Championship feeling for Grangers
Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, January 1, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They’re flying high.
The LaGrange Grangers will embark on their all-important Region 5-AAAA schedule on a five-game winning streak, and three of those victories came during the LaGrange Toyota Basketball Classic.
LaGrange finished off its perfect stay in the tournament with a 68-53 victory over Harris County in Saturday’s championship game.
LaGrange (8-5 overall) will begin its region schedule on Friday at Central-Carroll before hosting Cedartown on Saturday.
“To be able to come in here and win three in a row is big,” said Mark Veal, LaGrange’s head coach. “Hopefully we’ll carry some momentum into region play Friday and Saturday.”
LaGrange and Harris County were playing for the second time this season.
In the first meeting, Harris County scored as time ran out in overtime to beat visiting LaGrange 50-48.
In the rematch, the Grangers surged to a 10-point lead less than five minutes into the game, and they remained in control the rest of the way.
Jordan Ogletree led LaGrange with 18 points, and freshman guard Jakobe Jones added 17 points while making three 3-pointers.
Vondez Taylor chipped in with nine points, and Marquis Cox scored eight points and provided some key defensive plays.
“One thing that goes unnoticed in the box score, Marquis Cox took three charges maybe, and Vondez took one,” Veal said. “Those charges are big. We work on that every day. That’s huge. It puts one of their guys in foul trouble. One of their key guys fouled out, and another was in foul trouble.”
LaGrange beat WD Mohammed 62-33 in its tournament opener before dispatching a strong Douglass team 47-43 in the second round to reach the title round.
DJ Burks hit a 3-pointer moments into the championship game to set the tone, and the Grangers never looked back.
“It’s been a long time since we won this tournament,” Ogletree said. “We’ve hosted this tournament for like 17 years, and we haven’t won in a while. It feels good.”
The Grangers went on a 10-0 run in the first quarter to build a 13-3 lead, and they were ahead 18-9 heading to the second period.
It was still a nine-point game when Jones scored five straight points to send the Grangers to the half with momentum.
Jones knocked down a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in the half to give the Grangers a 12-point cushion, and the freshman then converted a steal into a layup to send his team to the break with a 33-19 lead.
The Grangers led by as many as 20 points in the third quarter, and they were up 52-36 as the final quarter began.
The Tigers got as close as 12 points in the fourth quarter, but they were unable to get the deficit into single digits.