Team effort for Grangers

Published 12:56 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – It’s not always about what’s in the box score.

During the two games in the Region 5-AAAA tournament, LaGrange’s Gabe Duckett didn’t score a point, but he still contributed greatly to the two wins.

LaGrange head coach Mark Veal usually gives Duckett the assignment of guarding the opposition’s top offensive player, and the senior spends a lot of energy filling that role.

So even though he didn’t score during the wins over Troup and Sandy Creek, head coach Mark Veal said his effort was nonetheless critical to the team’s success.

“Gabe, he’s done such a phenomenal job defensively,” Veal said after the region-championship victory over Sandy Creek.

“We give him the top defensive assignment every game, and he hasn’t complained about scoring or anything. That’s a big attribute for us.”

Duckett, who has helped the Grangers post a 25-3 record and reach the second round of the state tournament, said the only thing he’s concerned with is helping the team win.

“As my dad used to tell me, there’s always more than one way to help win a game,” Duckett said following Saturday’s 80-62 state-tournament win over West Hall. “Sometimes, on offense your shot might not be on, but when you can do the small things that’ll help your team, you’ve still contributed to the win.”

In the West Hall game, Duckett showed what he can do on offense when he made a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter that helped the Grangers put the game away.

For Duckett, though, the only statistic that mattered was that his team won and was moving on.

“I try not to look at it as, I didn’t score,” Duckett said. “As long as I did my best, and we got the win, I’m satisfied.”

The Grangers do have plenty of players with the ability to score points in bunches, including senior guard LaPerion Perry, who had a team-best 17 points against West Hall, including nine points in a 20-point first quarter.

Junior guard Bo Russell had 16 points, and 11 of those points came during a 26-point second quarter.

Senior post player Bryan Fanning had 12 points, and senior guard Jarious Freeman made a pair of 3-pointers and scored nine points.

Daz Williams scored all six of his points in the second period, and Quez Jackson (five points), Kenan Gray (four points), Jay Benton (three points) and Covan Huzzie (two points) also scored as the Grangers’ offensive depth was on display.