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Clarke County knocks Tigers out of Area title race

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
From a mathematical standpoint, the location of next month's Class 3A Area 1 Tournament remains undetermined.
One place where the tournament will not be is T.R. Miller. The Tigers were eliminated from the regular season crown when they lost a 52-45 decision on their home court to the Clarke County Bulldogs.
Clarke County (16-5 overall and 5-0 in Area play) clinched at least a share of the regular season title with the win. The only team that can catch the Bulldogs is Straughn (1-1 in Area). Straughn must win its final four area games to force a tie and then win a coin toss to keep the Area Tournament out of Grove Hill.
With two brief exceptions, T.R. Miller (9-10 overall and 1-2 in Area play) trailed the entire game.
Clarke County took its biggest lead of the first half in the opening quarter when Ben Burroughs' three-pointer put the Bulldogs up 11-4.
An offensive rebound basket by Wade Jackson at the first quarter buzzer and another offensive rebound bucket by Corey Cunningham in the first minute of the second quarter cut the gap to 11-8.
The Tigers got no closer the rest of the first half although they got within three points on three other occasions. That included the halftime margin of 19-16 after Laine Lucas scoring in the waning moments of the first half.
T.R. Miller finally got over that hump when Terrence Walker scored in the first minute of the second half to trim the Bulldogs' lead to just 19-18, but a key three-pointer and additional bucket by Ben Burroughs highlighted a 16-7 surge that gave the Bulldogs a game high lead of 35-25 with a minute left in the third quarter.
The Tigers made their best and what turned out to be their last run in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. Terrelle Brooks had a pair of buckets and two free throws, Walker and Lucas both scored from inside and finally two free throws by Brandon Andrews gave T.R. Miller a 39-38 lead with 2:53 left.
In less than a minute, that one-point lead turned into a six-point deficit thanks to a drive to the basket by Deforest Taite, a three-pointer by Taite and a steal and layup by Justin Burroughs put the visitors up 45-39 lead.
"We had a good effort and made some good adjustments to get back in the game and get the lead, but we didn't get some defensive stops in the fourth quarter," T.R. Miller coach Rob Atkinson said. "Clarke County is a good team. They're knocking on the door of the state rankings."
T.R. Miller's junior varsity completed a season sweep of the Bulldogs with a 42-37 win over Clarke County. The Tigers snapped a 20-20 tie with a 15-2 run in the third quarter.
Terry Hetherington led T.R. Miller (9-1) with 13 points, while David Payne had 11.
The Tigers continue Area 1 play Tuesday at Straughn.
At T.R. Miller
Clarke County 11 8 16 20 – 55
T.R. Miller 6 10 11 21 – 48
CLARKE COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) B. Burroughs 2-2-5-15; Kimbrough 5-0-1-11; J.
See TIGERS Page 4B
Burroughs 4-0-2-10; Taite 2-1-2-9; Owens 1-0-4-6; Williams 1-0-2-4 (Totals: 15-3-16-55)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Lucas 6-0-1-13; Jackson 5-0-2-12; Brooks 3-0-2-8; Cunningham 1-1-0-5; Je. Knight 1-0-2-4; Walker 2-0-0-4; Andrews 0-0-2-2 (Totals: 18-1-9-48)
Junior varsity
Clarke County 5 15 2 15 – 37
T.R. Miller 10 10 15 7 – 42
CLARKE COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Ely 2-2-0-10; Snell 0-2-0-6; J. Horn 1-1-0-5; Frazier 2-0-0-4; C. Horn 2-0-0-4; McCaskey 2-0-0-4; McCaskill 1-0-0-2; Carstarphen 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 11-5-0-37)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Hetherington 4-1-2-13; D. Payne 5-0-1-11; Fountain 2-0-2-6; Arauz 1-0-4-6; Powell 2-0-1-5; Lane 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 14-1-11-42)
Tigers top WSN
T.R. Miller used its best offensive output of the season Tuesday, as it got its first win of the Class 3A Area 1 campaign with a 70-58 win over the visiting W.S. Neal Blue Eagles.
The Tigers put a season high four players in double figures led by Brandon Andrews' career high 19 points. T.R. Miller got 15 from Wade Jackson, a season best 14 from Laine Lucas and 13 from Jordan Knight.
Although the Tigers never trailed in the game and led by as many as 20 points, they were unable to put away their Murder Creek rival until late in the fourth quarter.
T.R. Miller, which beat the Blue Eagles 55-26 at the Escambia County Tournament last month, threatened to pull away in the first quarter.
Led by three-pointers by Andrews and Jackson, a steal and layup by Andrews and a shot from the wing by Jackson, T.R. Miller opened up a 17-6 lead in the final minute of the first quarter.
A pair of hoops by B.J. McMillian and a field goal and two free throws by Sherman Sanders triggered a 12-1 run by the Blue Eagles that tied the game at 18-18 just before the halfway point of the second quarter.
Almost as quickly as W.S. Neal erased that double-digit deficit, T.R. Miller regained it. Jackson and Andrews both turned in three-point plays and Jordan Knight hit a three-pointer to spark a 17-5 run that put the Tigers up 35-23 at halftime.
That surge carried over into the third quarter, as buckets by Lucas and Terrelle Brooks along with a three-point play by Jordan Knight took the T.R. Miller advantage up to 43-25.
W.S. Neal allowed just one more field goal and only six total points over the last five minutes of the quarter. That gave the Blue Eagles a chance to cut into the lead, which they did. Sylvester Madison had two of the biggest buckets during that time span, one of which was a three-pointer at the buzzer that brought the Blue Eagles to within 49-39.
T.R. Miller's decisive bow came when it began the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run that took the lead up to a game high bulge of 59-39 thanks to three buckets by Andrews and a field goal and two free throws by Jordan Knight.
In a battle of two teams who entered their game with identical 7-1 records, T.R. Miller's junior varsity also got the best of W.S. Neal with a 50-29 victory.
Terry Hetherington knocked in 17 points to lead the Tigers, while Michael Arauz and David Payne each had eight. Chris Payne led the Blue Eagles with 11 points.
At T.R. Miller
W.S. Neal 8 15 16 19 – 58
T.R. Miller 17 18 14 21 – 70
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Alexander 4-2-0-14; Thomas 3-2-0-12; Sanders 3-0-3-9; McMillian 4-0-0-8; Madison 2-1-0-7; Roh. Travis 1-0-1-3; Ron. Travis 1-0-0-2; Bailey 1-0-0-2; J. Braldey 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 19-5-5-58)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Andrews 6-1-4-19; Jackson 3-2-3-15; Lucas 7-0-0-14; Jo. Knight 3-1-4-13; Brooks 2-0-1-5; Stallworth 0-0-2-2; Walker 0-0-2-2 (Totals: 21-4-16-70)
Junior varsity
W.S. Neal 11 5 8 5 – 29
T.R. Miller 10 17 10 13 – 50
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Payne 3-1-2-11; Wilson 2-1-0-7; J. Travis 2-0-0-4; Lambert 2-0-0-4; Brazile 1-0-0-2; B. Bradley 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 10-2-3-29)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Hetherington 5-2-1-17; D. Payne 3-0-2-8; Arauz 2-1-1-8; Fountain 3-0-0-6; Cunningham 1-1-0-5; Watson 1-0-0-2; Smith 1-0-0-2; Powell 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 17-4-4-50)