Junior shines as Tigers roll to victory on Senior Night
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
On a night where T.R. Miller seniors Damien Jackson, Gerald Banton, Tye Walker, A.J. Daugherty and George Arauz were honored prior to their last regular season home game, it was junior Laine Lucas who stepped to the forefront.
Lucas, who did not even play until the second quarter, poured in a career high 24 points to pace the Tigers to a 71-53 triumph over the Northview (Fla.) Chiefs Saturday.
"We probably have four, maybe five guys, who are capable of scoring 20 points on a given night. Even though Laine had never done that before, he has always been capable," T.R. Miller coach Rob Atkinson said.
The Tigers five seniors were all in the starting lineup and stayed on the floor throughout the first quarter. During that time frame T.R. Miller fell behind 7-2, rallied to take an 11-9 lead six minutes into the game on Damien Jackson's bucket and fell behind again 17-12 by the end of the quarter.
Northview (7-13) extended that advantage to a game high bulge of 22-12 two minutes into the second quarter when Cody Ellis drained a three-pointer.
With its starting unit on the floor, it did not take long for T.R. Miller to swing the pendulum its way.
Three buckets and two free throws by Lucas sent the Tigers on a 17-4 run to close out the first half. Lucas' last field goal of the half pulled T.R. Miller even at 24-24 with 1:39 left in the second quarter and Banton's three-point play with 21 seconds left gave the Tigers a 29-26 lead headed into halftime.
The Chiefs cut that advantage to a mere point three minutes into the third quarter when a basket by Ellis brought Northview within 35-34.
The Tigers never let the Chiefs get over the hump. Banton, Chris Byrd, Lucas and Damien Jackson all had field goals over the next four minutes before Wade Jackson drained a trey and scored off a steal by Lucas that quickly knocked T.R. Miller's lead into double digits at 49-38.
While Northview did cut that gap to just 53-48 when Jairus Allen scored in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, the Tigers' defense stiffened and limited the Chiefs to just two additional free throws until the
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Lucas posted his third straight eight-point quarter that got the lead back into double digits. It reached its game high margin of 18 points when Walker scored with a minute left to make it 68-50 and Daugherty buired a three-pointer at the buzzer that enabled T.R. Miller to match that mark.
T.R. Miller finished the regular season with a 16-8 record. The Tigers now get set to open up the Class 3A Area 1 Tournament at Clarke County Friday when it takes on Straughn at 5:30 p.m.
"I probably would have taken a 16-8 record for the regular season when it started although it was probably a little disappointing after we started 11-2," Atkinson said. "None of that matters now. Everybody is back to 0-0 and nothing else matters but Straughn."
The Tigers junior varsity capped off an impressive 15-3 season with a 64-29 drilling of Northview. Jeremy Knight paced T.R. Miller with 13 points, while Terrelle Brooks chipped in 11.
At T.R. Miller
Northview 17 9 20 7 – 53
T.R. Miller 12 17 24 18 – 71
NORTHVIEW (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Allen 6-1-5-20; Bank 5-0-5-15; Ellis 1-3-0-11; Cook 1-1-0-5;Kirkland 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 14-5-10-53)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Lucas 9-0-6-24; D. Jackson 6-0-1-13; Banton 5-0-2-12; Arauz 1-1-1-6; W. Jackson 1-1-0-5; Byrd 2-0-0-4; Daugherty 0-1-0-3; Andrews 1-0-0-2; Ty. Walker 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 26-3-10-71)
Northview 13 6 4 6 – 29
T.R. Miller 16 18 12 24 – 64
NORTHVIEW (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Juhasz 7-0-0-14; Barnes 2-0-0-4; Howard 2-0-0-4; Lewis 0-1-0-3; Sanders 1-0-0-2; Levins 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 13-1-0-29)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Jer. Knight 5-0-3-13; Brooks 3-1-2-11; Ter. Walker 4-0-2-10; Fountain 4-0-2-10; Stallworth 3-0-2-8; Curry 1-0-2-4; Jones 2-0-0-4; Cunningham 1-0-1-3; Payne 1-0-0-2; Hardy 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 24-1-13-64)