The Thompson Warriors received an injection of confidence on Senior Night as they finished up their home schedule with a 49-41 win over the Chilton County Tigers Monday, Jan 28. The Warriors got a big performance from senior Zoria Miller and Thompson built a big fourth quarter lead and held off the Tigers late to clinch the regular season win with just two more games remaining until next week’s area tournament.
Thompson dominated the time of possession--particularly in the game’s first quarter. Miller was a big part of that grabbing rebounds and scoring six points for a Warriors squad that struggled to find the hoop for much of the opening quarter. Their defense made up for it as the pressure forced eight turnovers in the first quarter and 14 in the first half as they built a 12-8 lead.
“She has so much fight,” said Warriors head coach JoVanka Ward of Miller. “I’m proud of her tonight because they had a big and so she kind of had to bang down there and she hasn’t been completely healthy all year, but whenever she’s out there she’s trying to give us everything that she has. We’re going to miss her and her toughness. What she brings, you’d probably never see it on the floor, she has so much energy, so much positivity. She’s a little spark plug.”
Miller would continue to battle hard down low in her last game at Warrior Arena adding another six points in the second quarter and sparked offense from the rest of her teammates. Chilton County scored most of their points in the paint, all from players significantly taller than Miller, which magnified her efforts all the more throughout the night.
Five other Warriors scored baskets before halftime keying an 8-0 run that gave Thompson a brief double digit lead before a three pointer from Chilton County found its mark to leave the halftime score at 26-17.
The Warriors would make their move in the third quarter and wrest control of the game for good. London Wooley took the torch from Miller scoring seven of her 11 points in the period. Thompson would close the quarter on an 11-4 run on the strength of their defense forcing another ten turnovers in the period and adding six offensive rebounds to continue their domination of the game clock. Thompson led 42-27 going into the fourth quarter.
Thompson would push their lead to 19 early in the quarter off Miller’s final basket leaving little doubt as to the game’s final verdict. Still, the visiting Tigers made things interesting down the stretch mounting a 12-0 run to get back within single digits, but that was as far as they would go before the Warriors closed the game.
The Warriors also said goodbye to senior McKensie Sailor who, along with Miller, has been with Coach Ward’s staff for the entirety of their three year tenure.
“McKensie is quiet kid that will not tell you if she’s aching or hurting and brings that senior leadership to the team,” said Ward. “She was sick, battling some kind of cold tonight, but stayed positive throughout. It’s going to be sad to see the sweet ones like her go.”
Zoria Miller finished with 17 points on the night to lead all scorers.
Thompson will head out on the road for their remaining two regular season games starting with Helena Wednesday, Jan 30, with the game tipping off at 6 p.m.