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Lady Tigers close in on area crown

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Impatience may have gotten the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers in some trouble, but patience got them a 40-22 win over the visiting Clarke County Lady Bulldogs Friday.
It also moved them firmly in the driver's seat of the Class 3A Area 1 race. The Lady Tigers (18-3 overall and 3-0 in Area play) took a two-game lead as well as the season sweep tiebreaker over the team that figured to be their toughest roadblock. From a mathematical end, Straughn (1-1 in Area play) is still in the hunt. The Lady Tigers can clinch at least a share for the regular season title if it can win at Straughn Tuesday.
"It's a big win for us. We're not home free by any means, but it puts us in a good position," T.R. Miller coach Ron Jackson said.
Friday's rematch had some similarities to the first encounter between the teams where T.R. Miller won 64-53. In that game, the Lady Tigers got out of the gate slowly and fell behind 9-2 before they started to recover.
In Friday's game, Clarke County (12-9 overall and 3-2 in Area 1) once again got off to a quick start. Three buckets, one of which led to a three-point play by Erica Moore, and a three-pointer by Audrie Denson put the visitors out in front 10-2.
The Lady Bulldogs sacrificed coverage of the outside game in order to smother T.R. Miller leading scorers Joy McCorvey and Jasmine Sanford, who were held to 12 points each.
Although T.R. Miller had occasional success, as Samantha Brown and Keya Peterson each hit three-pointers, the Lady Tigers' offense was bottled up most of the first half.
Clarke County, which led 12-7 at the end of the first quarter, saw the remainder of that lead disappear when Peterson's trey put T.R. Miller up 16-14 midway through the second quarter.
A bucket by Moore and a free throw by Courtney Thomas over the next minute put the Lady Bulldogs up 17-16. Little did anybody know at that point Clarke County would score just two points over the next 19 minutes and only five more points the rest of the game.
Two free throws by McCorvey in the final minute of the first half gave T.R. Miller an 18-17 lead. The Lady Tigers began the third quarter with two buckets each by Sanford and Shae Walker that stretched the lead up to 26-17.
While Clarke County was content with limiting McCorvey and Sanford's offensive production, T.R. Miller was content with milking the minutes off the clock.
The Lady Tigers, who led 26-19 at the end of the third quarter, picked the Lady Bulldogs' defense apart with their spread game in the fourth quarter. Three times it led to buckets by McCorvey. Sanford scored on another occasion. By that time the lead had grown to 36-19.
"Early on their defense threw us off a bit and we rushed some things. Later on we did a good job of not forcing things. The more patient you can be on offense, the more frustrating it becomes for the other team's defense," Jackson said.
At T.R. Miller
Clarke County 12 5 2 3 – 22
T.R. Miller 7 11 8 14 – 40
CLARKE COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Moore 6-0-1-13; Denson 1-2-0-8; Thomas 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 7-2-2-22)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Sanford 6-0-0-12; McCorvey 5-0-2-12; Walker 3-0-2-8; Brown 0-1-0-3; Key. Peterson 0-1-0-3; Grice 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 15-2-4-40)
Lady Tigers down WSN
T.R. Miller stayed unbeaten in Class 3A Area 1 Tuesday when it downed the visiting W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles 73-20.
T.R. Miller had two huge runs in the game, one in each half. The Lady Tigers led just 11-5 with less than two minutes left in the first quarter when they went on a 26-0 rampage over the next six minutes that swelled the advantage to 37-5.
Donya Grice had buckets on the front end and the back end of the run, but the biggest part of the surge came from Jasmine Sanford and Joy McCorvey. Sanford had five buckets, one of which led to a three-point play,
and McCorvey added four more hoops.
T.R. Miller's defense forced the Lady Blue Eagles into 12 first quarter turnovers and 14 giveaways by the time the lead hit 37-5 halfway through the second quarter.
While it may not have been quite as big as the first half tear, T.R. Miller's 18-0 run over the game's final 10 minutes may have been even more significant because most of it came from the reserve unit. Seven players scored during that stretch led by three-point buckets by Kesha Peterson and Zykeya Barton.
Sanford outscored the Lady Blue Eagles by herself with 25 points. It marked her fifth straight 20-point plus game.
At T.R. Miller
W.S. Neal 5 6 9 0 – 20
T.R. Miller 24 19 23 7 – 73
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Andrews 2-0-2-6; Smith 2-0-1-5; Likely 2-0-0-4; Matthews 0-1-0-3; Elliott 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 7-1-3-20)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Sanford 12-0-1-25; McCorvey 7-0-1-15; Key. Peterson 1-2-0-8; Grice 3-0-0-6; Bolly 2-0-0-4; Barton 0-1-0-3; Smith 1-0-1-3; Kes. Peterson 0-1-0-3; Brown 0-0-2-2; Walker 1-0-0-2; Hubbard 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 28-4-5-73)