Greenville falls to same team that eliminated it in sub-state play last season in Miller tourney

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2005

BREWTON - Just call it a case of d\u00E9j&192; vu.

Greenville opened the annual T.R. Miller Christmas Classic against a familiar foe Tuesday afternoon. Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee was the same team that the Tigers faced in early February of this year during the sub-state playoffs.

The outcome was the same, too.

Greenville showed the effects of not being on the hardwood in almost two weeks by getting off to a slow start and fail to recover in a 60-45 loss to the Golden Eagles.

&#8220Having not played that long just about destroyed us,” Tigers coach Victor Smith said. &#8220Everyone else has been in tournaments before Christmas except for us, so we could not get back into the flow.”

Greenville was supposed to travel to Valdosta, Ga., to play in the annual Lowndes High Christmas Tournament, but Smith found out just less than a week before his Tigers were to head to south Georgia, that the tournament had been cancelled.

Smith was left scrambling trying to find a tournament anywhere that may have had a last-minute pullout or a tournament that would allow for another team.

No such luck.

So that left Greenville sitting at home for almost two weeks before playing again against a seasoned Booker T. Washington team.

The Golden Eagles (9-3) jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first period before the Tigers even scratched the scoreboard. Greenville finally got on the board with 2:43 left in the stanza thanks to a Rashad Knight bucket.

&#8220We just stood still in the first half,” Smith said. &#8220I just hope it helped our guys to have played a team like them at a tournament like this.”

Booker T. Washington then settled for an 18-5 advantage heading into the second period.

Greenville finally started to get into the flow of the game, but still could not chip away at its huge deficit before the Golden Eagles took a 28-13 lead into intermission.

Like in most games so far this season, Greenville has a knack for making a comeback in the second half.

The Tigers worked to inch closer to Booker T. Washington in the third period, but still trailed by 18 heading into the final eight minutes.

Greenville continued to draw closer in the fourth period and had a chance to draw to within 10 points of the Golden Eagles, but James Daniels' layup bounced off the back of the iron and out of the basket into a Booker T. Washington player's hands for the rebound and later a basket.

The Tigers' rally failed and they moved on to the loser's bracket portion of the tournament to face Smiths Station, which fell to Hillcrest-Evergreen on Tuesday.

Booker T. Washington's pressure on any one of Greenville's point guards was too much. The Tigers committed numerous forced and unforced turnovers because of the Golden Eagles' suffocating defense.

While Smith is sold on Demarcus Griffin being his point guard, the Tigers coach said that he needs someone to step up to be a leader on the floor in protecting the basketball.

&#8220Right now Demarcus is the best we have, but we need him or someone else to step up and take charge if we are going to go somewhere with this team.”

Knight led Greenville in scoring with 10 points.

Taurean Simpson led Booker T. Washington with 16 points, while Clevon Randolph and Darius Gullette added 14 points each.

Greenville bounced back in the loser's bracket to knock off Smiths Station, 76-70.

Edward Searight led the Tigers with 18 points, while Darrell Carter chipped in 12.

Alex Phillips scored a game-high 22 points to pace the Panthers.

Greenville faced Robertsdale Thursday afternoon in the final consolation game.