LaGrange leaps into regular season

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 23, 2015

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – It’s go time.

After a tune-up game last week, the LaGrange Grangers will make their regular-season debut today when they visit the Newnan Cougars for a boys’ basketball game.

It will be the first of two road games in two days for the Grangers, who face a challenging non-region schedule.

The Grangers played a preseason game last week, and they looked impressive in posting a 71-37 victory over the visiting Central-Carroll Lions.

On Tuesday, LaGrange will play at Mundy’s Mill.

LaGrange head coach Mark Veal said those two games are part of a difficult non-region slate.

“Our non-region schedule is really tough,” Veal said. “Those two games (this week) will be tough, and we’ve got Woodward Academy here, we’ve got the Callaway and Troup games. We’ve got South Atlanta this year. So we’ve got tough games. And that’s good. It gets you ready for region play.”

The Grangers looked impressive against a Central-Carroll team that made it to the second round of the Class AAA state tournament a year ago.

Even without standout junior guard LaPerion Perry, who is recovering from an injury suffered in football season, LaGrange rolled.

Senior Derieko Smith, last season’s Region 1-AAAAA player of the year, didn’t start, but he ended up leading the team with 16 points.

Twelve LaGrange players got on the court, and 11 of the scored.

When Perry returns, he’ll team with Smith to give LaGrange a formidable one-two combination at guard.

Even without those two, though, LaGrange showed this summer it can be a competitive team.

“We played this summer a good bit without Derieko and LaPerion, so it gave those guys a chance to play,” Veal said. “And they really shined and did well this summer against good competition.”

LaGrange’s girls’ team also looked impressive against Central-Carroll on the way to a 59-36 win.

Aryan Dozier, who had a terrific freshman season, led LaGrange with 21 points.

Troup High’s teams will both be in action on Saturday at Harris County.

The Troup boys’ team opened its season with a loss to Newnan on Saturday, while the Lady Tigers have yet to play a game.

Callaway’s teams won’t open their seasons until Dec. 4 at Greenville.

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports