Second-half explosion carries Ivey’s Tigers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 15, 2004

MONTGOMERY&045;.A second-half explosion led by Adric Reed and Javoris Smith helped the Marion Military Institute Tigers advance to the AISA final four.

With Reed and Smith at the helm, the Tigers turned a 25-24 halftime lead into a blowout with a 22-5 third quarter. The Tigers cruised the rest of the way and dispatched Jackson Academy 76-44.

Reed scored 12 of his 14 in the second half and Smith had a game-high 21 points to go with four steals.

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Reed added nine rebounds.

Andrew Murphy had 14 points and 9 rebounds while Douglass Fitz-Gerald added 11 points. Brandon Chandler had eight points and nine rebounds in the winning effort.

Johnny Nichols led the long-range shooting Eagles with 19 points.

With the win, the Tigers advance to Final Four play next week.

The first half was ugly for MMI.

Smith, Fitz-Gerald and Murphy did enough to keep the Tigers in the lead, but the Eagles hit five 3-pointers to keep it close.

Coming out of the half it was entirely different for Ivey’s team.

Reed scored the first two buckets coming out of the break.

After a Jackson bucket, Smith hit Chandler for two and then scored twice in a row himself.

He added another lay in before a Cody Ready bucket for the Eagles.

Fitz-Gerald hit a putback for an 11-point MMI lead.

By the time the third quarter ended, the Tigers led 47-29.

It was all academic after that.

The Eagles hit five more 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers netted 29 points in response.

The MMI transition game buried the Eagles and Chandler ended the starter’s night with a crowd-pleasing dunk.