Tigers stumble at Andalusia after securing Area top seed
Published 4:49 am Monday, January 29, 2007
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
It turned out to be a game the T.R. Miller Tigers did not have to have.
Good thing because the Tigers endured their worst setback of the season Friday when they closed out Class 4A Area 2 regular season play with a 73-46 road loss to the Andalusia Bulldogs.
T.R. Miller (12-5 overall and 5-1 in Area play) was not present when it clinched the Area regular season championship, a number one seed and the right to host next month's Area Tournament. The Tigers received all those items Tuesday when Hillcrest beat Andalusia 67-50 and made Friday's clash irrelevant.
T.R. Miller had beaten Andalusia 45-32 at Brewton 10 days earlier when the Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 in the state.
Friday's loss marked the first time this season the Tigers have lost back-to-back games. Just as alarming is the fact T.R. Miller has allowed its season high in points in back-to-back games (67 to Escambia County followed by the 73 against Andalusia).
Andalusia forward Niko Johnson figured out all parts of the Tigers' defense Friday. Johnson was held to a season-low 13 points in the first encounter, but erupted for 36 in the rematch.
Johnson torched the T.R. Miller defense for 19 of his points in the first half when the Bulldogs clawed their way to a 37-20 halftime lead.
Most of that surge came in the second quarter. Although Andalusia never trailed in the game, the Bulldogs' lead headed into the second quarter was just 15-13. The Tigers trailed by as many as eight points in the opening frame before they got a pair of buckets from Terrelle Brooks, a pair of free throws by Brandon Andrews followed by a charity toss and three-pointer by Wade Jackson in the late moments of the first quarter.
Thanks largely to Johnson's 10-second quarter points, all of which came from the result of offensive rebounds, the Bulldogs started the quarter on a 22-6 tear that swelled the gap to 37-19.
Andalusia's lead hit 24 points, 51-27, after a bucket by Leslie James halfway through the third quarter, but the Tigers did not quit.
T.R. Miller forced Andalusia into 14-second half turnovers and cut the lead to just 54-39 after a free throw by Brooks with 6:57 left.
The deficit as well as Johnson were too much to overcome. Johnson had three more buckets and a pair of free throws, as Andalusia closed out the game on a 19-7 surge.
Andalusia completed a season sweep of the Tigers at the junior varsity level with a 44-35 victory.
T.R. Miller (5-6) was led by Matt Lane with 12 points, while Alaric Watson and Derrick Riley each had five.
The Tigers head to Jay, Fla. Tuesday. Play gets underway with the junior varsity game at 6 p.m. There will be no girls game.
T.R. Miller 13 7 15 11 - 46
Andalusia 15 22 17 19 - 73
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Brooks 5-1-2-15; Andrews 2-1-2-9; Jackson 2-1-2-9; Fountain 3-0-1-7; Walker 1-0-2-4; Middleton 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 13-4-10-46)
ANDALUSIA (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) N. Johnson 15-0-6-36; James 4-0-5-13; Sims 6-0-0-12; Wright 2-0-1-5; Feagin 1-0-1-3 (Totals: 30-0-13-73)
T.R. Miller 13 10 5 7 - 35
Andalusia 9 14 15 6 - 44
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) M. Lane 5-0-2-12; Riley 1-1-0-5; Watson 1-1-0-5; Banks 2-0-0-4; T. Lane 1-0-0-2; Payne 1-0-0-2; McCorvey 1-0-0-2; Redfern 1-0-0-2; Lewis 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 13-2-3-35)
ANDALUSIA (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) O. Curry 7-0-7-21; Flowers 3-0-3-9; Smith 2-0-0-4; Ingram 2-0-0-4; Weeden 0-0-4-4; Lacey 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 15-0-14-44)