State time arrives for local teams
Published 3:48 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s do-or-die time.
The basketball teams from Callaway, LaGrange and Troup held their first practices more than three months ago in preparation for a new season.
Now, those teams either win, or their seasons are over.
The boys’ and girls’ teams from LaGrange and Troup have all qualified for the state tournament, as did the girls’ team from Callaway.
The Callaway Cavaliers fell short in the first round of their region tournament, and they didn’t make it to state.
Two teams, the Callaway Lady Cavaliers and LaGrange Lady Grangers, will be at home for their state openers.
Callaway, which lost to Lamar County in the Region 5-AA-championship game last week, will host South Atlanta on Friday at 6 p.m.
South Atlanta is the number three seed from Region 6-AA.
The Lady Cavaliers were disappointed to fall short in the region-title game, but they’ll have a chance to make history on Friday by winning the program’s first-ever state game.
“All in all, we’ve still got a game to play (this week), and we’ll still be at home,” Callaway head coach Deyano Martin said. “You’ve got to move on.”
The game with Lamar County was tied at the half, but Callaway ended up falling 52-46.
“It would have been nice to win it, but you’ve got to learn something from it,” Martin said. “You’ve got move on.”
LaGrange’s girls’ team also heads to state after falling short in its region-championship game.
LaGrange won its first 13 Region 5-AAAA games this season, but it lost to Sandy Creek 44-38 on Saturday.
Senior guards Aryan Dozier and Chnaireia Strozier were both in foul trouble throughout the game, and Strozier fouled out with more than five minutes to play.
LaGrange had beaten Sandy Creek twice during the regular season, but it was unable to make it three in a row.
“They did a great job of being prepared,” LaGrange head coach Stephen Tuck said of Sandy Creek.
On Friday at 6 p.m., LaGrange will host Heritage-Catoosa, the number three seed from Region 6-AAAA, and Tuck is hoping his team can begin a new winning streak.
“It’s key to remember, last year in AAAA, Carver-Columbus beat Columbus in the region tournament and then Columbus ended up winning the state championship,” Tuck said. “So you just want to keep that in mind, and hopefully understand that we’ve got a lot of basketball left to play.”
The Troup Lady Tigers head into the state tournament on a winning note.
After a hard-fought 46-44 loss to Sandy Creek in the semifinals of the Region 5-AAAA tournament, Troup beat Central-Carroll 47-31 to secure the number three seed.
Troup hasn’t won a state-tournament game since it reached the quarterfinals in 2012, and it will look for a break-through victory on Friday when it visits Pickens County at 7 p.m. Pickens County is the number two seed from Region 6-AAAA.
The boys’ teams from LaGrange and Troup will both be on the road for their first-round games.
LaGrange has won at least one state game in each of the past three seasons, and if it wants to keep that streak alive it will have to knock off a number one seed.
LaGrange, which finished fourth in Region 5-AAAA, will visit Lafayette High on Saturday for a 6 p.m. game.
Lafayette won the Region 6-AAAA championship.
Troup earned the number three seed in Region 5-AAAA by beating LaGrange 62-50 on Saturday in the third-place game.
Troup will visit Northwest Whitfield, the number two team from Region 6-AAAA, on Friday at 7:30 p.m.