Wild win for Grangers
By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor
He was ready for the moment.
With the LaGrange Grangers facing a three-point deficit late in Tuesday’s game against the Troup Tigers, they needed a 3-pointer to pull even.
Freshman LaPerion Perry was called upon to take the shot, and he came through.
Perry took the pass, and without hesitation he sent the shot toward the basket, and it fell through the net for the game-tying 3-pointer.
“I came out of bounds, and I just shot it,” Perry said.
After Troup failed to convert on its end, the game went to overtime, and LaGrange rolled to a 65-57 victory.
It was the fourth straight win for the Grangers (12-10 overall), who improved to 6-5 in Region 5-AAAA.
Two of those four games went to overtime, and three of the four were decided by three points or less.
Outside of an Alexander team that has been dominant this season, there is little separating the remaining seven teams in the region.
LaGrange is fifth in the region, but it still has a chance to move up to fourth, or maybe even third.
There is also a possibility that LaGrange could end up playing Troup again in the opening round of the region tournament.
“There’s not a moment’s separation between most of the talent out there,” LaGrange coach Mike Pauley said. “(Troup) lost to Fayette County, the number two team, by eight. I don’t want to play (Troup) again. We don’t want to have to match up against them.”
The Grangers certainly had their hands full with the Tigers on Tuesday.
After falling behind by 10 points early, the Grangers trailed 15-12 after the first period, and they were down 26-22 at the half.
The Grangers were behind by six points in the third period when they went on a 7-0 run to take a 35-34 lead.
Mike Hardy converted a three-point play to begin that run, and Derieko Smith made back-to-back baskets to give the Grangers their first lead since the second period.
The momentum didn’t last, though, and by the end of the period, LaGrange trailed 43-38.
The Grangers went down 49-40 two minutes into the fourth quarter before they rallied.
Beginning with a Smith basket with 5:45 left in regulation, LaGrange went on an 11-2 run to tie it at 51-51 at the 2:02 mark.
Qua Jenkins had a three-point play to get the Grangers within two, and Hardy scored to tie it.
The Grangers misfired on their next few possessions, and when they got the ball with 19 seconds left following a missed free throw by the Tigers, they were down by three.
After a timeout, Perry hit his big shot with seven seconds left, and it was on to overtime.
As the Grangers prepared for the four-minute extra period, Perry said “we were very confident.”
Logan Moody got the Grangers started when he completed a three-point play to give his team a 57-54 lead with 3:35 remaining.
The Grangers didn’t score again until Perry’s basket with 1:12 remaining snapped a 57-57 tie.
With less than a minute remaining, Hardy came through with a big block, and Perry converted on the other end to give LaGrange a 61-57 lead.
Smith made three throws in the final 40 seconds to seal it for LaGrange, which closed the game on an 8-0 run.
Smith and Hardy each scored 15 points to lead LaGrange, and Perry added 11 points, with nine of those points coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.
LaGrange will try to extend its winning streak to five games when it visits Fayette County today.
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