Lady Grangers on road for tourney

Published 1:25 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

They’ve seen it all.

The LaGrange Lady Grangers have played 10 games, eight of them on the road, and they’ve experienced a lot during those 40 quarters of basketball.

“I don’t think it’s possible to see anything else,” said LaGrange head coach Stephen Tuck, whose team is 4-6. “I don’t think it’s possible to see any other type of defense, or any other type of team, and I don’t think it’s possible for them to see any different type of adversity.”

Part of that adversity has involved playing a good portion of the season without Aryan Dozier, who was supposed to team with fellow senior Chnaireia Strozier to give LaGrange a formidable combo at the guard position.

Strozier missed the first two games of the season, and Dozier has been out for the past few weeks with an illness.

On Dec. 9, the two seniors combined to score 44 points in a victory over Callaway, and Dozier has been unable to play since then.

With those two dynamic scorers having spent so little time on the court together, some other players have had to take on increased roles.

“I think we’ve honestly played as a whole team maybe three games,” Tuck said. “So everything you have to look at as an opportunity, and I think it’s been an opportunity for some other girls to have to step up. They can’t depend on Fruit (Dozier) to do this, or Mo (Strozier) to do this. And I think we’ve seen that at times. It’ll be good in the future, and even at times this season.”

LaGrange will be short-handed once again when it heads to Newnan High for a holiday tournament this week, with Dozier remaining on the sideline.

LaGrange will play games on three consecutive days, beginning with today’s matchup with North Clayton at 3 p.m.

LaGrange will play Hiram on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. before finishing things up against Grayson on Friday at noon.

“It’s an opportunity to see some different teams we wouldn’t normally see,” Tuck said.” And when we looked at tournaments before Christmas, we looked at one that was close by so our fans would be able to come support us.”

LaGrange’s floor leader will once again be Strozier.

She has not only been LaGrange’s leading scorer, but Tuck said she has also provided critical leadership during Dozier’s absence.

In LaGrange’s first game without Dozier, Strozier scored 25 points and made 10-of-11 free-throw attempts in a 49-36 win over Callaway.

“She’s really taken on that (leadership) role, and I’ve talked with her over and over that she’s got to be patient with the other girls,” Tuck said. “She’s shown tremendous patience, and leadership.”

Tuck is hoping to have everybody back in place by the time Region 5-AAAA play begins next week against Central-Carroll.

“You look at our record right now, and it’s been up and down and we’ve had different situations, but at the same time, hopefully if everybody comes back we’ll be stronger because of it,” Tuck said.