HAMILTON - The game was hanging in the balance.
A lead that was 10 points at the close of the third period had shriveled to just two points for the Troup Tigers, who were looking to pull off a road win over the Harris County Tigers.
The Tigers didn’t panic.
They re-asserted their dominance with a 9-0 run, and the game was never in doubt again as they rolled to a 75-67 victory.
The Tigers improved to 2-1, and they avenged a season-opening loss to Harris County.
“With an inexperienced team, that could have gone south quick, but they got it under control, made a few baskets, and kind of broke their spirits a little bit,” Troup head coach Paul Brewer said.
The Tigers were paced by junior guard Jamal Wilkerson, who is on a torrid scoring pace early in the season.
After scoring 29 points in a season-opening loss to Harris County, Wilkerson had 23 points in Saturday’s victory over Bowdon.
In Tuesday’s game, Wilkerson scored a season-high 31 points.
Daryl Dunlap added 10 points, Quaydo Florence scored nine points, and Saye Sanders contributed eight points.
Troup opened its season with a 79-73 loss to Harris County.
After a slow start in that game, the Tigers rallied in the fourth quarter to make a game of it, but the deficit was too great.
“They came over and beat us last week, and they deserved that,” Brewers said. “We felt like we had something to prove.”
Looking to avoid the slow start that proved so costly in the opener against Harris County, the Tigers jumped out to a 6-2 lead on Tuesday, with Wilkerson hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to start the game.
By the close of the first quarter, Troup was up 22-12.
The Tigers led by as many as 14 points in the second period, and by the half they were up 37-26.
Harris County rallied in the third period to get within four, but with Dunlap scoring eight straight points during one stretch, Troup charged back to go up 58-48 heading into the final quarter.
Harris County got right back into the game in the fourth period with a 10-2 run, and Troup’s once commanding lead wasn’t almost all gone.
Florence then hit a big bucket with 4:20 left to push the lead to four, and Wilkerson scored five straight points, and the advantage was nine.
Tre Sullivan, who scored all six of his points in the fourth quarter, made a basket to give Troup a 69-58 lead with 2:48 left in the game.
Harris County never came closer than eight points the rest of the way.
“You have to be proud of them for the way they fought,” Brewer said. “Harris has played well this year.”
Troup will try to make it three in a row when it hosts Bowdon on Friday.