Lady Tigers limp out of Spring Hill
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
If their 19-point loss to Blount in the semifinals did not give T.R. Miller Lady Tigers coach Ron Jackson plenty of notes on where his team needs to improve, Friday's 59-38 setback to the Baker Lady Hornets in the third place game of the Spring Hill Tournament certainly did.
"One of the biggest reasons why we got into this tournament was to play some great competition and find out what we need to work on and we obviously have a lot to work on," Jackson said.
One of the biggest items that jumped out at the Lady Tigers was the lack of production to go with leading scorers Jasmine Sanford and Joy McCorvey. Sanford racked up a game high 23 points, while McCorvey added 15, but they were the only T.R. Miller players who scored. In the two losses at Spring Hill, Sanford (39) and McCorvey (33) accounted for 72 of the team's 78 points.
"It used to be our lack of bench scoring was one of our top concerns. Now it's getting points out of other spots in the lineup to go with Jasmine and Joy," Jackson said.
Baker (17-2 and ranked second in Class 6A) disposed of the Lady Tigers in many of the same way T.R. Miller has beaten its opponents in recent years…with defense and early offensive strikes.
By the time the game was two and a half minutes old the Lady Tigers (13-3) had missed all four of their shots, made three turnovers and found themselves in a 10-0 hole thanks to a pair of buckets and two free throws by Shakira Nettles, an offensive rebound by Ashley Young and LaQuarius Todd.
It would quickly get worse after an offensive rebound bucket by Sanford got T.R. Miller on the board. An offensive rebound bucket by Ashley Young, a bucket from inside the lane by Todd and a three-pointer by Nettles took Baker's lead up to 17-2.
T.R. Miller, which trailed 21-6 at the end of the quarter, was able to cut into its deficit in the second quarter. Sanford connected on four field goals, one of which was a three-point play, and McCorvey chipped in a pair of buckets that helped cut Baker's cushion to 29-19.
The Lady Tigers would get no closer. Not only did they go scoreless over the final two minutes of the first half and the first three minutes of the third quarter, but Baker strung together a 16-0 run that swelled its lead all the way up to 45-19.
The Lady Hornets, who maintained that 26-point margin of lead at 48-22 through the end of the third quarter, took its biggest lead of the game with 1:40 left in the fourth quarter when a free throw by Monica Meadows made it 57-30.
"Baker had a strong inside game and a good outside game to go with it," Jackson said. "We struggled to get anything going from the outside and that was a big part of our offensive problems. That allowed them to double up on Joy on the inside."
The Lady Tigers, who opened up their Class 3A Area 1 season Tuesday at Clarke County, return home Friday to face Flomaton and travel to Hillcrest Saturday.
Baker 21 14 13 11 – 59
T.R. Miller 6 13 3 16 – 38
BAKER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Nettles 6-0-3-15; Young 6-0-0-12; Todd 5-0-0-10; Marsh 1-0-4-6; Meadows 1-0-4-6; Lee 2-0-0-4; Phillips 2-0-0-4; Wilson 0-0-2-2 (Totals: 23-0-13-59)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Sanford 9-0-5-23; McCorvey 7-0-1-15 (Totals: 16-0-6-38)
Blount 16 10 14 15 – 59
T.R. Miller 11 6 15 8 – 40
BLOUNT (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) York 3-2-7-19; McKinnis 4-0-7-15; White 4-0-2-10; Morris 4-0-2-10; Matchette 0-1-2-5 (Totals: 15-3-20-59)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) McCorvey 7-0-4-18; Sanford 5-1-3-16; Smith 2-0-0-4; Grice 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 15-1-7-40)
McGill-Toolen 5 6 9 4 – 24
T.R. Miller 13 12 9 9 – 43
MCGILLEN-TOOLEN (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Cruthrids 3-1-0-9; Boykin 1-1-2-7; Wollett 0-1-1-4; Burnett 1-0-0-2; Coppejans 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 6-3-3-24)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) McCorvey 8-0-1-17; Sanford 6-0-1-13; Grice 2-1-0-7; Key. Peterson 0-2-0-6 (Totals: 16-3-2-43)
T.R. Miller 11 13 12 12 – 48
UMS-Wright 12 8 16 7 – 43
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Sanford 9-0-1-19; McCorvey 6-0-1-13; Grice 5-0-0-10; Smith 2-0-2-6 (Totals: 22-0-4-48)
UMS-WRIGHT (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) DuPriest 6-0-2-14; Hayes 1-3-0-11; Goncalves 2-0-4-8; Gilmore 2-0-0-4; Ladner 2-0-0-4; Elmore 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 14-3-6-43)