Strong second half powers Troup
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
With junior standout Amber Gilbert leading the way, the Troup Lady Tigers overcame a sluggish start to beat visiting Callaway 46-36 on Saturday afternoon.
Gilbert didn’t start the game because she was under the weather, but when she made her way onto the court, she made her presence felt.
Gilbert scored 26 points, and she was 14-of-15 from the free-throw line.
Gilbert actually made all 15 of her free-throw attempts, but one of the makes counted as a miss because a Troup player entered the lane early which was a violation.
“I was real proud of her, because she’s sick,” Troup head coach Carla Thornton said. “She’s had flu-like symptoms, so that’s why she didn’t start.”
Callaway held a four-point lead at the half, but Troup dominated the second half to win its third consecutive game and improve to 3-3.
Gilbert didn’t score in the first quarter while she rested, and she scored all eight of her team’s points in the second period.
After a seven-point third quarter, Gilbert scored 11 points in the final quarter, with each of those points coming from the free-throw line.
Another standout for Troup was freshman Samarria Weldon, who scored six points, all in the second half.
“I was happy to see another one of my freshmen step up and have a good game,” Thornton said. “I’m real proud of her. I’ve been staying on her pretty hard.”
Jada Green also had six points.
Callaway (0-5), which is still looking for its first win, was led by freshman Gabrielle Johnson, who scored 14 points, and senior Kierra Jackson added 11 points.
While the Lady Cavaliers are winless, head coach Deyano Martin isn’t discouraged considering how challenging the schedule has been.
Last season, Callaway won its season opener before losing six in a row.
Callaway overcame that slow start to finish second in Region 5-AA, and it won the first state-tournament game in the history of the program.
“I made the schedule top-heavy. We’re playing some tough competition,” Callaway head coach Deyano Martin said. “I told them I make the schedule this way. We may struggle, but we’ll get better. We just have to keep working hard.
With Jackson scoring eight points, Callaway led 20-16 at the half.
Thornton felt her team’s effort could have been better in the first half.
“They were playing hard,” Thornton said. “That’s what I told the girls. They were out-hustling us. And sometimes heart will lead you to a win.”
Callaway still led by four in the third quarter when Troup went on a 9-0 run to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The Lady Tigers trailed by two when Gilbert was fouled while scoring, and she made the free-throw attempt to give her team a 25-24 lead.
By the end of the third quarter, Troup led 31-26.
Troup maintained control in the fourth quarter, going up by as many as 12 points on the way to the rivalry win.