Coming off a big road win over Troup on Friday, the Grangers were hoping to keep things rolling Tuesday at home against Carrollton.
Instead, the Grangers (13-4 overall, 4-2 in Region 5-AAAA couldn’t seem to buy a basket en route to a 54-39 loss to the Trojans (11-6, 3-4).
The numbers tell the story.
The Grangers hit just 19-of-65 shots for the game, including a cold 1-for-15 in the fourth quarter, with that one a 3-pointer by Baron Smith with 52 seconds remaining in the game.
The other four points in the fourth came on free throws by Justyn Olson.
One of the positives for the game was LaGrange made all seven of its free-throw attempts and had 13 turnovers compared to 18 for Carrollton.
The night belonged to Carrollton, though.
LaGrange coach Mike Pauley gave credit to Carrollton, whose sharp, precision passing and second and sometimes third-chance put-backs were difficult to overcome.
“I give them a hand. They led from start to finish and we could just never make a real good run to get back into the game,” Pauley said.
Carrollton led 16-6 after the first quarter and 28-15 at the half.
The Trojans extended their lead to 15 early in the third quarter before LaGrange made a run when Olson hit back-to-back jumpers that helped cut the lead to five at 35-30 with 2:54 left in the period.
But just when the Grangers were within striking distance, the Trojans came up with two baskets, one of them a 3-pointer that put them back up by 10 and LaGrange never got any closer.
“When we got back within five points, we felt good where we were moving and the bottom line is they hit a couple of big shots and we didn’t and we could just never make up the difference,” Pauley commented. “We never had a run where guys could hit shots and subs could hit shots.”
Pauley said Carrollton’s defense deserves a lot of credit for his team’s offensive struggles.
“They changed up defenses on us and our guys didn’t handle it very well,” Pauley said. “We just had guys miss shots. You miss shots and then you start playing catchup against a team who knows how to play, that makes a difficult night. They did what it took to put some points on the board.”
Carrollton led by as many as 17 in the second half as LaGrange put up shot after shot that wouldn’t fall.
“In a high-school game, if someone scores 54, you ought to win,” Pauley said. “It wasn’t our defense. It was clearly our offense. It was their defense that held us there. If you hold a high school team to 54 points, you ought to win.”
Olson had 14 points for LaGrange while Smith added nine.
The Grangers next game is Friday at Shaw.