak layup a few moments later.
T.R. Miller maintained that double digits lead until the waning moments of the first half when Serrell McMillan hit two free throws that brought Monroe County within 30-22.
Damien Jackson, who had 16 points in the first half, stayed hot in the third quarter with three treys in the first six minutes. His seventh trifecta of the game gave T.R. Miller a 45-30 lead, its biggest advantage in the game.
T.R. Miller still had a double digit lead of 58-48 after two Wade Jackson free throws with 4:48 left when Monroe County made its move.
Led by 14 fourth quarter points by Coecoby Penn and eight more by Terrell Richardson, Monroe County cut the lead to just 64-62 on a basket by Penn with 1:17 left.
After Tye Walker hit a free throw that took T.R. Miller's lead up to three, Lucas forced a jump ball on the other end. More importantly, it was T.R. Miller's ball on the alternate possession.
Gerald Banton hit a key charity toss with 50 seocnds left that made it a two-possession lead of 66-62.
Penn hit two free throws with 34 seconds left that made it 66-64, but Wade Jackson got those back with two charity tosses of his own with 18 seconds left that made it a two-possession lead again. Penn hit a three-pointer at the buzzer that accounted for the final one-point margin.
The Tigers' junior varsity suffered its first loss of the season, as it fell to Monroe County 32-27. T.R. Miller led 14-10 at halftime before the host Tigers outscored them 22-13 in the second half.
Terrelle Brooks paced T.R. Miller (3-1) with 11 points.
At Monroe County
T.R. Miller 18 12 18 20 – 68
See TIGERS Page 8
Monroe County 10 12 12 33 – 67
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) D. Jackson 1-7-3-26; W. Jackson 4-0-9-17; Ty. Walker 1-0-5-7; Banton 1-0-6-8; Lucas 2-0-2-6; Byrd 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 11-7-25-68)
MONROE COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Penn 5-3-2-21; Richardson 6-0-1-13; Stovull 5-1-0-13; Thompson 3-0-1-7; McMillan 2-0-3-7; Stallworth 2-0-0-4; Nettles 1-0-0-2 (Total: 24-4-7-67)
Junior varsity
T.R. Miller 4 10 5 8 – 27
Monroe County 2 8 12 10 – 32
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Brooks 4-1-0-11; Stallworth 2-0-2-6; Andrews 1-1-0-5; Ter. Walker 0-1-0-3; Jer. Knight 1-0-0-2 (totals: 8-3-2-27)
MONROE COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Madison 1-2-2-10; Edwards 2-1-0-7; Stanton 3-0-1-7; Moore 2-0-0-4; Lee 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 10-3-3-32)
T.R. Miller 54, Jay 29
The Tigers roared out to a quick start and never let up, as they clawed the visiting Jay (Fla.) Royals 54-29.
For all intent, T.R. Miller set the tone for the game in the opening moments when it raced out to a 9-0 lead. That lead grew to as high as 14 points before the first quarter was over and by as many as 17 points in the first half.
That lead was built with the Tigers pressure defense, as Jay turned the ball over seven times in the opening frame and 13 times in the first half.
"Our shooting touch isn't there yet. Right now a lot of our offense is through our defense. That's one reason why we had to press as much as we did," T.R. Miller coach Rob Atkinson said. "On the flip side, we don't want to have to get into a situation where we have to rely too much on our defense because we'll see plenty of teams who can handle the ball a lot better."
The initial 9-0 surge was built through Gerlad Banton's offensive rebound bucket followed by his steal for a layup, Tye Walker's three-pointer and Damien Jackson's fastbreak layup.
It took Jay (2-4) five minutes to get on the board and seven minutes before Daniel Lewis made the Royals' first field goal.
In the final minute of the quarter, the Tigers got two fastbreak hoops by Damien Jackson, another bucket by Walker and two free throws by Wade Jackson that knocked the cushion up to 19-5.
The Royals' only serious run at T.R. Milelr came in the opening moments of the second period, as a pair of hoops by Jansen Burgess and a goal by Myles Taylor trimmed the home team's advantage to 19-11.
That threat was quickly extinguised, as a three-pointer by Walker strated T.R. Miller's second 9-0 run of the half. This one boosted the lead up to a first half high of 28-11.
The Tigers, who led 28-12 at halftime, took their lead above the 20-point mark just before the third quarter ended when Laine Lucas' baseline jumper made it 41-20.
Even though T.R. Miller made just one field goal in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter, it still had more than enough cushion thanks to four charity tosses by Banton and Damien Jackson's trey.
In junior varsity action, T.R. Miller raised its record to 3-0 with a 45-27 victory over Jay.
The Tigers used a 29-13 surge in the middle two quarters to net the win. Brandon Samuel fired in 20 points to lead the way.
T.R. Miller plays its final game fore the Christmas break Monday when it hosts Andalusia. That game, which has a 4 p.m. junior varsity tip-off, was originally slated for December 3, but was pushed back due to the football playoffs.
At T.R. Miller
Jay 5 7 8 9 – 29
T.R. Miller 19 9 13 13 – 54
JAY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Taylor 3-1-3-12; Weaver 3-0-0-6; Lewis 2-0-1-5; Patrick 1-0-0-2; Skaggs 1-0-0-2; Lowey 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 11-1-4-29)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Walker 3-2-2-14; Banton 3-0-4-10; D. Jackson 3-1-0-9; Lucas 4-0-1-9; W. Jackson 1-0-4-6; Daugherty 0-1-0-3; Brooks 1-0-1-3 (Totals: 15-4-12-54)
Junior varsity
Jay 7 8 5 7 – 27
T.R. Miller 8 16 13 8 – 45
JAY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Sasser 3-0-0-6; Castleberry 3-0-0-6; Swick 1-1-0-5; Nelson 1-1-0-5; Hendrick 1-0-1-3; Brabham 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 10-2-1-47)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Samuel 7-0-6-20; Andrews 3-1-0-9; Cunningham 3-0-0-6; Ter. Walker 2-0-0-4; Bowens 1-0-1-3; Jer. Knight 1-0-0-2; Stallworth 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 17-1-8-45)