There are no easy nights, not in Region 5-AAAA.
From the top of the region with the Alexander Cougars, down to the teams at the bottom, it’s a grind night in and night out.
That’s what the Troup Tigers have found out this season.
Heading into today’s game at Alexander, the Tigers (5-10 overall) are 1-5 in the region, but they’ve got plenty of time to turn things around.
Today marks the halfway point of the region schedule, so the Tigers still have eight region games remaining to improve their position before the end of the regular season.
The Tigers have lost five straight, but they’re coming off a strong performance against Callaway on Wednesday.
The Tigers were within two points with less than 30 seconds remaining before losing 58-54.
It was a marked improvement from the first meeting between the two schools, with Callaway winning 80-63.
“From now, to the first time we played these guys, you could see the difference,” Troup coach Paul Brewer said.
Now, the Tigers will try to build on that performance when they take on a powerful Alexander team.
Alexander (14-3 overall), one of the three teams in the region that has been ranked in the top-10, is 7-0 in the region.
Alexander opened its region schedule with a 70-37 win over Troup, and it has continued to dominate its region foes since then.
The Tigers will return home on Saturday to face another strong team in the Sandy Creek Patriots (14-3, 5-1).
After that, Troup has region games remaining against Carrollton, Columbus, Fayette County, LaGrange, Shaw and Sandy Creek.
While it has been an inconsistent season, Brewer believes the future is bright.
“We’ve got a bunch of kids that are working hard, and eventually if you work this hard, there are going to be some better feelings,” Brewer said. “It’s going to be fun to be there when that happens.”
The Troup Lady Tigers are also hoping to get things going in the right direction.
After Wednesday’s 53-40 loss to Callaway, the Lady Tigers (1-13) have lost 13 straight games, and they’re 0-6 in the region.
The Lady Tigers did compete well against the Lady Cavaliers, though.
They were up by as many as six points in the third period, and after falling behind, they remained without shouting distance most of the way.
“Right now when the pressure gets on us, we don’t know how to play through it,” Thornton said. “We have mental lapses on offense, and defensively we’ll mess up the rotation. We gave up some lay-ups. You can’t give up lay-ups. It’s the little things. We can correct those in practice.”
The Lady Tigers are still looking for a region win, and they’ll try to correct that today against Alexander.
Alexander (8-10 overall) is 3-4 in the region, and that included a 61-39 win over Troup.
On Saturday, Troup will host Sandy Creek (7-10), which is 3-3 in the region.
Also this weekend, the LaGrange teams will look to strengthen their positions in Region 5-AAAA.
The Grangers (8-9 overall) are 2-5 at the halfway point of their region schedule, and today they’ll try to avenge one of those five losses when they host Shaw.
In their first region game, the Grangers lost to the Raiders (10-8, 3-4) in overtime.
On Saturday, LaGrange will try to complete a regular-season sweep of Columbus (6-11, 0-7).
LaGrange’s two region wins are against Columbus and Troup.
The Lady Grangers (5-12 overall), meanwhile, are also 2-5 in the region as they begin the second half of their region schedule.
One of those region wins came against Shaw (2-17, 1-6), which beat Troup on Tuesday for its first region win.
The task will be considerably tougher on Saturday for LaGrange.
Columbus (17-1) is leading the region with a 7-0 record, and it beat LaGrange 59-34 in January.
Something will have to give today.
The Callaway Cavaliers and Douglass Astros are tied atop the Region 4-AAA standings, and they’ll face off today with first place on the line.
It’s the first time the two teams met since last year’s region-championship game, which was won by Callaway.
“It’s a big one,” Callaway coach Terry Hayes said. “They’ll be ready.”
The Cavaliers (13-3 overall) are 7-1 in the region, and they’re coming their first region loss at Chapel Hill on Tuesday.
Douglass (13-4, 7-1) also fell to Chapel Hill on Saturday for its lone region loss.
On Saturday, the Cavaliers will step out of the region to host the Lanett Panthers.
On Dec. 21, Callaway had a big lead in the fourth quarter against Lanett, but it went on to lose 70-65.
The Lady Cavaliers (10-6 overall) will try to improve on their 5-3 region record when they host Douglass (5-7, 4-4).
On Saturday, Callaway will look to avenge an earlier 60-50 loss to Lanett.