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Late free throws help Titans pull away from Rebels for win

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In a brief ceremony before the start of Wednesday night’s game, Tri High School Athletic Director Bryan Peggs (right) presents Titan girls basketball Head Coach Jeff Miller a plaque of appeciation honoring Miller for having the most wins in school history for a Titan girls basketball coach.
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Tri’s Auburn Harvey (15) nails the first of two free throws with 12.8 seconds to play as teammate Makenna Hawk (24) plus Randolph Southern’s Kalee Hayes (42) and another Rebel player wait along the foul lane during Wednesday night’s girls basketball game at Tri. Harvey’s five points, defense, and rebounding in the fourth quarter helped pave the way for a 44-36 victory by the host Titans.
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Tri’s Makenna Hawk (24-white) plays sticky defense against Randolph Southern’s Cierra Tomey (24-green) as the Titans’ Averi Phelps (42-white) keeps track of the Rebels’ Kalee Hayes (42-green) during Wedneday night’s girls basketball game at Tri. The host Titans held the visitors to 25 percent shooting from the field in the second half of their 44-38 win.
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Tri’s Maddie Burchett (3, with ball) eyes the defense of Randolph Southern’s Jewelia Austin (34) and Leann Wigginton (14) as the Titans’ Auburn Harvey (15) and Kaley Harrison (12) wait for a possible pass during Wednesday night’s girls basketball game at Tri. The Tri trio combined for 27 points and 16 rebounds in the Titans’ 44-38 victory over the visiting Rebels.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

LEWISVILLE - The Tri and Randolph Southern High School girls varsity basketball teams have had a history of big games over the past 15 years or so, including last year’s Class A Sectional 56 championship game in which the Titans won by two points.

Wednesday night at Donald E. Schwarzkopf Gymnasium was no exception as both teams entered the contest with winning records. The game was tight throughout, and Tri got to the charity stripe and made some late free throws to pull away for a 44-38 victory over the visiting Rebels.

The Titans improved to 5-3 for the season while Randolph Southern slipped back to .500 at 5-5.

“It was a good win for us,” Tri Coach Jeff Miller said afterward. “It’s developed into a rivalry game and it always seems to be a four or five-point game either way. Coach (Brock) Morrison has done a fine job with them and they always play hard.”

These two figured to be well-matched, and the first half appeared to be a case in point. Both teams shot 10-for-21 from the floor, the Rebels had 12 rebounds to Tri’s 11, and the hosts committed 12 turnovers to the visitors’ 10 as Randolph Southern had a narrow 24-23 advantage on the scoreboard at intermission.

The Titans played a bit better than did the Rebels in the second half, outrebounded them 18-11, shot better from the field, and had a 12-2 edge in free throw attempts. Tri cashed in at the charity stripe six more times than the visitors did, which accounts for the difference in the final score.

The Titans played without Bayleigh Appleby again, who still is under concussion protocol.

“Tonight was the most patient we have played as a team,” Miller remarked, “and sometimes that’s hard for high school girls. Several times we passed the ball 35 to 40 seconds before taking a shot. We also have four good ballhandlers on the perimeter who handled their pressure well. We’re better than we were at the beginning of the season, and still haven’t been a complete team. Bailey is scheduled to come back next week and we recently got Chloe (Gentry) and Madison (Hill) back.”

Tri opened the game with a 6-0 run, getting a pair of baskets from 6-2 sophomore Averi Phelps sandwiched around a bucket off a steal by sophomore point guard Maddie Burchett, to lead by six points with 5:51 remaining in the period.

Randolph Southern’s Cierra Tomey, who had a fine shooting night from the floor (6-for-8), buried a three-pointer for the Rebels’ first points of the evening at the 5:23 mark. After Burchett stole the ball again and scored, the visitors’ Katlynn House hit a basket and Jewelia Austin knocked down a trey to tie things up at 8-all with 2:41 left in the quarter.

The scoring pace slowed a bit thereafter, and Phelps and Tomey made buckets for a 10-10 tie after one.

Baskets by Burchett and Phelps were countered by those from Tomey and the Rebels’ Leann Wigginton to produce another tie at 14-all with 6:38 remaining in the second period.

Then someone besides Burchett and Phelps entered the scoring column for the Titans, as senior Auburn Harvey hit a three-pointer and then stole the ball and made a bucket for a 19-14 Tri lead with 5:44 left in the first half.

That advantage didn’t last long as Randolph Southern answered with a Hayes basket and a Wigginton trey to deadlock the score at 19-19 with 2:17 left in the quarter.

Kaley Harrison broke a 3:42 scoreless stretch for the hosts with by burying a shot from behind the arc and Burchett hit one of two free throws at the 1:35 mark for a 23-19 Titan lead, but Hayes made a basket and Tomey drained a trey 45 seconds before the halftime horn, and the Rebels led 24-23 at intermission.

The third quarter was just as tight. Hayes opened the second half with a basket for a three-point lead for the visitors, but a Burchett basket pulled Tri to within one point again at 26-25. Hayes hit one of two charity tosses, the only time Randolph Southern got to the free throw line all night, to make it 27-25 at the 5:54 mark of the third period.

A Harvey three-pointer with 4:52 remaining in the quarter restored a 28-27 advantage to the Titans. A Hayes bucket was countered by two successful Phelps free throws, and Tomey drained another three-pointer to put the Rebels up by two again at 32-30 with 2:40 left in the period.

A Phelps basket evened the score again, the host’s Makenna Hawk sank a bucket with 1:35 left before the third-quarter horn, and Tri led 34-32 after three.

Harvey’s third trey of the game gave the Titans a 27-32 advantage 46 seconds into the final period. Austin came back 23 seconds later to nail her second three-pointer and Tomey ht her fourth trey of the contest to put Randolph Southern back into the lead at 38-37 with 4:56 left in the game. Those happened to be the Rebels’ final points of the night.

After two timeouts, Tri remained patient on offense (with the Rebels employing a zone) and sticky on defense, but didn’t score again until Phelps hit a basket with 2:23 left to put the Titans into the lead for good at 39-38.

After the visitors missed a shot, Tri milked clock. Randolph Southern, who had committed only one foul in the entire second half up to that point, then fouled Tri players five times over a short span to put the hosts on the verge of one-and-bonus opportunities.

The Rebels came out of their zone and fouled Burchett, who converted one of two charity tosses at the 1:11 mark for a 40-38 advantage. Harvey rebounded Burchett’s missed attempt and got the ball to Burchett, who was fouled again.

Burchett missed the first of the one-plus-bonus, but Harvey ripped down the rebound again. Burchett was fouled again with 56.7 seconds remaining, missed the first free throw, and the visitors got the rebound and came down the floor with an opportunity to tie or take the lead.

The Rebels missed a shot, Hawk got the rebound, and was fouled with 26.8 seconds left. Hawk made the first charity toss to make it 41-38 but missed the second, and Hayes grabbed the rebound and Randolph Southern had a chance to tie the game.

But Harvey stole the ball, raced up the court, and was fouled with 12.8 seconds remaining in the game. Harvey swished both freebies for a 43-38 lead. The visitors came down the court, missed a quick shot, and Harrison got the rebound and was fouled with 3.1 seconds left. Harrison hit the first of two free throws to account for the final score.

“We played really well as a team tonight,” said Harvey after the game. “We knew we had to handle their press and pressure defense and had to be patient on offense and take good shots. We really worked hard to deny them the three-ball toward the end of the game, and it paid off because we got the win.”

Tri ended up winning the battle of the boards 28-22, which more than compensated for its 18 turnovers against 15 for the Rebels.

For the game, the Titans ended up shooting 16-of-36 (44.4 percent) from the field and 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) from the charity stripe. Due to Randolph Southern’s subpar second half shooting from the field (5-for-20), it ended the game with 15-of-41 (36.6 percent) marksmanship from the floor.

For Tri, Phelps had 14 points and eight rebounds, Harvey had 13 points and four boards, and Burchett scored 10 points and had three rebounds. Harrison grabbed a game-high nine rebounds for the Titans.

For the Rebels, Tomey had a game-high 16 points with four rebounds and Hayes scored 11 points and had five boards. Shelby Jeffers and Wigginton corralled four caroms apiece for the visitors.

The Titans also won the junior varsity game 29-28. Chloe Gentry scored 12 points and Alley Wissler nine for Tri, while Mattie Hale had six points and Grace Watson and Wigginton five for Randolph Southern.

Before the varsity game, Tri Athletic Director Bryan Peggs presented Coach Miller with a plaque for having the most wins in school history as coach of the Titan girls basketball team.

Tri plays at Shenandoah tonight in the first game of a girl/boy doubleheader.

“They’re a nice team,” Coach Miller said of the Raiders. “They have good players in the Perry girl, Hill, and Muterspaugh. They’ll be a tough challenge for us in the Shenandoah Dome.”

Tri 44, Randolph Southern 38

RANDOLPH SOUTHERN (38)

Jeffers 0-6 0-0 0, Wigginton 2-4 0-0 5, Tomey 6-8 0-0 16, Mikesell 0-6 0-0 0, Hayes 5-10 1-2 11, Austin 2-4 0-0 6, Slick 0-3 0-0 0, Ledbetter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-41 1-2 38.

TRI (44)

Burchett 4-8 2-6 10, Harrison 1-6 1-2 4, Harvey 4-9 2-2 13, Hawk 1-3 1-2 3, Phelps 6-10 2-2 14, Gentry 0-0 0-0 0, Hoover 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-36 8-14 44.

Randolph So. 10 14 8 6 — 38

Tri 10 13 11 10 — 44

3-point goals – Randolph So. 7 (Tomey 4, Austin 2, Wigginton), Tri 4 (Harvey 3, Harrison). Rebounds – Randolph So. 22 (Hayes 5, Jeffers 4, Wigginton 4, Tomey 4), Tri 28 (Harrison 9, Phelps 8, Harvey 4). Total fouls – Randolph So. 16, Tri 6. Turnovers – Randolph So. 15, Tri 18. Fouled out – Wigginton. JV score – Tri 29, Randolph So. 28. Records – Randolph So. 5-5, Tri 5-3.