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Troup powers way to home win

Tigers start strong, hang on to beat Wildcats

By Kevin Eckleberry

keckleberry@civitasmedia.com

Troup’s Isaac Moss comes down with a rebound during the second half of Friday’s 44-41 victory over Whitewater. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_Troup2.jpgTroup’s Isaac Moss comes down with a rebound during the second half of Friday’s 44-41 victory over Whitewater. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
Troup’s Kiya Fulton tries to get to the basket during Friday’s loss to Whitewater. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_Troup1.jpgTroup’s Kiya Fulton tries to get to the basket during Friday’s loss to Whitewater. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

LAGRANGE – When the Troup Tigers were blown out by Whitewater earlier this month, it was the start of a tough two-game stretch where they were outscored by a combined 53 points.

The Tigers are a different team now, though.

They showed that on Friday when, in a rematch with the Whitewater Wildcats, they held on for a 44-41 victory in the Region 5-AAAA game.

The Tigers (7-11 overall) improved to 2-5 in the region, and they’ve won two of their past three games, giving them plenty of momentum and confidence heading into the final week of the regular season.

“What I really love about this team, and we’ve been saying this all along, they think they’re supposed to win now,” Troup head coach Paul Brewer said. “I don’t know If we’re supposed to or not, but the kids are thinking they’re supposed to win. And they’ve started buying into, this is how we’re going to win. So let’s embrace it, and make people do what we’re going to do.”

The Tigers had lost six straight games when they beat the Carrollton Trojans 66-38 on their home floor.

The Tigers then hung tough the whole way with Woodward Academy on Tuesday before losing 54-46, and they returned home on Friday and got a big win.

In the first meeting between the two teams, Whitewater rolled to a 66-39 victory, but this is a different Troup team now.

“A bunch of young guys and a bunch of inexperienced guys have started to figure it out,” Brewer said.

One of those young players, sophomore guard Jarrious Jefferson, led Troup with 12 points, and he was 8-of-12 from the free-throw line.

Isaac Moss added 10 points, and Dexter Shealey scored nine points.

The Tigers started quickly, outscoring Whitewater 12-2 in the first period, and by the half they were ahead 23-10.

Whitewater got as close as six points before Jordan Copeland made a 3-pointer late in the third quarter to give Troup a 30-21 lead, which was the score as the fourth period began.

Troup was ahead by eight points with less than one minute remaining when Whitewater made a move.

Garrett Owen made a 3-pointer with 51 seconds remaining, cutting Troup’s lead to 39-35.

Moss made two free throws with 33 seconds left to give the Tigers a 42-35 lead, but Owen hit another 3-pointer with 25 seconds to play to make it a four-point game.

After Jefferson made two free throws with 19 seconds left, Troup was ahead 44-39, and Whitewater’s Zach Yeager scored with 12 seconds remaining to get his team within three.

After a Troup player missed two free throws, Whitewater got the rebound down by three with a chance to tie it, and a Kendall Metoyer 3-pointer was just off the mark.

“It was a good win,” Brewer said. “Any of them are, especially at this time of the year.”

In the girls’ game, Troup lost 43-39 to fall to 1-6 in the region.

Trailing 31-22 through three periods, the Lady Tigers fought back and got as close as three points later, but they were unable to completely close the gap.

Shaqoya Gilbert led Troup with 13 points, and she was 5-of-6 from the free-throw line, and Jedda Madden added 11 points.

Troup will host Sandy Creek on Monday, with the girls’ game starting at 6 p.m., and the boys’ game to follow.

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports