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Lady Tigers wrap up Area crown

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
For Joy McCorvey, it was another milestone in her illustrious career. For the T.R. Miller Lady Tigers, it was a stepping stone accomplishment for what they hope will lead to bigger things down the road.
Both items came with the Lady Tigers 56-42 win over a pesky W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles squad Friday at East Brewton.
McCorvey entered Friday's game three points shy of 2,000 for her career. The 6-0 senior standout reached that plateau with a pair of free throws followed by a field goal in the first three minutes of the game. Deanna Jackson (2,398) and Ashley Samuel (2,197) are the only other T.R. Miller players to reach 2,000 career points.
"That is a great milestone for Joy. It has taken a great effort for her to get there over the years," T.R. Miller coach Ron Jackson said.
T.R. Miller's victory, its seventh straight, wrapped up the Class 3A Area 1 regular season championship and the right to host next month's Area Tournament. It also gave them 20 wins for the season.
"It's not our ultimate goal, but it's a good stepping stone accomplishment for us at this point of the season," Jackson said.
Even though the Lady Blue Eagles came up on the short end of the short end of the scoreboard, there were plenty of positives W.S. Neal (5-15 overall and 0-5 in Area 1) took from the game.
For starters, junior guard Tierra Andrews had the best game of her career with a 29-point outing.
Even bigger, the Lady Eagles were able to keep one of the state's top teams in Class 3A within striking range deep into the game.
"Tierra was outstanding. We've really seen her start to mature a lot as a player in recent games," W.S. Neal coach Steve Lambert said. "We don't celebrate losses, but it has been a long time since W.S. Neal has played T.R. Miller that close for that long. If we can play with that kind of effort the rest of the season, we've got a chance to win some games."
Andrews had a pair of three-pointers and two other field goals in the first five and a half minutes that gave the Lady Blue Eagles a 10-8 lead.
Just when T.R. Miller (20-3 overall and 5-0 in Area 1) looked as if it had found its groove when an 8-0 run put the Lady Tigers up 16-10 two minutes into the second quarter, W.S. Neal battled back again.
Buckets by Jessica Smith and Jolesia Likely followed by Andrews' third three-pointer of the first half put the Lady Blue Eagles back in front 17-16.
W.S. Neal still held on to a one-point lead with two minutes left in the first half when a pair of buckets and two free throws by Jasmine Sanford and an offensive rebound bucket by McCorvey put T.R. Miller in front 27-22 on its way to a 27-23 halftime lead.
One reason why W.S. Neal was able to stay close in the first half was it committed just five turnovers. The Lady Blue
See LADY TIGERS Page 3B
Eagles had that many in the first two minutes of the third quarter when a free throw by Sanford and Keya Peterson along with a bucket by McCorvey widened the lead to 31-23.
W.S. Neal was held to just one field goal in the third quarter. That combined with three buckets by Sanford enabled T.R. Miller to open up a 37-28 lead by the end of the quarter.
A three-pointer by Peterson in the first minute of the fourth quarter took the lead into double digits for the first time at 40-28. It would not stay there though, as baskets by Jessica Smith and Andrews cut the gap to 42-34 with 5:45 left.
A basket by McCorvey got the lead back into double digits and this time it stayed there. T.R. Miller was finally able to open up some comfortable breathing room when a pair of hoops and a free throw by Sanford and a field goal by McCorvey made it 53-37 with three minutes left.
"We didn't play with the kind of intensity we usually have. It's mentally tough to play a team you've beaten twice previously by pretty good margins. At the same time, give W.S. Neal credit. Their players stepped it up and Andrews played a great game. We didn't do a good job against her," Jackson said.
Sanford led the Lady Tigers with 23 points and McCorvey added 19.
"I felt we did a pretty good job against them until I look at the scorebook and see they had 42 points against us," Lambert said. "We're probably going to see T.R. Miller again at the Area Tournament. I think a game like this shows we can play with them."
At W.S. Neal
T.R. Miller 12 15 10 19 – 56
W.S. Neal 10 13 5 14 – 42
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Sanford 9-0-5-23; McCorvey 8-0-3-19; Key. Peterson 0-2-3-9; Grice 0-0-2-2; Walker 1-0-0-2; A. Williams 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 18-2-14-56)
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Andrews 4-4-9-29; Likely 3-0-3-9; Smith 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 9-4-12-42)
Lady Tigers rip Straughn
T.R. Miller earned at least a share of the Area 1 championship Tuesday when it rolled past the host Straughn Lady Tigers 62-21.
The Lady Tigers already had a 14-8 lead through one quarter thanks to seven points by Joy McCorvey when it went on a 16-0 blitz in the second period to open up a commanding 30-8 bulge by halftime.
Jasmine Sanford was the big spark to the run with 10 points during that frame. Keya Peterson threw in a key three-pointer.
The host Lady Tigers widened their lead even more in the second half. A 10-6 scoring edge in the third quarter took the lead up to 40-14 and T.R. Miller continued to steamroll along with a 22-7 run in the fourth period spearheaded by nine points by McCorvey.
Both McCorvey and Sanford racked up 21 points to lead T.R. Miller.
At Straughn
T.R. Miller 14 16 10 22 – 62
Straughn 8 0 6 7 – 21
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Sanford 8-0-5-21; McCorvey 9-0-3-21; Peterson 0-2-0-6; A. Williams 0-1-2-5; Walker 1-1-0-5; Grice 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 20-4-10-62)
STRAUGHN (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Parker 2-0-0-4; Sport 2-0-0-4; Driver 1-0-1-3; Wilcox 1-0-0-2; Hatchett 1-0-0-2; Stokes 1-0-0-2; Watson 1-0-0-2; Daniels 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 10-0-1-21)