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Lady Tigers drop a close one

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

The new-look Troup Lady Tigers hung tough with a formidable Greenville squad on Wednesday night, only to fall two points short.

Troup had the ball at the end with a chance to tie it or win it with a 3-pointer, but the last-second shot attempt didn’t connect, and Greenville escaped with a 53-51 victory.

The Lady Tigers fell to 0-2, but they have been right there at the end of both games with a chance to win.

It’s a team that features four freshmen who get significant playing time, including Aniya Palmer, who scored 16 points on Wednesday.

One of the team’s few veterans, Amber Gilbert, led Troup with 21 points, with 14 of those points coming in the final quarter.

“I’m proud of them,” said Carla Thornton, Troup’s head coach. “We’ve had an opportunity to beat both teams. Sometimes the inexperience, the youth shows. But I’m excited for the reason of the season. They’ve shown they can compete.”

Wednesday’s game was close throughout.

Troup led 10-8 after the opening quarter, and it was tied 23-23 at the half.

It remained tight in the second half, with Greenville hitting a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to deadlock the score at 34-34.

The story was much the same in the fourth quarter, with neither team leading by more than four points.

Greenville went up 51-47 on a three-point play by Amanda Ogletree with less than a minute to play, and Gilbert knocked down a pair of free throws to get Troup within two with 25 seconds left.

Gilbert made two more free throws with 11 seconds remaining, and Greenville’s lead was down to one.

Adrianna Perdue made one free throw with seven seconds left, and Troup took possession trailing by two points.

Troup missed a shot at the buzzer, and Greenville escaped with the win.

The Lady Tigers stayed in the game in the fourth quarter due in large part to the effort of Gilbert, who scored 14 points in the final eight minutes.

Gilbert made four shots from the field in the fourth quarter, and she was perfect on six free-throw attempts.

“Amber provided some great leadership down the stretch,” Thornton said. “I had to tell her a couple of times she doesn’t have to do it all by herself. She has to trust (her teammates).”

The season is still in its infancy, and Thornton is confident the wins will start coming.

“That’s what I told them in the game. Keep going. You have to trust me,” Thornton said. “It’s all going to come together. It’s only game two of the season. We’ve got a long way to go.”

Troup has road games against McIntosh on Friday and Valley on Saturday.