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It’s crunch time on the hardwood

Teams gear up for home stretch

By Kevin Eckleberry

keckleberry@civitasmedia.com

The Callaway Lady Cavaliers will put their 3-1 Region 5-AAA record on the line when they visit Rockmart today. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/01/web1_CHS11.jpgThe Callaway Lady Cavaliers will put their 3-1 Region 5-AAA record on the line when they visit Rockmart today. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

LaGrange’s Kenan Gray goes up for a dunk during Saturday’s home win over Harris County. The Grangers are 4-1 in Region 1-AAAAA heading into today’s road game against Northside. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/01/web1_LHS4.jpgLaGrange’s Kenan Gray goes up for a dunk during Saturday’s home win over Harris County. The Grangers are 4-1 in Region 1-AAAAA heading into today’s road game against Northside. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

Kiya Fulton and the Troup Lady Tigers carry a 1-3 region record into today’s game against Carrollton, which played for a state championship last season. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/01/web1_troup-girls.jpgKiya Fulton and the Troup Lady Tigers carry a 1-3 region record into today’s game against Carrollton, which played for a state championship last season. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

Braylon Sanders and the Callaway Cavaliers have soared to a 4-0 record in Region 5-AAA, and they’ll look for another region win today at Rockmart. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/01/web1_CHS-sanders.jpgBraylon Sanders and the Callaway Cavaliers have soared to a 4-0 record in Region 5-AAA, and they’ll look for another region win today at Rockmart. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

Shania Woodard, who has scored 47 points in the past two games, will try to help the LaGrange Lady Grangers get a big road win over Northside today. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/01/web1_LHS-woodard.jpgShania Woodard, who has scored 47 points in the past two games, will try to help the LaGrange Lady Grangers get a big road win over Northside today. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

Troup’s Keyshawn Russell and Jarrious Jefferson double-team a Manchester player during Saturday’s game. The Tigers will look for their first Region 5-AAAA win of the season when they host Carrollton today. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/01/web1_troup14.jpgTroup’s Keyshawn Russell and Jarrious Jefferson double-team a Manchester player during Saturday’s game. The Tigers will look for their first Region 5-AAAA win of the season when they host Carrollton today. Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News

LAGRANGE -The LaGrange Grangers are in first place in Region 1-AAAAA at the moment, but if things don’t go their way tonight, they could be in fourth place.

That’s how tight things are at the top of the region.

The Grangers (15-3 overall) are 4-1 in the region, and they’re in a virtual first-place tie with Shaw (5-1) and Carver (4-1).

Northside, which hosts LaGrange tonight, is in fourth place in the region, but it is only one game behind with a 3-2 record.

The Grangers head into today’s game on the heels of two big wins over the weekend.

The Shaw Raiders came into Friday’s game unbeaten in the region, and they were coming off a big road win over the Carver Tigers, but they lost to the Grangers 65-58.

LaGrange, showing no signs of a let-down, followed that up with an 87-55 victory over Harris County on Saturday.

Those two wins came after LaGrange lost a region road game to Carver.

“We had a real good week of practice after that Carver loss,” LaGrange head coach Mark Veal said.

Against Harris County, all of LaGrange’s weapons were on display.

Guards Derieko Smith and LaPerion Perry are explosive players, but LaGrange’s inside game led the way against Harris County.

Bryan Fanning and Kenan Gray had 18 and 15 points, respectively, and senior Mike Hardy had eight points, including six points in the third quarter when the Grangers put the game away.

“Bryan Fanning played really good (against Harris),” Veal said. “And Kenan Gray, he’s been really coming on. We can’t just be a guard-oriented team. We have to be inside-outside.”

LaGrange had the outside game working against Harris County as well.

Smith made three 3-pointers and scored 13 points, and Alex Dantzler and Qua Epps each made two 3-pointers, and Perry, Jarious Freeman and Daz Williams also made shots from long distance.

LaGrange made 10 3-pointers in the game.

The night before against Shaw, it was Smith leading the way with 22 points, and Hardy scored 10 points, and Dantzler made two more 3-pointers.

The LaGrange Lady Grangers (7-7 overall) are 2-3 in the region heading into tonight’s game at Northside.

Northside (11-4 overall) is having a strong season, and it is 3-2 in the region.

LaGrange edged Shaw 69-64 on Friday, but it lost to Harris County 57-52 on Saturday.

Junior post player Shania Woodard had a terrific two days for the Lady Grangers.

After exploding for 31 points against Shaw, she scored 16 points a day later against Harris County.

Aryan Dozier also provided plenty of highlights over the weekend, scoring 21 points against Harris County, and she made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the fourth quarter.

Against Shaw, Dozier had 20 points, giving her a combined 41 points in the two weekend games.

Chnairiea Strozier also showed off her scoring ability in the two games, scoring 16 points against Harris County, and 12 points against Shaw.

LaGrange’s teams will begin the second half of their region schedules on the road against Hardaway on Friday before hosting Columbus on Saturday.

TROUP: They’ve got one region win under their belt, now the Troup Lady Tigers will try to make it two in a row, although that won’t be easy.

The Lady Tigers (7-9 overall) thumped visiting Fayette County 49-33 to improve to 3-1 in Region 5-AAAA, giving them some momentum heading into today’s showdown with Carrollton.

Carrollton, after finishing second in the state tournament a year ago, is in the midst of another terrific season.

The Lady Trojans (14-4 overall) are 4-0 in the region after beating Woodward Academy 52-49 on Friday.

Troup will be looking to duplicate the success it had in the Fayette County game when everything went right.

Troup’s outstanding guards, Shaqoya Gilbert and Kwyneshia Spence, scored 20 and 16 points, respectively.

Troup’s defense, meanwhile, limited Fayette County to eight points in the second half.

Now, Troup will take on one of the top teams in the region, and the state.

“That’ll be a test,” Troup head coach Carla Thornton said. “They played for a state championship last year.”

Troup’s boys’ team is looking to get its season going in the right direction.

The Tigers (5-10 overall) fell to 0-4 in the region with Friday’s 53-27 loss to Fayette County, and they dropped their sixth straight game overall with a 61-49 loss to Manchester on Saturday.

The Tigers did find some offensive success against Manchester.

After a four-point third quarter, the Tigers scored 17 points in the final period to make things somewhat interesting.

Sophomore guard Jarrious Jefferson scored eight points in the fourth quarter on the way to a 17-point night.

Carrollton (9-10 overall) brings a 2-2 region record into today’s game.

Troup’s teams will begin the second half of their region schedules with home games against Sandy Creek on Friday.

CALLAWAY: They’re at full strength, and they’re rolling.

The Callaway Lady Cavaliers finished their non-region schedule with a 2-6 record, but they’ve been getting it done since they began playing Region 5-AAA games.

With Friday’s 59-52 home win over Pepperell, Callaway (5-7 overall) is sitting alone in second place in the region with a 3-1 record.

Callaway will wrap up the first half of its region schedule with a road game against Rockmart today.

Callaway has benefited from the return of senior guard Tanesha Johnson, who made her season debut in the region opener against Central-Carroll.

Johnson teams with fellow senior Zamari Hadnett to give Callaway a terrific one-two punch at the guard position.

Juniors Ke Ke Talley and Ki Ki Owens have also provided a play-making presence at the guard spot, and sophomore Chyna Cameron has been a force in the paint.

In the Pepperell game, Cameron had close to 20 rebounds.

Senior post player Re Re Porter has returned from an injury and is filling a valuable role, and junior Alexus Scott has also played well inside.

The Callaway Cavaliers began their region schedule with a hard-fought 84-76 win over Central-Carroll, but they haven’t been tested since then.

After beating Cedartown 66-33 and Haralson County 75-23, Callaway took a 31-9 lead against Pepperell en route to a 76-54 win.

The Cavaliers (9-3) are 4-0 in the region, and they’re looking every bit like a team capable of winning a fourth consecutive region championship.

Callaway’s Joe Brown, Dre Martin, Braylon Sanders and Ernest Patillo are consistent double-digit scorers, and senior guard Quantrez Cooper is a terrific all-around player.

After today’s games at Rockmart, Callaway’s teams will be on the road again on Friday against Cedartown to begin the second half of the region schedule.

Callaway will step out of the region to host Valley on Saturday.

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