Big game for Grangers

Published 11:11 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – They’re playing for first.

The LaGrange Grangers are making a road trip to Cartersville today for their regular-season finale, and there’s a lot on the line.

If the Grangers win, they would secure the top seed for next week’s Region 5-AAAA tournament.

That’s big for a couple of reasons.

Number one, it means the Grangers would have a bye into the semifinals of the region tournament, meaning they’d be guaranteed a spot in the state tournament no matter what happens.

If LaGrange finishes first, it would also serve as the host team for the semifinals and finals of the region tournament on the boys’ and girls’ side.

If the Grangers lose today, they would finish anywhere from first to third.

LaGrange (21-3 overall) is 10-1 in the region, and it holds a narrow one-game lead over Sandy Creek and Cartersville.

In the earlier game against Cartersville on Jan. 24, LaGrange rolled to a 67-52 win on its home floor.

LaPerion Perry and Gabe Duckett combined for six 3-pointers and 29 points in the blowout win.

Senior Jarious Freeman said he expects Cartersville to put a lot of pressure on he and the other guards.

“Just take care of the ball when they press, because we know they’re going to press,” Freeman said.

Today’s game is also an important one for the LaGrange Lady Grangers, who are tied for third place in the region with a 7-4 record.

If LaGrange wins today, it would finish no worse than tied for third after the completion of the regular season.

LaGrange also still has a chance to finish second if Chapel Hill loses to Cedartown on Friday.

The lowest LaGrange can finish is fourth.

The number two seed earns a bye into the semifinals, while the number three seed will host a tournament game.

LaGrange beat Cartersville earlier this season, although it was a hard-fought game.

Cartersville fought back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to pull even, but Aryan Dozier scored at the buzzer to lift LaGrange to the 43-41 win.

The Callaway and Troup basketball teams will play their region finales on Friday.

Troup will be at home against Cartersville, and Callaway plays at Spencer.

The Troup Tigers are 4-7 in the region, and a win on Friday would secure the number four seed for the region tournament.

The Lady Tigers are tied for third at 7-4, and they could still finish anywhere from second to fourth.

Sandy Creek (9-2) and Chapel Hill (8-3) are fighting it out for the number one seed on the girls’ side.

The Callaway Cavaliers are in third place in Region 5-AA with a 5-4 record, and they have a chance to move up to second and earn a bye into the region-tournament semifinals.

Spencer is in second place at 5-3, and it clos