Breakthrough performance for Tigers
LAGRANGE – With the game in hand, it was time for the Troup Tigers to have some fun.
The Tigers were boasting an 18-point-point lead over the Carrollton Trojans in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game when sophomore Jarrious Jefferson lofted a pass in the direction of freshman Keyshawn Russell.
Russell went airborne, he grabbed the ball, and he hammered it home to complete the alley-oop play to put an exclamation point on an impressive performance by the Tigers.
Troup broke through for its first Region 5-AAAA win of the season in emphatic fashion, scoring 32 points in the final quarter to beat the visiting Trojans 66-38.
It was a much-needed win for Troup (6-10 overall), which improved its region record to 1-4.
The win also snapped a six-game losing streak for the Tigers and gave them some momentum heading into the second half of their region schedule that begins with Friday’s home game against Sandy Creek.
“It was real big,” senior Dexter Shealey said. “We’ve been coming out and playing hard, but in the third quarter we couldn’t ever get over the hump. We came in the locker room tonight, and we told each other we were going to get over the hump. And we did.”
They didn’t just squeak by, either.
The Tigers took control of the game late in the second quarter, and they never let up.
The Tigers finished the second quarter on an 11-4 run to take a seven-point lead, and by the end of the third period they were ahead 34-22.
Any hope the Trojans had of mounting a comeback was dashed when the Tigers enjoyed their most productive offensive quarter of the season.
It was a stark turnaround from Troup’s previous region game, a 53-27 home loss to Fayette County.
Troup followed that up with a 61-49 setback against Manchester on Saturday, and while it was another loss, head coach Paul Brewer liked the determination he saw from his players.
After managing just four points in the third quarter, Troup showed a lot of fight in the fourth period and outscored Manchester 17-12.
“I’ve been saying it all along that I like this team, I like what this team’s willing to do, I like that they’re willing to come to work,” Brewer said. “But, we didn’t compete so well last week against Fayette County. And the kids all knew that, and (the coaches) knew that. I saw something different in them Saturday when we played Manchester, something inside of them where they said, you know what, wins and losses, the heck with that, let’s just compete, and see what’ll happen. We did that tonight, and we beat a good team.”
Jefferson led a balanced scoring effort for the Tigers with 15 points, and Montez Crowe added 11 points, with nine of his points coming in the fourth quarter.
Shealey scored seven of his nine points in the final period, and Tremayne Tolbert added eight points.
The offensive outburst in the fourth quarter was in stark contrast to the way the game began, with Troup managing just four points in the opening period.
Jefferson said the Tigers never strayed from the offensive game plan, which was all about patience and working for the best shot.
“We moved it,” Jefferson said. “We always make the extra passes. We’ll make the extra pass to get an even better shot.”
Early on, neither team was finding much offensive success, and the Tigers led 4-3 after the first period.
Troup heated up in the second quarter.
Jefferson made a 3-pointer to give the Tigers a 13-9 lead, and they ended up scoring 11 points in the final four minutes of the second quarter.
Jefferson did a lot of the damage in the second period, scoring 11 points to help his team take a 21-13 lead at the half.
The Tigers led by 11 points in the third quarter when Carson Culverhouse made a 3-pointer to get the Trojans within eight.
Troup then ran more than a minute off the clock, and that possession ended with a Crowe basket to make it a 10-point game.
A Shealey basket capped the third-quarter scoring, and as the two teams returned to the court for the start of the fourth period, Troup had a 12-point lead.
Shealey knocked down a 3-pointer 20 seconds into the fourth quarter to give the Tigers a 37-22 lead, and they were off and running.
Troup had one hiccup in the final quarter.
Back-to-back turnovers helped the Trojans go on a 7-0 run to get within eight with 4:23 remaining, but Shealey answered with a basket to push the lead back to 10.
Then after a Carrollton turnover, Crowe converted a three-point play, and Troup led 50-37 with 3:43 left in the game.
The Tigers rolled from there.
After Russell’s dunk extended the lead to 20, Isaac Moss and Jordan Copeland made consecutive 3-pointers in the final minute.
After Carrollton made its run to get within eight, it was outscored 21-1 the rest of the way.
“We needed it very bad,” Jefferson said. “The last game (against Manchester), we played our hearts out, and still lost. We needed a win.”
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports