Tigers get their shot at Area title

Published 6:34 am Monday, February 12, 2007

The home team won both regular season meetings. The T.R. Miller Tigers hope that trend holds true again Monday when they will host the Andalusia Bulldogs at 7 p.m. for the boys Class 4A Area 2 Tournament championship.
Both teams notched first-round wins Friday in vastly different ways. Andalusia came from behind in the closing seconds to nip Hillcrest 46-42, while T.R. Miller drilled the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles for a fourth time this season 80-44.
The Tigers beat Andalusia 45-32 back on Jan. 16 when the Bulldogs were then ranked No. 1 in the state, but Andalusia dealt T.R. Miller a 73-46 setback 10 days later.
Monday's winner will advance to Friday's sub-regional round game at 7 p.m. The winner will host the runner-up of the Area 1 Tournament (Jackson or Escambia County), while the loser will play at the champion from that tournament.
T.R. Miller 80, W.S. Neal 44
The Tigers (15-6) got off to a bit of a sluggish start, but easily recovered to notch their highest-scoring game of the season. T.R. Miller registered 79 points in its season opener at Northview, Fla.
T.R. Miller had just a
three-point lead when Bob Elliott's hoop just before the first quarter buzzer sounded brought the Blue Eagles (2-25) within 11-8.
Led by a three-pointer by Brandon Andrews and Corey Cunningham's three-point play, the Tigers scored the first nine points of the second quarter to open up a double-digit lead of 20-8. That run was part of a 22-1 tear by the Tigers to start the second quarter that knocked the lead up to 33-9.
Wade Jackson had 10 of his 14 first half points during that 22-1 run, as T.R. Miller stretched its lead to 39-13 by halftime.
The Tigers' lead reached 30 point five minutes into the second half when a hoop by Jeremy Curry made it 48-18. It reached a game-high bulge of 36 points on three occasions in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers hit 26 of 34 free throw attempts and made four more charity tosses than the Blue Eagles attempted (15-for-22).
While the Tigers advanced to play another day, W.S. Neal's season ended without a win on the court. Both of the Blue Eagles' victories came by forfeits.
At T.R. Miller
W.S. Neal 8 5 16 15 - 44
T.R. Miller 11 28 16 25 - 80
W.S. NEAL (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Payne 2-0-6-10; Wilson 1-1-3-8; Mickens 2-0-4-8; Travis 3-0-2-8; Elliott 1-2-0-8; Bradley 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 10-3-15-44)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Jackson 5-1-4-17; Andrews 3-2-4-16; Fountain 3-0-5-11; Cunningham 2-1-2-9; Stallworth 1-0-5-7; Hetherington 2-0-2-6; Arauz 2-0-0-4; Payne 1-0-2-4; Curry 1-0-1-3; Brooks 1-0-0-2; Middleton 0-0-1-1 (Totals: 21-4-26-80)
Andalusia 46, Hillcrest 42
Last season Hillcrest won the Class 4A state title, but the Jaguars suffered a quick knockout punch in this year's postseason run when the Andalusia Bulldogs ousted them 46-42.
Andalusia (16-7) got the win despite the fact it blew a 12-point halftime lead and played the final nine minutes without leading scorer Niko Johnson, who fouled out late in the third quarter.
Hillcrest took a 42-41 lead on a free throw by P.K. Riley with 41 seconds left, but two free throws by D'Andre Wright with 34 seconds left gave the Bulldogs a 43-42 lead they did not relinquish. Wright hit three more free throws over the last 13 seconds to seal the win.
Hillcrest had two late opportunities to tie or take the lead, but turned the ball over on both possessions.
Wright led Andalusia with 14 points, while Johnson and Brandon Sims each had 12. Justin Holder led Hillcrest with 15.
At T.R. Miller
Hillcrest 13 2 19 8 - 42
Andalusia 21 6 7 12 - 46
HILLCREST (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Holder 4-1-4-15; Bryant 4-0-0-8; Richardson 1-2-0-8; Riley 0-2-1-7; Jackson 0-0-2-2; Knight 0-0-2-2 (Totals: 9-5-9-42)
ANDALUSIA (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Wright 4-0-6-14; Sims 6-0-0-12; Johnson 6-0-0-12; Ferrell 1-0-2-4; James 2-0-0-4 (Totals: 19-8-46)

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