Knight leads Tigers to first round win
The Greenville Tigers took the court Monday afternoon against Monroe County with one thought on their minds – just win.
Thanks to Rashad Knight's seven straight three pointers, the Tigers did just that.
"He was un-conscience," said Randy Fullington, coach of the Greenville Tigers.
The Tigers took court in the first round of the T.R. Miller Tournament looking to defend their title won a year ago from the host team, T.R. Miller. After Monday night, the Tigers on their way back to the finals, or at least the second round.
Greenville took the court Monday night in a match-up with Monroe County High School. The Tigers from Monroeville literally walked off the bus and onto the court, arriving minutes before the shoot-around session was scheduled to start.
But, during that first quarter, they did not miss a beat.
Monroe County struck first blood when Jerell McWilliams was fouled and sent to the line. He hit one of two and gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
That lead quickly turned into a deficit when Gaviston Warren drained a three from the right side of the arch. That put the Greenville Tigers up 3-1.
Greenville did not score again until Isiah Mack got a pass to the outside and was able to post up to the basket for a long jumper capping a 14 point Tiger run, leaving Greenville trailing 17-5.
The Greenville forced another score on the inside but Monroe County had gone on another run, 24-7.
"I didn't think we were out of at all," said Fullington.
"I knew that we dug ourselves a big hole. But I expected us to chip away at it and it would be a tight ball game by the fourth quarter. I've been around the game a long enough to know that the first quarter is too early to call the game, to say it's over."
"I know that our guys have a lot of heart and I know that our guys aren't going to give up. I'm not going to let them give up.
I could have not have been more proud of how hard they played after the first five minutes of the first quarter. From then on momentum shifted and Rashad Knight hit a couple of three's and it was Greenville High School all the way."
Knight introduced himself to the Monroe County defense by draining his first of seven three pointers.
That cut the lead and shifted the momentum.
Both teams traded baskets in the second period with Greenville getting the better of the exchanges and effectively shutting down the Monroe County scoring.
With under 5:00 in the first half, Greenville has cut the score to the narrowest margin so far. Greenville trailed by five points, 30-25.
The Tigers go on a run with a pair of inside baskets and then a Knight three-pointer, giving the men in black their first lead of the night, a 33-32 lead.
Monroe tried to combat it but the clock ran out and they were sent into the locker room suffering from a reversal of fortune and trailing 33-32.
Monroe never recovered from that deficit or the shift in momentum.
To open the second half, Knight proved that he could do more than gun from outside the arch when he stole the ball from Monroe's Terrell Armstrong and took it down the court for a lay-in, pushing the Tigers ahead 35-32.
Knight added another three moving the score to 38-32.
"I have been talking and talking to him and he has the potential to do that every single night," said Fullington.
"He is on this team because of his jump shot. Prior to Monday, he hadn't really looked for it. He looked to catch it and put it on the floor. "
Monroe pushed the ball up the court but it was swatted around and ultimately resulted in a jump ball with Greenville getting the possession.
Mack was fed the ball under the basket and laid it in for an easy basket and an eight point Tiger lead, 40-32.
Monroe snaps the Tiger run with a basket to cut the lead the six, 40-34.
They were able to snap Greenville's scoring. They were not, however, able to shift the Greenville momentum.
The Tigers begin another run with an inside basket by Curtis Fields, 42-34.
Knight tacks on another three from the corner of the floor, 45-36.
Monroe fights back with a basket, 45-36 and then a three pointer from Anthony Stovall, 47-39.
Warren fouls Josh Stallworth and sends him to the charity stripe for three free throws.
The Monroe Tiger drains the first one and then misses the next two. He airballed the third free throw.
Greenville pushed the ball back up the court and found an open Knight in the corner again. Knight practiced catch and release, launching and burying a long jumper into the back of the net.
The Tigers were once again up by nine 49-40.
Devoski McMeans gets the rebound and feeds Lynn Lewis on a break, Lewis sinks the basket and expands the Greenville lead, 51-40.
Josh Hawkins grabs a rebound and powers up to add a basket to his totals for the night, putting Greenville further ahead, 53-40.
"I know that by the end of the game we were beating them down the floor and getting some easy baskets in the transition," said Fullington.
"I know that the first quarter we were getting beat in transition and standing flat-footed. But I do know that we have been working hard and it's been playing off."
The Tigers push the ball up the court again, and dish to Knight.
Knight squares up to attempt his eighth three pointer of the night but is intentionally fouled and sent to the line for three free throws. He sinks the third of the three, bringing the tally to 84-66.
Fields puts the nail in the coffin with a lay-in bringing the score to a 20-point deficit, 86-66.
The Tigers were led offensively by Knight's 23 points and seven of nine free throw shooting.
In the second round of the tournament, the Tigers took the court against the Vikings of Mary G. Montgomery.
The Tigers were looking to advance to the finals of the T.R. Miller Tournament, but a group of Vikings stood in the way.
"They were pretty dog gone good," said Fullington. "We were flat after our Monday night performance. We were flat offensively and they had two guys that killed us." The Vikings posted a 62-54 victory over the Tigers, knocking them into the consolation bracket.
Michael Terrance with 26 points and Marcus Coleman with 17 points led the Vikings.
"They were a big 6A school," said Fullington. "I also knew that they were going to be one of the teams to beat in the tournament."
The Tigers were led by Mack with 14 points and McMeans with 13 points.
The loss put the Tigers into a match-up with West Florida for third place.
The Jaguars from the Sunshine State were put into the consolation bracket by the homestanding T.R. Miller Tigers on Tuesday.
"We definitely outmatch them in size," said Fullington. "I don't think they have a guy on their roster that's over 6'1" or 6'2". But they are a scrappy bunch that goes out there and gets after it. I think that we are going to be able to use our size to our advantage against them though."