Bye-bye EC, hello regional

Published 7:25 am Monday, February 19, 2007

By BY BRUCE HIXON – sports editor
Defense may not have won a championship for the T.R. Miller Tigers, but it did punch them a ticket to the Class 4A South Regional Friday when they smothered the visiting Escambia County Blue Devils 70-37 in the subregional round.
The Tigers (17-6) survived a torrid start by Escambia County that saw the Blue Devils (7-21) score 21 points and hit nine of 13 shots in the opening quarter en route to as much as a nine-point lead.
After that T.R. Miller's defense took over, as it allowed just 16 additional points and only seven in the second half. The Blue Devils hit just seven of their final 25 shots, which included only three of 16 in the second half. Escambia County also missed all eight of its free throw attempts.
Perhaps the best evidence of T.R. Miller's defensive turnaround is in individual numbers. Escambia County's Kingston Craft (12) and Frank Taylor (11) combined for 23 points in the first half, but both were held scoreless in the second half.
Taylor, who had nine of his 11 points in the first quarter, and Craft combined for 13 points in a 15-4 run by the Blue Devils that saw Escambia County race out to a 19-10 lead in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils, who led 21-12 at the end of the first quarter, stayed hot for the first half of the second quarter. A bucket by Taylor and a three-pointer by Shaviah Knight kept Escambia County in the driver's seat with a 26-18 lead when Brandon Andrews gave T.R. Miller the spark it needed. Andrews picked up 12 of his game-high 21 points in the second quarter. Andrews collected three field goals as well as a steal during T.R. Miller's 15-4 run to end the first half. Andrews' final bucket of the period with 44 seconds left gave the Tigers their first lead of the game at 31-30.
The 15-4 run to end the first half turned into a 38-8 run that carried over into the fourth quarter, which included a 17-4 tear in the third quarter.
A couple of buckets by Wade Jackson and a field goal and two free throws by Jamal Middleton helped get the lead into double digits at 44-34 late, but two plays by Terrence Walker and Andrews moments later all
but finished off the Blue Devils. Twice Walker found a wide-open Andrews underneath the basket. The first pass led
to an easy bucket, while the second led to a foul and two free throws that took the lead up to 48-34.
T.R. Miller scored the final dozen points of the third quarter and began the fourth quarter with a three-point play, a field goal and a free throw, all by Terrelle Brooks, that swelled the lead to 56-34.
A three-point play and fastbreak layup by Andrews along with a couple of field goals by Stallworth in the fourth quarter added some icing to the cake, as the lead topped 30 points.
The Tigers will face Central-Coosa in the opening round of South Regional play at Troy University Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Central-Coosa (14-11) earned its berth with a 78-35 romp over Daleville. Andalusia (17-8) will face Handley (12-13) in the other semifinal game. The two winners will return Saturday for the championship game at 10:40 p.m.
At T.R. Miller
Escambia Co. 21 9 4 3 – 37
T.R. Miller 12 21 17 20 – 70
ESCAMBIA COUNTY (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Craft 3-2-0-12; Taylor 4-1-0-11; James 3-0-0-6; Knight 0-1-0-3; Adams 0-1-0-3; Matthews 1-0-0-2 (Totals: 11-5-0-37)
T.R. MILLER (2FG-3FG-FT-TP) Andrews 9-0-3-21; Stallworth 5-0-2-12; Jackson 5-0-2-12; Walker 4-0-1-9; Brooks 2-0-2-6; Middleton 2-0-2-6 ; Fountain 1-0-2-4 (Totals: 28-0-14-70)

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