Lady Tigers can’t overcome tough first half

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 17, 2016

By Kevin Eckleberry

BOGART – The Troup Lady Tigers made a game of it.

After falling behind by 14 points at the half of Tuesday’s Class AAAA state-tournament road game against North Oconee, Troup got as close as five points in the fourth quarter.

Turns out the deficit was too great, though.

North Oconee, thanks in large part to an exceptional effort from the free-throw line late in the game, pulled away for a 64-50 victory.

“The fourth quarter, we were within five, and we had to foul them,” Troup head coach Carla Thornton said. “They made every single free throw to pull away. But it was a good game.”

North Oconee didn’t make every one of its free-throw attempts down the stretch, but it was pretty close.

The Titans were 12-of-13 from the line in the fourth quarter, and in the final minute they knocked down 8-of-9 free-throw attempts.

Troup trailed 13-9 after the first quarter, and by the half that deficit had grown to 30-16.

The Lady Tigers collected themselves during the 10-minute halftime break and got back into the game in the second half.

By the end of the third quarter, the Lady Tigers were within nine, and they continued to cut into the deficit in the fourth period.

Eventually the Lady Tigers just ran out of time, putting an end to a season that saw the program take some positive steps.

The Lady Tigers, who finished fourth in the Region 5-AAAA tournament, returned to the state playoffs for the first time since the 2011-2012 season.

“I’m very proud of the girls,” Thornton said. “We competed every single game this year, except for the one Carrollton game where they blew us out. The girls are already saying they’ll be really successful next year.”

Troup will return all but one player next season, with senior Gabby Lockhart set to graduate.

Thornton said the team will receive a boost with the arrival of some talented players who are coming up from the Long Cane Middle School team.

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