EC holds off Tigers to snap TRM's winning streak at six

Published 4:24 am Wednesday, January 24, 2007

By BY BRUCE HIXON – sports editor
Life on the road in high school basketball can be full of land mines, but the T.R. Miller Tigers have been able to dodge every one of them in their first four trips away from their home venue.
That is until they stepped on one that detonated Monday at Atmore when they had their six-game winning streak snapped with a 67-64 loss to the Escambia County Blue Devils.
T.R. Miller (12-4) squandered a 12-point lead it built in the first half, but nearly wiped out a nine-point deficit in the final two minutes.
position to win. That wasn't easy because we had two of our top scorers, Wade Jackson and Brandon Andrews, on the bench with five fouls,” said T.R. Miller coach Rob Atkinson. &#8220I can't blame our effort. We just didn't execute as well as we needed.”
The Tigers beat Escambia County (2-17) 55-44 last month for the Escambia County Tournament on-the-court championship. The Blue Devils had to forfeit seven victories since then for the use of an ineligible player. T.R. Miller held Escambia County's leading scorer, Frank Taylor, to 19 points in that game. Taylor was even better Monday when he broke loose for 26 points in Monday's rematch, which included a 14-for-18 effort from the free throw line.
The real key Monday was the performance of Kingston Craft, as he threw in another 19 for the Blue Devils. Craft scored only two points the first time the teams played.
T.R. Miller started to build some momentum for itself late in the first quarter. The Blue Devils had a 13-11 lead before Kelly Stallworth tied it with a field goal and a pull-up jumper by Jackson gave the visitors the lead for the remainder of the half.
Stallworth had another bucket and two free throws in the final 40 seconds of the quarter that stretched T.R. Miller's lead to 19-16.
The Tigers widened the lead even more, as buckets by Terrelle Brooks, Terry Hetherington, Terrence Walker and Stallworth in the first four and a half minutes of the second quarter widened the gap to 27-22.
A free throw by Hetherington preceded back-to-back three-pointers by Jackson that gave T.R. Miller its largest lead of the game at 34-22 with 1:53 left in the half.
Escambia County gave a preview of things to come when it scored the next seven points before a bucket by Stallworth just before the halftime buzzer gave the Tigers a 36-29 halftime lead.
After a torrid half of shooting in the first two quarters, T.R. Miller cooled off considerably from the floor in the third quarter where it hit just three of 13 shots. Four turnovers did not help matters either.
That opened the door for the Blue Devils and especially Craft. Craft hit four field goals in the frame, the last of which tied the game at 41-41. Taylor closed out the third quarter moments later with a field goal that gave the Blue Devils a 45-43 lead, their first advantage since the early moments of the game.
It was Taylor who enabled Escambia County to extend that cushion early in the fourth quarter when his three buckets and free throw upped the lead to 58-49 with 3:46 left. Another bucket by Taylor with just over two minutes left kept the Blue Devils' lead at nine points, 63-54.
Just when T.R. Miller seemed down and out, it put together a 10-2 run over the next 70 seconds. A steal by Stallworth and field goal by Jamal Middleton capped the run that brought T.R. Miller to within 65-64 with 50 seconds left.
A steal by Walker gave T.R. Miller a chance to take the lead when Brooks was fouled with 23 seconds left, but the Blue Devils maintained the lead when Brooks twice came up empty at the line.
T.R. Miller got another chance when Escambia County's Skylar Lindsey was fouled and missed two foul shots with 16.9 seconds left, but the Tigers turned the ball over before they could get a shot off.
T.R. Miller still had a slight chance even after the Blue Devils hit a pair of free throws with 4.8 seconds left to make it 67-64, but all the Tigers managed was a desperation three-pointer that hit nothing but air.
T.R. Miller's junior varsity continued its up and down season with a downer and a 51-31 loss to Escambia County. The Tigers (5-5) had a 16-8 lead after a quarter before Escambia County outscored them 36-7 over the next two quarters.
Alaric Watson scored nine points to pace T.R. Miller, while Corey Redfern added eight.
The Tigers head to Andalusia Friday where they will try to clinch the Class 4A Area 2 title outright. T.R. Miller has already clinched at least a tie for the Area crown, but the Bulldogs can pull even and force a tie with a win Tuesday against Hillcrest and again Friday. That scenario would result in a coin toss that will determine the number one seed and the host for next month's Area Tournament.
At Escambia County
T.R. Miller 19 17 7 21 – 64
Escambia Co. 16 13 16 22 – 67
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Stallworth 5-0-2-12; Andrews 5-0-2-12; Hetherington 5-0-1-11; Jackson 1-2-1-9; Brooks 2-0-4-8; Walker 2-0-2-6; Middleton 2-0-0-4; Cunningham 0-0-2-2 (Totals: 22-2-14-64)
ESCAMBIA COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Taylor 6-0-14-26; Craft 6-2-1-19; Jefferson 5-0-0-10; Knight 0-1-3-6; Lindsey 1-0-0-2; Riley 0-0-2-2; Adams 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 19-3-20-67)
Junior varsity
T.R. Miller 16 2 5 8 – 31
Escambia Co. 8 21 15 7 – 51
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Watson 2-1-2-9; Redfern 3-0-2-8; Riley 3-0-0-6; M. Lane 2-0-0-4; Banks 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 12-1-4-31)
ESCAMBIA COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Yeilder 4-3-0-17; Gholston 3-0-4-10; Everette 4-0-1-9; Ferrell 4-0-0-8; Arnold 1-0-1-3; Croft 1-0-0-2; Croom 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 18-3-6-51)

Email newsletter signup