Tigers suffer close losses in weekend contests
By By SCOTT COOPER – Sports Writer
The T.R. Miller Tigers experienced a disappointing weekend on the hardwood floor, as they dropped consecutive games that they led well into the second half of play.
With only one regular-season game remaining on their schedule before hosting the Area-1 tournament Jan. 7-11, the Tigers' season record stands at 17-7.
Greenville 63, Miller 57
A Jan. 31 game against the Greenville Tigers saw Miller maintain the lead from the opening tip through the end of the third quarter before a late Greenville rally lifted the hosts to a 63-57 win.
Neither team established a decided advantage in the first period. Although the momentum swung back and forth between the squads, Miller exited the quarter holding a 16-15 lead.
The Tigers used their quickness to gain an advantage in the second quarter. After opening a 25-20 lead with 4:55 to go before the half, Miller further stretched the leading margin to seven, 31-24, by halftime.
Miller continued to hold the upper hand the majority of the third period, but a late 6-0 Greenville run evened the score at 45 heading to the fourth stanza.
Greenville scored the first four points of the final period to go up, 49-45. But, Miller continued to fight in an attempt to reclaim the lead. Trailing 58-55 with just over a minute left in the game, the Tigers missed four consecutive foul shots and committed a costly turnover that heavily contributed to Greenville going on to notch a six-point victory.
Dominic Johnson led the Tigers with 16 points while Greg Bogan contributed 12 points.
Monroe County 66, Miller 60
The Tigers looked to get back on track as they returned home for a Feb. 1 contest against Monroe County.
In a game that closely mirrored the previous night's meeting with Greenville, Miller held the lead for three quarters. Then, a fourth-quarter rally by Monroe County forced the Tigers to endure their second-straight loss.
The Tigers performed at a high level early in the contest, as two Greg Bogan 3-pointers coupled with a Neal Cheatham basket lifted Miller to an 8-2 lead with five minutes to go in the first period. Monroe County answered Miller's quick start by knotting the score at 13 with 2:25 remaining before baskets by DaWaun Johnson and Dominic Johnson were responsible for putting the Tigers up by two, 17-15, heading to the second period.
Three-pointers by DaWaun Johnson and Bogan paced the Tigers in a second-quarter rally that allowed them to open a 24-17 lead with 4:45 to go in the half. Following an 8-5 Monroe County run that cut the lead down to 29-25, a Dominic Johnson basket at the buzzer gave Miller a 31-25 halftime advantage.
Miller continued to hold off the visitors in the third quarter and held a 43-39 lead as the teams entered the final period of play. But, Monroe County's physical and relentless inside game began to wear on the Tigers in the fourth quarter.
With 3:35 remaining in the game, the score stood at 51-51. Monroe County then proceeded to go on a 7-0 run that forced Miller into a comeback mindset. Although a DaWaun Johnson jump shot cut the deficit down to three, 58-55 with 1:30 left, that was as close as Miller would get. As the buzzer sounded signaling the game's end, the Tigers were on the short end of a 66-60 decision.
Offensive leaders for the Tigers were Greg Bogan, 16 points; DaWaun Johnson, 13 points and Neal Cheatham, 13 points.