MMI clips Sumter, set for Warrior showdown

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

MARION

&045;- All week the MMI Prep Tigers had focused on one thing &045; the Lady Tigers defending the fort, so to speak, against the invading Sumter Lady Eagles.

The importance of this game was simple. If the Lady Tigers were able to post the victory, then for the fourth straight year, Marion Military would become the host site for the regional tournament that starts next weekend.

A loss sent the tournament back to York, to Sumter Academy.

After two periods of play, the outcome was not in doubt. The Lady Tigers posted a 51-30 victory to give them the lead in the regional standings.

They host Warrior Academy on Monday to put the final touches on a year where they have been ranked in the AISA’s top 10 since the polls were released in January.

The Lady Tigers pushed ahead 5-0 in the first period en route to a 12-5 lead and eventually a 16-7 mark at the conclusion of the opening frame.

Felicia Sprott, Samantha Suttles, Yolanda Kelly and Emily Easley, who was playing on a sprained ankle, were able to keep the game under control despite Sumter cutting the lead to within five points, 18-13, with 5:36 left in the half.

In the second half, the Lady Tigers were able to extend their 25-17 halftime mark to a 31-17 lead before ending the final frame with a 39-23 lead.

In the final frame, the Lady Tigers outscored their opponents 12-7 to secure the victory.

In the game’s closing moments, the Lady Tigers were trying to run time off the clock. Kelly pushed the ball up the floor and began working it in and out of the perimeter with a Lady Eagle defender following in her wake. With under 1:00 left on the clock, Kelly took her defender and the ball down the wing, across the baseline, up the opposite wing and back to the top of the key, effectively dribbling a complete circle around the Sumter defense.

Kelly finished the night as the Lady Tigers leading scorer with 16 points. Sprott added 13 points and Easley was good for 13 points.

Sumter was led by Mallory Fox’s 12 points and Erin Ozment’s nine points.

While the Lady Tigers were able to jump out to a quick start and push the ball up the floor against the Lady Eagles, the varsity boys squads, had a different experience.

The Tigers actually found themselves trailing Sumter 11-8 in the first period.

Ivey called a time out and from there, her Tigers posted a nine-point run to take a 16-11 lead into the second period.

But the Eagles continued to play the Tigers tough in the second frame, cutting the lead to a triple, 24-21 at the intermission.

Things went downhill from there for the visitors from York.

When Ivey questioned her team in the lockerroom about their play, their response was a simple one.

The third frame became a scoring exhibition by the Tigers.

Marion Military outscored Sumter 28-8 in the third period. During that frame, the Tigers had runs of 6-0, 17-4 and 12-1.

The latter carried over into the start of the final frame.

In the fourth frame, the Tigers continued to keep the pressure on, ending the game with a 11-1 run to seal the victory.

The Tigers were led in scoring by Kendrick Moore’s 24 points. Javoris Smith followed with 20 points and Wendell Crews finished the night with double-digits in scoring.

MMI improves to 5-0 in the area with their final area game of the season coming up Monday night.

The Tigers will play host to the visiting Warrior Academy Braves. Tipoff for that game set for 5 p.m.