Lady Tigers finish unbeaten Area season
By By BRUCE HIXON
Step one: win the Area regular season title. Step two: go undefeated in Area play: Step three: win the Area Tournament.
The T.R. Miller Lady Tigers accomplished the second item on that task list Friday when they disposed of the visiting Straughn Lady Tigers 45-24.
While T.R. Miller (21-4 overall and 6-0 in Area 1) won by a convincing margin, it was far from the dominant effort they had 10 days earlier when they wiped out Straughn (8-11 overall and 2-4 in Area 1) 62-21.
The visiting Lady Tigers trailed by only seven points with just over five minutes left before T.R. Miller ended the game on a 16-2 run.
"We need to be ready to play for 32 minutes and in this game we were probably mentally ready for the last quarter only. We need something to light a fire under us and we don't have a lot of time to do that," T.R. Miller coach Ron Jackson said.
Straughn was able to slow down the Lady Tigers by keeping T.R. Miller's transition game in check. Straughn had just two turnovers through three quarters before the Lady Tigers came up with seven in the fourth quarter.
Although Straughn managed just two field goals in the game's first 11 minutes, T.R. Miller was unable to bust the game open.
A couple of buckets in the first quarter and another in the second quarter by Jasmine Sanford put the host Lady Tigers up 10-4. Straughn cut that advantage in half when a charity toss by McKena Parker and field goal by Abby Bracewell made it 10-7 with four minutes left in the first half.
Most of what little perimeter game T.R. Miller had in the game came in a 90-second span when a pair of three-pointers by Keya Peterson stretched the lead to 16-9.
T.R. Miller, which led 17-9 at halftime, got the lead into double digits for the first time early in the second half when an offensive rebound bucket by Joy McCorvey and a shot from the corner by Sanford took the lead up to 21-9.
The host Lady Tigers looked ready to put away Straughn later in the quarter when a baseline jumper by Sanford knocked the cushion up to 27-11.
That was not the case though, as Straughn got buckets by Parker and Allye Stokes cut the lead to 27-13. Then Stokes and Morgan Watson hit field goals to start the fourth quarter and cut the lead down to just 27-19. The Lady Tigers edged even closer when a three-pointer by Andrea Sport made it 29-22 with 5:46 left.
Sanford, who had eight of her 19 points in the fourth quarter, had three buckets in the decisive 16-2 run to end the game. McCorvey also played a key role with three more buckets and a free throw and Kesha Peterson came off the bench and hit a three-pointer.
The Lady Tigers, who hosted Greenville Saturday, begin the final week of regular season play Tuesday at Flomaton.
At T.R. Miller
Straughn 4 5 6 9 – 24
T.R. Miller 8 9 10 18 – 45
STRAUGHN (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Watson 3-0-0-6; Bracewell 2-0-2-6; Sport 1-1-0-5; Parker 2-0-1-5; Stokes 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 9-1-3-24)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Sanford 9-0-1-19; McCorvey 6-0-1-13; Key. Peterson 0-2-0-6; Kes. Peterson 0-1-0-3; Grice 1-0-0-2; A. Williams 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 17-3-2-45)