Smith brings MMI to brink of title

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2005

Times-Journal Sports Writer

MONTGOMERY – Advancing to the AISA Class 1A title game is nothing new for Marion Military Institute.

The Tigers took that nonchalant attitude Thursday after their 46-35 victory over the Central Christian Academy Warriors.

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There was no celebration, no team huddle and no hugging after the Tigers advanced to the championship game for the third straight year. MMI, which has lost the past two title games, will try to win the coveted title tonight at 8 when it takes on Cornerstone Academy at Huntingdon College.

“The last couple of games we came out flat,” MMI coach Michelle Ivey said. “We knew we didn’t want to play catchup with them.”

The Tigers never needed to. MMI scored the game’s first seven points against a CCA team that struggled from the field most of the game. Clarence Allgood Jr. and Kendrick Moore each sank a three-pointer in the opening period as MMI built a 10-2 lead.

“We felt like we had to set the tempo,” said Jovaris Smith, who led MMI with 19 points.

Meanwhile, CCA had shot so well the past two games, but couldn’t get anything going offensively for the first three periods. Bud Smith, Tee Woods and Felix Baker, all three shotmakers for the Warriors in their 67-41 win over Lakeside School last Thursday, struggled from the floor. The Warriors overall shot just 13 percent from the field in the first half while going 0-for-18 from beyond the three-point line.

“You can’t explain that,” CCA coach Carl Rawls said. “Our shots just weren’t falling. Sometimes things go like that.”

While the Warriors battled to stay close, the Tigers steadily built their lead. Allgood and Jovaris Smith sank consecutive threes as MMI extended its lead to 22-11 at halftime.

CCA finally caught fire in the fourth period. Woods and Baker knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to bring the Warriors to within 33-27. Bud Smith sank a pair of foul shots to make it a four-point game, 33-29, with 3:49 to go.

But Moore and Wendell Crews hit the offensive boards for put-backs that stretched the Tigers’ lead back to 40-31. The Warriors never got any closer.