Lady Tigers packing for Birmingham

Published 5:41 am Monday, February 25, 2008

By By Adam Robinson – sports editor
For the first time since 2004, the T.R. Miller Lady Tiger basketball team is heading to Birmingham for the AHSAA final four.
The Lady Tigers will represent the South Region, defeating Handley 49-43 Saturday afternoon in Troy.
Green finished with seven points, and Smith poured in 21 points in the win and collected eight rebounds. Smith had 28 in the Lady Tigers' win over Ashford.
Kesha Peterson followed with 12 points and six rebounds as both she and Smith made the All-tournament team for the Lady Tigers. Smith earned tournament MVP.
Another young player who stepped up on defense was Briana Gatlin, who finished with four rebounds, five points and a steal.
T.R. Miller will play Deshler at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Saturday's game was tight throughout as the game was tied 21-all at the half and was tied 13 times throughout the game and saw eight lead changes.
With the game tied at 3 at the 6:26 mark in the fourth quarter, the Lady Tigers took control by going on a 5-0 run to take a 43-38 lead with 2:44 left after Smith connected on one of two free throws.
Handley connected for a lay-up to cut the lead to 43-40 with 2:33 left and then cut the lead to two after a free throw.
From there, the Lady Tigers went into their clock control offense and wasted about a minute off the clock before a missed 3-pointer by Smith gave Handley the ball by Smith stayed with the ball and got the steal and connected for a lay-up with 1:40 left in the game to give the Tigers a 45-41 lead with 1:38 left.
Handley took over the ball and after an out-of-bounds call, was called for a five-second violation on the inbound pass. Miller continued to run time off the clock, and Handley was forced to foul from then on out.
Smith connected on four free throws and gave the Tigers a 49-41 lead, and Handley made two late free throws to cut the lead to 49-43 as the Lady Tigers won the game by six.
Handley was plagued by 26 turnovers in the game and five in the fourth quarter as Miller only turned the ball over 10 times. Those turnovers led to 23 points for the Lady Tigers overall and the five in the fourth led to eight points.
The win marked the 16th win in a row for the Tigers who improved to 21-4 on the season.
After taking an early 2-0 lead on a Kesha Peterson lay-up, Handley tied the game at 2-2 as no team led by as many as two as Handley led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, T.R. Miller tied the game at 14-14 and the game stayed tight as both teams combined for a 21-21 tie at the half.
In the third, Handley opened up with a four-point lead at 27-23 with 5:36 left in the third and took a 32-27 with 2:19 left.
T.R. Miller tied the game with a 3-pointer from Green and held a 36-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Miller took a 38-34 lead with 7:37 left after a jumper from Zykeya Barton, but Handley quickly tied the game at 38-38 with 6:26 before the Lady Tigers took control of the game and the win.
T.R. Miller was 19-of-55 from the field and shot 10-of-13 from the free throw stripe as Handley was 17-of-40 from the field and 7-of-12 from the charity line.