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Hot Tigers cool off Escambia County

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
It may not be postseason time yet, but these days the T.R. Miller Tigers are playing like they are ready.
The Tigers won a season high fourth straight game Monday when they shocked the Escambia County Blue Devils 59-48 at Atmore.
Escambia County came into the game with an 18-3 record and ranked third in the state in Class 4A. The Blue Devils also already owned two wins over T.R. Miller earlier this season, 68-48 in the season opener and 49-40 in the Escambia County Tournament championship game played at Flomaton. The Tigers had dropped their last seven encounters to Escambia County since they beat the Blue Devils in the 2003-04 season opener.
The Tigers (13-10) never trailed in the game and took control right off the bat when they jumped on the Blue Devils 22-6 in the first quarter.
Junior guard Wade Jackson helped set the tone with a 12-point frame that included a three-point play, an offensive rebound bucket off a missed free throw, a bucket off an assist from Jordan Knight and a three-pointer that dropped through the net at the first quarter buzzer.
Escambia County's Chris Andrews tried to rally the Blue Devils in the second quarter. Andrews had a three-point play and three other field goals in the frame. That production plus a couple of field goals late in the quarter by Calvin Hartley trimmed T.R. Miller's lead to 32-24. The Tigers halted the momentum when Terrelle Brooks banked in a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer off an inbounds pass from Laine Lucas that stretched the lead to 35-24.
While T.R. Miller spent most of the third quarter scoring twos, Escambia County was able to chop into the lead by scoring threes.
The Blue Devils got a pair of treys from Quartez James and a three-point play by Andrews that shaved the lead to 43-37. It was still a six-point lead of 45-39 headed into the fourth quarter, but that was as close as the Blue Devils would get.
The Tigers scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter sparked by a three-point play by Knight, a bucket by Knight off
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an assist from Lucas, a hoop by Lucas and single free throws by Knight and Brooks. The 9-0 run put T.R. Miller in front 54-39 with four minutes left and the lead never dropped below single digits.
T.R. Miller shot 64 percent from the field for the game (21-for-33) and 75 percent in the second half (nine-for-12).
T.R. Miller's junior varsity had a nine-game winning streak snapped when it lost to Escambia County 42-39.
David Payne and Terry Hetherington each scored 13 points to lead the Tigers (12-2).
T.R. Miller will close out the Class 3A Area 1 campaign Friday when it hosts Straughn. The Tigers play their final home game of the regular season Saturday against Greenville.
At Escambia County
T.R. Miller 22 13 10 14 – 59
Escambia Co. 6 18 15 9 – 48
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Jackson 5-1-4-17; Brooks 5-1-2-15; Jo. Knight 4-0-5-13; Lucas 4-0-3-11; Andrews 1-0-0-2; Walker 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 19-2-15-59)
ESCAMBIA COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Andrews 7-1-3-20; James 2-2-3-13; Hartley 4-1-2-13; Taylor 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 14-4-8-48)
Junior varsity
T.R. Miller 8 7 6 18 – 39
Escambia Co. 6 12 8 16 – 42
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) D. Payne 6-0-1-13; Hetherington 3-1-4-13; Cunningham 3-0-1-7; Lane 1-0-0-2; Powell 1-0-0-2; Watson 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 15-1-6-39)
ESCAMBIA COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Ferrell 4-0-0-8; Montgomery 1-1-2-7; Adams 3-0-0-6; Webster 1-0-3-5; Richardson 1-0-2-4; Everette 2-0-0-4; Quarker 2-0-0-4; Johnson 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 16-1-7-42)
Andrews blisters Jay
Saturday's main feature at T.R. Miller was the Brandon Andrews Show in the Tigers 68-48 win over the Jay (Fla.) Royals.
The Tigers' sophomore guard easily had the best game of his young prep career with a 31-point outburst, which included six three-pointers.
Both the Tigers, who ran their season high winning streak to three games, and Andrews got off to modest starts.
T.R. Miller, which edged Jay 47-45 back in November, had just an 11-10 advantage through one quarter when Andrews heated up.
Andrews buried four three-pointers and scored 15 points in the second quarter. Jordan Knight added six points and Wade Jackson had five more, as T.R. Miller outscored the Royals 27-10 that quarter and extended its lead to 38-20 at halftime.
Andrews cooled down after his big second quarter and had only four points in the third quarter although the Tigers were able to increase their lead to 56-35.
In the fourth quarter, Andrews heated back up with another three-pointer and nine more points to crack the 30-point plateau.
T.R. Miller needed the big game from Andrews to offset Jay's Michael Wade, who threw in 24 points to lead the Royals.
T.R. Miller's junior varsity raced out to a 16-point lead by halftime en route to a 41-29 victory over Jay.
Terry Hetherington scored 12 points to pace T.R. Miller, while David Payne added eight.
At T.R. Miller
Jay 10 10 15 13 – 48
T.R. Miller 11 27 18 13 – 68
JAY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Wade 11-0-2-24; Castleberry 3-1-2-11; Sheppard 1-1-0-5; Swick 2-0-0-4; Randolph 0-1-0-3; Bardin 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 17-3-5-48)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Andrews 6-6-1-31; Jackson 5-1-0-13; Jo. Knight 5-0-0-10; Lucas 3-0-0-6; Brooks 2-0-0-4; Walker 1-0-0-2; Curry 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 23-7-1-68)
Junior varsity
Jay 4 7 3 15 – 29
T.R. Miller 10 17 10 4 – 41
JAY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) R. Brabham 5-0-2-12; Boutwell 1-1-0-5; Ashworth 1-0-2-4; Vemp 0-0-3-3; Barlow 1-0-1-3; S. Brabham 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 9-1-8-29)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Hetherington 6-0-0-12; D. Payne 4-0-0-8; Watson 1-1-2-7; Cunningham 2-1-0-7; Arauz 1-0-1-3; Lane 1-0-0-2; Fountain 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 16-2-3-41)