Troup teams get started

Published 9:57 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

A new era will get under way today as Blake Craft makes his debut as the head coach of the Troup High boys’ basketball team.

Craft, who has taken over as head coach from Paul Brewer, will lead his team against Spalding County today.

The girls’ game will tip off at 6 p.m., with the boys’ game to follow.

Both Troup teams will make their home debuts on Saturday against East Coweta.

Craft inherits a veteran team that finished fourth in Region 5-AAAA last season to make it to the state tournament for the first time since 2012.

Troup will be short-handed this weekend, though, since many of the team’s top players are still playing football.

One player who will be on the court is senior guard Jarrious Jefferson, who has enjoyed an outstanding career at Troup.

Craft said he has enjoyed working with the players throughout the summer and during preseason practice.

“These guys, they’re very coachable,” Craft said. “They want to do what’s right. It’s been fun, especially the first week. They haven’t had any attitudes. They’re buying in quick. And they’re having a good time. They’re having fun, and that’s the biggest part. You want the kids to have fun. You want them to want to be here.”

The Troup girls’ team, which finished fourth in the region last season, will once again be led by coach Carla Thornton.

Three of the top players from last season’s team are gone, and sophomore post player Amber Gilbert is recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Among the top returnees are seniors Jedda Madden and Kiya Fulton, while fellow seniors Aundracia Riggins and Valerie Smith will be taking on increased roles.

Thornton said Riggins and Smith players are “role models, and they’ll be asked to hold more weight this year, and they’ve been stepping up really good in practice. I’ve been impressed with their effort and leadership.”