Troup gets best of rival LaGrange

Published 12:11 am Saturday, January 27, 2018

By Kevin Eckleberry

It was Troup’s night.

Earlier this season, Troup had a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter against LaGrange, but it ended up losing 64-63.

Those two teams tangled again on Friday, and once again Troup found itself with a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter, this time in its own gym.

There was no late-game rally by LaGrange this time around, though.

Troup led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter, and it went on to capture a 64-48 victory to beat its cross-town rival for the first time since the 2011-2012 season.

Troup is now alone in third place in Region 5-AAAA with a 5-3 record, while LaGrange fell to 5-4.

“Last time we had them up 16, and we made a lot of mistakes,” said Jarrious Jefferson, Troup’s outstanding senior guard. “We corrected those, and we won. We just corrected our mistakes, and it showed on the court.”

Montez Crowe paced the Tigers with 21 points, and the senior post player had 11 of those points in the fourth quarter.

Jefferson added 15 points, Kobe Hudson scored 10 points, and Tristen Ware had eight points, and he had a pair of offensive rebounds early in the fourth quarter that helped Troup take control after LaGrange had made a run at the end of the third period to get within 11.

Bo Russell led LaGrange with 13 points, Jay Benton had nine points, and Daz Williams scored eight points.

In the first meeting, Russell and Williams combined for 41 points, and they had 20 fewer points than that in the rematch.

“Defensively, they locked in,” Troup head coach Blake Craft said. “They locked in in practice.

“That’s what I said at the beginning, it’s about how you practice.”

It was a tough night for LaGrange, which struggled to makes shots from the field, and the free-throw line.

“We were 7-of-20 from the foul line, and we didn’t rebound well and we didn’t shoot well,” LaGrange head coach Mark Veal said. “Generally we shoot free throws better, and we only hit three threes tonight. Usually we hit eight to 10.”

While it was a tough night, LaGrange’s long-term goals remain in place.

“Our goal is to advance in region and state,” Veal said. “We won at our place, lost here, and we may see them again.”

As for Troup, as satisfying as Friday’s win was, Craft believes the best is yet to come.

“We’re getting better, and that’s what’s scary,” Craft said. “We still haven’t played our best game.”

Troup led 40-22 in the third quarter when LaGrange made a move.

The Grangers finished the quarter on a 10-3 run, cutting their deficit to 43-32 heading to the final period.

LaGrange got as close as 10 with 6:55 to play on a steal and layup by Jay Benton before Troup regained control.

Ware pulled down an offensive rebound and scored to give Troup a 12-point lead.

Moments later, Ware made a nice pass to Crowe for a basket, and the Tigers led 49-35.

The Tigers continued to pull away, and Jefferson’s break-away dunk with 3:38 to play made it a 55-36 game.

Troup led by at least 16 points the rest of the way.

Jefferson, Crowe and Ware, three of Troup’s senior leaders, scored all of Troup’s points in the fourth quarter.

“I thought down the stretch, the seniors stepped up, and that’s what we wanted,” Craft said.

Troup started quickly, surging to a 9-2 lead, and it led 13-7 after the opening quarter.

The Grangers got within three with five minutes to play in the second quarter on a basket by Jalen Watson, but Troup finished the half on a 13-4 run to take a 31-17 lead.

Crowe hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to send the Tigers to the locker room with momentum.

The Tigers continued to surge in the third quarter, going up by as many as 18 points before the Grangers made the late run to get within 11.

LaGrange will be on the road against Sandy Creek today, while Troup will visit Cedartown.

OF NOTE: For more photos from the girls’ and boys’ games, check out