Lady Tigers state bid falls one game short

Published 7:41 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2005

By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
Up until this year Midfield had hardly been known for its success in girls basketball. In fact, the Lady Patriots had never even recorded a winning season until the current campaign.
Midfield now has a lot bigger prize in addition to a winning season. The Lady Patriots earned their first ever trip to the state tournament and they did it at the expense of the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers with a 47-39 triumph in Saturday's Class 3A Southwest Regional championship game at Mobile.
Midfield's size eventually wore the Lady Tigers down with a front court of 6-2 Courtney Jones, 6-1 Meredith Mitchell and 5-10 Erica Baylor.
What may be even more impressive about Midfield's victory, which snapped a string of three straight state tournament appearances for T.R. Miller, was the Lady Patriots started four freshmen. Those four freshmen accounted for all 47 Midfield points.
Much like in its regional semifinal win over Leeds, T.R. Miller (29-2) got off to a sluggish start.
The Lady Tigers got a bucket from Jasmine Sanford in the first minute of the game and then managed just a free throw by Joy McCorvey over the next seven plus minutes.
Meanwhile the Lady Patriots (25-7) took advantage of the situation and built an 11-3 lead on the strength of three-point plays by Jones and Brandi Turner.
T.R. Miller, which had a 17-game winning streak snapped, was able to end its field goal drought at the buzzer when Keonshaye Lane drained a three-pointer that cut the deficit to 11-6. It was the first of six treys the lone Lady Tiger senior would hit on the day.
Lane's three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer would be the first of five T.R. Miller would hit in a seven-minute stretch.
Keya Peterson drained a trey early in the second quarter and Lane hit two more over the next three minutes that narrowed Midfield's lead to 18-17.
McCorvey followed with a bucket from inside the lane that gave the Lady Tigers a 19-18 lead, their first advantage since the opening moments of the game. Then Lane hit her third three-pointer of the quarter that gave the Lady Tigers a 22-18 lead, their biggest advantage of the first half.
T.R. Miller, which led 23-20 at halftime, took its biggest lead of the game in the opening moments of the third quarter when McCorvey scored from inside to make it 25-20.
The play of Jones, who led all scorers with 22 points, started to take its toll on T.R. Miller. Jones scored from down low and hit five of six free throw attempts in the third quarter. The last of those brought Midfield even at 29-29.
The Lady Patriots then moved in front 33-29 late in the third quarter when Mitchell scored on back-to-back offensive rebounds put Midfield up.
Although T.R. Miller never led again in the game, the Lady Tigers did pull even at 33-33 when McCorvey scored with 6:40 left.
Jones put Midfield back on top, this time to stay, with four free throws over the next two minutes. The free throw line would be a key area in the game where Midfield had a 20-2 advantage in scoring and a 31-7 edge in attempts.
Lane hit two final threes in the fourth quarter that gave the Lady Tigers a chance. Her fifth trey of the game narrowed Midfield's lead to 37-36 with 4:16 left and her final three-pointer cut the Lady Patriots' advantage to 41-39 with 57 seconds left.
With 43 seconds left, Baylor hit the first of two free throw attempts that made it a three-point lead of 42-39. The battle for the rebound on the second attempt miss resulted in a jump ball, which went to T.R. Miller on the alternating possession.
The Lady Tigers had two cracks at the basket before a traveling violation ended perhaps their final serious threat.
Baylor hit two free throws with 12 seconds left that made it a two-possession lead of 44-39 and Turner hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for some extra icing.
At Mobile
Midfield 11 9 13 14 – 47
T.R. Miller 6 17 8 8 – 39
MIDFIELD (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Jones 6-0-10-22; Mitchell 3-0-4-10; Turner 2-1-2-9; Baylor 1-0-4-6 (Totals: 12-1-20-47)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Lane 0-6-0-18; McCorvey 5-0-2-12; Peterson 1-1-0-5; Sanford 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 8-7-2-39)

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