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Grangers take night off after hard-fought road loss

By Kevin Eckleberry


Jerious Freeman and the LaGrange Grangers are off tonight before hosting Shaw on Friday in a key region showdown. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/01/web1_LHS12.jpgJerious Freeman and the LaGrange Grangers are off tonight before hosting Shaw on Friday in a key region showdown. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

LAGRANGE – They kept coming.

The LaGrange Grangers faced a double-digit deficit early in the fourth quarter, but with time winding down in Saturday’s road game against Carver, they were right there with a chance to win.

The Grangers got as close as two points, but they were unable to completely close the gap, and they ended up losing 81-78 in the Region 1-AAAAA showdown.

The Grangers (13-3 overall) fell to 2-1 in the region, and they’ll take a rare Tuesday night off before hosting Shaw in another region showdown on Friday.

Shaw (11-3 overall) is 3-0 in the region, and it will visit Carver tonight with first place on the line.

Despite Saturday’s close loss, it has been a stellar season for the Grangers.

Senior Derieko Smith, last year’s region player of the year, is a big reason why the Grangers have enjoyed so much success.

He has been the team’s leading scorer in just about every game, and he had 22 points against Carver.

The Grangers have a deep roster with a bunch of contributors, though, and that was on display against Carver.

Alex Dantzler, a senior who is getting his first significant playing time this season, hit two late 3-pointers that helped the Grangers close the gap and nearly pull off the comeback.

Veal said juniors Quez Jackson and Jerious Freeman also helped the Grangers get back into Saturday’s game.

“Jerious Freeman played pretty good all weekend,” Veal said, referring to a victory over Columbus on Friday and the Carver game a day later. “He hit four threes in both games (combined).”

In the Carver game, Veal said “Quez Jackson created a couple of turnovers, got momentum shifted.”

This week in practice, LaGrange will be preparing for a Shaw team enjoying a major turnaround from last season when it went 8-16.

In their three region wins, the Raiders haven’t had a margin of victory smaller than 15 points.

“Shaw’s got some size,” Veal said. “They’ll cause some problems for us.”

The challenge shouldn’t be quite as severe for the Lady Grangers (6-6 overall), who fell to 1-2 in the region with Saturday’s loss to Carver.

After back-to-back road games against two of the region’s top teams in Columbus High and Carver, LaGrange will host a struggling Shaw team on Friday.

The Lady Raiders (3-11 overall) are 0-3 in the region, and they’ve lost five straight overall.

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