Thrilling win for Troup
By KEVIN ECKLEBRERRY
There was no hesitation.
After a Newnan player missed a free throw, Troup freshman Aniya Palmer came down with the ball with eight seconds remaining and her team trailing by a point.
Palmer took off down the court, and she sprinted past a handful of Newnan teammates and made the game-winning layup as time expired, giving Troup a thrilling 38-37 win.
That was part of a big night for Palmer, who scored 22 points to help Troup (4-3) win its fourth straight game after opening the season with three close losses.
Troup was down by one when it fouled a Newnan player with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Whatever happened, Thornton was going to let the game play out without calling a timeout.
“I was yelling as she was shooting, it’s one-and-one, get the rebound,” Troup head coach Carla Thornton said. “There was eight seconds left. That’s plenty of time to drive the floor and get a layup. I think one game I might have over-coached and called a timeout in that situation. We went down and made a bad pass. So I had to trust my instincts and let it play out.”
That decision paid dividends.
Palmer went skyward to snare the rebound, and she landed and went coast-to-coast for the biggest bucket of her young high-school career.
“Really, I was thinking about passing the ball,” Palmer said. “I was trying to get the ball out of my hands, but everybody was saying go, go, go.”
Palmer didn’t have any points in the first quarter, but she scored all nine of her team’s points in the second period to give Troup a 14-9 lead at the break.
Palmer added seven more points in the third quarter, and she scored six points in the fourth quarter.
Palmer didn’t practice on Monday because of an illness, but she was ready to roll come game time.
Amber Gilbert scored 26 points in Saturday’s win over Callaway, which came one day after she missed a practice because she was sick.
“She didn’t practice yesterday. She was sick. Amber gave her what she had,” Thornton said. “So maybe it’s good for my players to miss practice the day before the game.”
Palmer had struggled a bit in the previous few games, so Thornton was glad to see her have a break-out night.
“I was happy for her. She’s been down the last few games,” Thornton said. “The girls have been real supportive of her.”
Both teams were struggling to find an offensive rhythm early, and Newnan led 8-5 after the first quarter.
With Palmer leading the way, Troup outscored Newnan 9-1 in the second quarter to take a 14-9 lead at the break.
Newnan rallied to lead by as many as four points in the third quarter, but it was tied 23-23 as the final period began.
Samarria Weldon made back-to-back baskets to give Troup a 33-28 lead with 3:50 to play, but Newnan went on a 9-3 run to go up by one, setting up the dramatic final moments.
Gilbert added seven points for Troup, and Weldon added six points, all in the third quarter.
Freshman Moniya Murphy didn’t score, but Thornton felt she made a valuable contribution.
“She didn’t play much the second half, but in the first half the rebounds she got were big,” Thornton said.
Troup will carry its four-game winning streak into a holiday tournament in Carrollton.
Troup will open tournament play against Harris on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Carrollton High.
BOYS GAME: The Troup Tigers took a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter, but Newnan rallied to tie it before winning 64-58 in overtime.
The Tigers have struggled a bit in the fourth quarter of previous games, but they’ve found ways to win.
On Tuesday, the Tigers (6-2) were unable to overcome a difficult fourth quarter, and they saw their six-game winning streak come to a close with the tough home loss.
“We just have to learn not to take our foot off the gas,” Troup head coach Blake Craft said. “Take smart shots, but keep playing our game. Keep playing. That’s something we can work on.”
Senior JaQuavo McFarland led the Tigers with 17 points, Gabe Cofield made a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10 points, and Kobe Hudson and Isaiah Cox had seven points apiece.
Eleven Troup players appeared in the game, and each of them scored.
Troup led 12-7 after the first quarter, and 24-20 at the half.
McFarland caught fire and scored 10 points in the third quarter, and the Tigers outscored the Cougars 24-16 to take a 48-36 lead into the final period.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Cougars, who outscored the Tigers 18-6 to tie it at 54-54.
Newnan had the ball at the close of regulation with a chance to win it, but Troup made a defensive stop to keep the game alive.
Newnan outscored Troup 10-4 in overtime to secure the win.
Troup will look to begin a new winning streak when it takes on Gainesville at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at Carrollton High.