By Jim Hayes
Despite a near triple-double by guard Aliyah Miller, the Volunteer State Community College Lady Pioneers dropped a 83-72 decision to the Dyersburg State Community College Eagles last Saturday in Pickel Fieldhouse.
Miller’s 30-point, 11-rebound, 7-assist effort went to naught as only one other Vol State player, Kelsey Harriman, finished the game scoring in double figures.
“I thought we came out with a lot of energy, a lot of fire,” said Pioneer head coach Otis Key. “I probably made some decisions that could have been better, and some of my adjustments could have been better.”
“It was an emotional game,” said Key. “We had eight sophomores playing their last home game.”
The loss leaves Vol State with a hold on seventh place in the conference with a 5-10 conference record. If they managed to keep that position after last Saturday’s final game of the season at Jackson State Community College, they will not have to play a play-in game to the conference tournament Friday, Feb. 22, at Cleveland State.
As of Thursday, Cleveland State Community College was just behind the Pioneers with a 4-10 record and games on the road against Dyersburg State Community College (who they beat at home in November) on Friday, and at Southwest Tennessee State Community College on Saturday. They lost to Southwest Tennessee in November.
Key had praise for Miller, his sophomore point guard.
“I thought she solidified herself as one of the best players in the conference,” Key said. “She should be mentioned as one of the top two or three for Player of the Year. She’s coming on strong and hopefully can continue that in the tournament.”
Harriman’s 12 point effort marked another game where her 3-point shooting was on target. She hit 4-9 and pulled down two rebounds.
Only one other Pioneer player, Shalaya Armstead with 9 points, came close to double figures in scoring. Xavia Williams and Amanda Bennett had 5 each, and TaVaiya Hamilton scored 4 points. Three Vol State players had two points: Tatiyana Lavender, LaMonica Mintlow and McKenzie Wallace. Morgan Sims had 1 point to complete the Pioneer scoring.