Troup pulls away late for win

Published 12:38 am Wednesday, January 11, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – It was anybody’s game.

Midway through the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s county showdown, the Troup Lady Tigers and LaGrange Lady Grangers were deadlocked in a tie game.

Troup had no interest in being in a game that came down to the closing moments, though.

Troup, showing plenty of poise playing in a rivalry game before a full house, dominated the game’s closing moments to take a 49-39 victory.

The Lady Tigers (8-5 overall) evened their Region 5-AAAA record at 1-1, while the Lady Grangers (8-7) fell to 2-1 in the region while seeing their four-game winning streak come to an end.

“They kept their composure,” Troup head coach Carla Thornton said. “We ran our offense, and they did what I asked them to do. They said they were going to play for each other, and they stuck to that.”

LaGrange coach Stephen Tuck said once things started to go south a bit, the players were unable to recover.

“You look back at this game, and we can’t let one bad thing turn into a domino effect,” Tuck said. “You can’t panic. I really think that’s what happened. We had one turnover, and then we took some bad shots, and that one turnover, turned into like six, and we took some bad shots.”

Kwyneshia Spence led a balanced scoring effort for Troup with 15 points, and she came up big late with nine points in the fourth quarter.

Amber Gilbert added 12 points, and Shaqoya Gilbert added 10 points.

Aryan Dozier led LaGrange with 17 points, and Shania Woodard scored eight points.

Troup led 14-9 after the first period, and its lead was 22-18 at the half.

The Lady Tigers went up by six early in the third period on a basket by Spence, but the Lady Grangers charged back and went on a 10-2 run to take the lead.

Dozier hit a 3-pointer to get the Lady Grangers within one, and the junior then completed a three-point play to give her team a 28-26 lead.

By the time the fourth period came around, LaGrange had a 29-28 lead.

The Lady Grangers kept the momentum going in the fourth quarter when Blair Herrod made a 3-pointer to put the Lady Tigers in a 32-28 hole with 7:45 to play.

“We were down, and then in the third quarter we took the lead,” Tuck said. “That shows what you’re capable of doing. That shows how much heart, and how much grit you have.”

Troup wasn’t going away, though.

When Spence made a free throw with four minutes to play, the game was tied at 34-34, and Akhya Mitchell scored with 3:35 left to give the Lady Tigers a two-point lead.

After falling behind by five, the Lady Grangers got within three on a pair of Dozier free throws with 1:50 to play, but the Lady Tigers finished the game on a 7-0 run, and all of those points came at the free-throw line.

“Defense carried us in that fourth quarter,” Thornton said. “A lot of those points were off of turnovers. I was really proud of them. They worked for it. They had a good week of practice.”

Troup will be on the road against Cedartown on Friday, while LaGrange will host Sandy Creek.

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