Second half tear lifts Lady Tigers
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
It took an early wakeup call to get the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers to Mobile in time for an uncustomary 9 a.m. start.
Another alarm went off early in the third quarter when T.R. Miller stormed back for a 39-23 win over the Leeds Lady Green Wave in Thursday's Class 3A Southwest Regional semifinal game held at the Mitchell Center on the campus of the University of South Alabama.
The Lady Tigers (29-1 and winners of 17 straight) were down 10 points three minutes into the second quarter, down six at half and down eight after Leeds' Tiphanie Baker scored at start the third quarter.
That is when the alarm went off, as T.R. Miller suddenly found its offensive and defensive touch that produced a 27-3 tear through the end of the game.
Defense was a big part of the Lady Tigers' offense, as Leeds (17-9) committed 11 second half turnovers.
Three of those turnovers came in succession midway through the third quarter that led to a pair of hoops by Keonshaye Lane and another by Joy McCorvey. The latter of Lane's baskets gave T.R. Miller a 23-22 lead, its first advantage since early in the first quarter.
There was a good reason why the Lady Tigers held back some of their energy until the second half.
McCorvey, who may have been plagued the most by flu-like symptoms, still managed to score 20 points and grab 12 rebounds.
The Saturday McCorvey referred to was yesterday where T.R. Miller took on Midfield (25-7) in the regional championship game. Midfield ousted Clarke County 68-45. If the Lady Tigers beat Midfield, they would open up the state tournament semifinals in Birmingham on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
With T.R. Miller up 4-3 halfway through the first quarter, Leeds took the lead for the remainder of the first half when two buckets by Baker and an offensive rebound bucket by Patrice Jackson put the Green Wave up 9-4.
T.R. Miller was able to manage just two field goals by McCorvey in a nine-minute stretch that saw the Leeds lead grow to 18-8 after a basket by Baker with five minutes left in the first half.
As it turned out, the Lady Green Wave would manage just two field goals and five total points over the next 21 minutes.
A fastbreak bucket by Krystle Smith and two free throws by Jasmine Sanford brought T.R. Miller within 18-12 by halftime.
The Lady Tigers still faced a six-point deficit of 22-16 two minutes into the third quarter when they began a decisive 17-0 blitz that turned the game in their favor.
The first 11 of those points came in the third quarter. Sanford capped off the third quarter scoring with a bucket from inside the lane that gave T.R. Miller a 27-22 cushion.
A bucket and two free throws by McCorvey and two free throws by Sanford capped off the 17-0 blitz that suddenly had the Lady Tigers in the driver's seat with a 33-22 lead.
T.R. Miller went to a spread offense in the fourth quarter, a ploy that limited Leeds to just two possessions in the first four minutes.
That forced Leeds to resort to fouling and the Lady Tigers iced the game from the charity stripe where they hit eight of 13 attempts in the final frame.
T.R. Miller 6 6 15 12 – 39
Leeds 9 9 4 1 – 23
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) McCorvey 8-0-4-20; Lane 3-0-2-8; Sanford 1-0-5-7; Smith 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 14-0-11-39)
LEEDS (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Baker 5-0-1-11; McCoy 3-0-1-7; Jackson 1-0-1-3; Smith 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 10-0-3-23)