LaGrange rallies past Callaway
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They were reeling.
The LaGrange Lady Grangers were facing an eight-point deficit late in the third quarter of Saturday’s road showdown against the rival Callaway Lady Cavaliers.
There was no panic, though.
LaGrange fought back and got within three by the end of the third quarter, and it dominated the final period to secure a 47-40 victory.
LaGrange lost its two leading scorers from the 2017-2018 team that went unbeaten in the region during the regular season.
Despite that, LaGrange is off to a strong start with a 4-1 record, and it bounced back from its first loss of the season to Harris County by getting the road win at Callaway.
“We weren’t supposed to be at this point, this quick,” LaGrange head coach Stephen Tuck said. “I was hoping to be here by region time. Being here now, it’s great. We just have to keep working on the little things, work on the extra stuff, and just ensure that we work well together.”
While LaGrange started its season two weeks ago, Callaway didn’t kick things off until Friday at Newnan.
Callaway lost to Newnan 58-29, but Saturday’s game was much more competitive, and head coach Deyano Martin was pleased with the improvement.
“I’m so proud to see the girls go out and there and execute,” Martin said. “I was elated about it. It’s about the best you can feel in a loss.”
Zaria Russell, who is having a terrific senior season, made four 3-pointers and led LaGrange with 20 points Blair Herrod also knocked down four 3-pointers and poured in 15 points.
Kierra Jackson led a balanced Callaway scoring effort with nine points.
Gabrielle Johnson and Niakoe Burks had eight points apiece.
The Lady Cavaliers were in a 7-2 hole early in Saturday’s game, but they found their footing and trailed 10-7 at the close of the first quarter.
It was tight in the second quarter, and Jasmine Dukes made a pair of free throws late in the half to give Callaway a 19-18 lead at the break.
The Lady Cavaliers carried that momentum into the second half
When Johnson scored with 51 seconds left in the third quarter, the Lady Grangers were in a 31-23 hole.
LaGrange closed the third quarter on a 7-2 run, though, to get within three heading into the final quarter.
Herrod was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with less than a second left in the third quarter, and she made three free throws to cut Callaway’s lead to 33-30.
Tuck felt the stretch at the end of the third quarter was critical for his team’s mindset.
“They came to the bench, and all of the sudden their looks had changed,” Tuck said. “I told them, y’all have missed 11 free throws, y’all have committed a bunch of turnovers, and y’all are down three.”
Chaquave’ayr Robinson’s steal and layup moments into the fourth quarter got the Lady Grangers within one, and they took the lead on a Herrod 3-pointer.
Russell knocked down a shot from long distance with 5:10 remaining to give LaGrange a 40-35 lead.
Callaway came no closer than four points the rest of the way.
“We had about a 2 ½-minute stretch where we gave up some quick hitters, gave up a few easy plays,” Martin said. “And give them credit, they got the lead, and they never let it go.”
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