State time for basketball teams
It’s game day.
The GHSA state basketball tournament gets started today, and four local teams will be on the court as they look to keep their seasons alive.
While the girls’ teams from Callaway and LaGrange will be at home, both Troup teams will be on the road for the first round of the state tournament.
The LaGrange Grangers will play their state opener on Saturday.
Here’s a look at each of the first-round games:
TROUP VS. PICKENS COUNTY
The Troup Lady Tigers (13-9) are riding high into the state tournament.
With its win over Central-Carroll in the third-place game in the Region 5-AAAA tournament, Troup has won five of its past six games.
The only loss during that stretch came in the region-tournament semifinals when Troup lost to Sandy Creek 46-44.
Troup followed that up with a 47-31 victory over Central-Carroll to secure the region’s number three seed.
Troup is led by seniors Jedda Madden, Kiya Fulton, Valerie Smith and Aundracia Riggins, as well as standout sophomore post player Amber Gilbert.
Madden, Fulton and Gilbert were all named to the all-region team.
Pickens County (21-6) finished second in the Region 6-AAAA to earn the right to host a state-tournament game.
TROUP VS. NORTHWEST WHITFIELD
The Tigers are assured of their first winning record in more than five years, and now they’ll look to give the program its first state-tournament win in a while.
Troup, after finishing third in Region 5-AAAA, will be on the road against Northwest Whitfield, the number two team from Region 6-AAAA.
Troup is led by senior Jarrious Jefferson, a senior guard who was named the region’s player of the year.
Jefferson is averaging well over 20 points per game, and he has scored more than 30 points on a handful of occasions.
A strength of Troup’s team is its inside game, with Montez Crowe, King Mwikuta and Andy Boykin making life difficult on opposing teams.
Northwest Whitifield (19-9) finished second to Lafayette in Region 6-AAAA.
CALLAWAY VS. SOUTH ATLANTA
After finishing second in Region 5-AA, the Callaway Lady Cavaliers will try to keep their season alive with a win over South Atlanta, the number three team from Region 6-AA.
Callaway is led by post player Chyna Cameron, who has had a phenomenal senior season, and she has been at her best during the stretch run.
In a big win over Temple late in the season that helped wrap up the number two spot in the region, Cameron had 20 points and nine rebounds.
In the regular-season finale, Cameron had 17 points in an overtime win over Spencer.
Kierra Jackson also gets it done at the post position.
Sophomore Leijorey Sanders has done a terrific job at the point-guard position, and Qua Beasley and Jasmine Dukes have also been standouts at the guard position.
Haley Holliday is a versatile player who can knock down 3-pointers or mix it up inside.
South Atlanta has won five of its past six games.
LAGRANGE VS. HERITAGE
The Lady Grangers will look to begin a new winning streak tonight.
LaGrange saw its 13-game winning streak end with a loss to Sandy Creek in the Region 5-AAAA championship.
LaGrange will try to get back on the winning track when it hosts Heritage, the number three team from Region 6-AAAA, in the opening round of the state tournament today.
LaGrange (18-9) went 12-0 in the regular season against region foes, and it beat Central-Carroll in the first round of the region tournament before losing to Sandy Creek.
LaGrange is led by senior guards Aryan Dozier and Chnaireia Strozier, who combine to average more than 30 points per game.
Both players made the all-region team, and Dozier was the region’s player of the year.
There is plenty of depth beyond those two, with junior guard Blair Herrod capable of getting hot from the outside.
Senior Shaq Sutton doesn’t score much, but she does a great job of getting rebounds and playing defense, and Katelyn Hill has been an explosive scorer at times.
Kamelah Kelley, Madison Coverson, Chaquave’ayr Robinson have been other standout players for LaGrange.
Heritage (19-9) was the third-place team in Region 6-AAAA during the regular season, and that is where it finished in the region tournament.
LAGRANGE VS. LAFAYETTE
There will be one Saturday game involving a local team, and it will pit the LaGrange Grangers against Lafayette.
Lafayette won the Region 6-AAAA championship, while LaGrange placed fourth in Region 5-AAAA after losing to Troup in the third-place game.
LaGrange had won four consecutive games before falling to Cartersville and Troup in the region tournament, and it will look to find the winning formula on Saturday.
The Grangers have been an explosive offensive team at times with seniors Bo Russell and Daz Williams leading the way.
Russell is LaGrange’s leading scorer, and he had a 38-point outburst against Cartersville, while Williams is an outstanding 3-point shooter.
Jordan Ogletree has emerged to become LaGrange’s go-to post player, and seniors Jalen Watson, Covan Huzzie and Jay Benton have all had productive seasons.
Junior Vondez Taylor has also been a major contributor.
Lafayette (23-2) beat Northwest Whitfield 74-58 to win its first region championship in nearly three decades.