It’s time to play for keeps.
Most of the teams in Region 5-AAAA will kick off their region schedules today, while two of the teams, including Troup, have played one region game.
Over the next month, the boys’ and girls’ teams in the region will be jockeying for position heading into the region tournament, where the top four finishers will earn an invitation to the state tournament.
The LaGrange Grangers are the defending region champions on the boys’ side, while Fayette County won the girls’ region title.
The team Fayette County beat to win that championship, LaGrange, will begin its region schedule today against Shaw.
Last season, LaGrange was an experienced, senior-dominated team.
The story is a lot different this season for a LaGrange team that has a whole new crop of starters.
“You have to win the ones you’re supposed to win, and you have to pull an upset somewhere,” LaGrange head coach Jan Jones said. “That’s what we’re hoping for.”
Fayette County looks well-positioned to make a strong run at a repeat title.
The Lady Tigers are 5-4, but they’ve played a difficult schedule that included an appearance in the Peach State Classic that featured a power-packed field.
The hottest region teams so far have been Columbus (9-1), which won its first nine games before falling to Northside-Columbus on Monday, and Carrollton (10-1).
Carrollton and Columbus open their region schedules against each other tonight.
Alexander (5-6 overall) has already played a region game, and it beat Troup, which has struggled to a 1-7 record.
Troup opened its season with a win over Harris County, but it has dropped seven straight games since then.
The Lady Tigers are off tonight, and they’ll play their next region game on Tuesday at home against Sandy Creek.
Sandy Creek (3-7) and Shaw (1-9) will try to find some success with the start of region play.
On the boys’ side, the hottest region team so far has been Fayette County, which is 8-1 and just went 3-0 to win the Upward Classic in Spartanburg, S.C.
Sandy Creek is also off to a nice start with a 7-2 record, and a Columbus team that won just four games last season is 6-4.
Shaw, LaGrange’s opponent tonight, has surged to a 7-4 record, and Alexander is 6-3, including a region win over Troup, which is 4-4.
Troup just went 1-1 in a tournament in Meriwether County, and it snapped a three-game losing streak with a 66-37 victory over Macon County on Saturday.
Troup will look for its first region win when it hosts Sandy Creek on Tuesday.
Carrollton brings a 3-5 record into its region opener today.