Winning weekend for Troup

Published 10:21 pm Monday, January 15, 2018

By Kevin Eckleberry

It was a suspense-free Saturday.

The Troup Tigers completed a perfect weekend with a 60-49 victory over Central-Carroll to improve to 3-2 in Region 5-AAAA.

Troup followed up a tough road loss to LaGrange with an impressive 49-33 win over Cedartown on Friday, and it delivered another strong effort on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers surged to a 20-12 after the first quarter, and while the Lions hung tough, the outcome was never in doubt.

Senior guard Jarrious Jefferson had his usual outstanding game with 25 points, while junior post player King Mwikuta came up big with 20 points, and he was 8-of-11 from the free-throw line.

Central-Carroll’s Josh McClendon managed 20 points, but the rest of the team combined for just 29 points.

“I thought it was one of the better defensive games we’ve played,” LaGrange head coach Blake Craft said.

One of the men who helped lead that defensive effort was senior guard Makeon Heath.

Heath hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter to help Troup get off to a quick start, but his primary value to the team is on the defensive end, and he thrives in that role.

Against Central-Carroll, that meant Heath was oftentimes matched up with McClendon, a dynamic scorer.

“Playing defense, that’s my role,” Heath said. “I lock up on their best player.”

While Troup came out of the gate playing lock-down defense, the offense was thriving as well.

Jefferson scored 11 points in the first quarter to help Troup take an eight-point lead.

In the second quarter, Mwikuta’s teammates got him the ball inside, and he scored eight points as Troup took a 34-26 lead at the break.

The Lions had a chance to get within single digits late in the third quarter, but Kobe Hudson blocked a shot right before the buzzer, and the Tigers maintained their 43-32 lead.

The Lions got within 10 in the fourth quarter, but Jefferson scored six of his team’s next points as the Tigers went up 55-40 with 3:30 to play.

Troup had a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Jefferson scored 10 of Troup’s 17 points in the fourth quarter, although his main concern was the game’s outcome, not individual numbers.

“I don’t focus on points,” Jefferson said. “They’ll come. I want to win more than I want to score.”

Troup will wrap up the first half of its region schedule with a home game against Cartersville today.

Cartersville is the region front-runner with a 5-0 record, so Troup could get within one game of first place with a win.

“We’re starting to play better basketball,” Craft said. “Now we’ve got a big one Tuesday night. They’ve got to come here.”