Rivals set for showdown
Published 1:50 am Friday, January 11, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The gym will be rocking.
It’s always a packed house when the LaGrange and Troup basketball teams get together, and today shouldn’t be an exception.
LaGrange will serve as the host site, with the girls’ game tipping off at 6 p.m., and the boys’ game to follow.
County bragging rights will be on the line, as will position in the Region 5-AAAA standings.
In the boys’ game, two teams that have been playing well will face off.
LaGrange (10-6 overall, 2-1 in region play) saw its seven-game winning streak come to a close with Tuesday’s road loss to Cartersville.
It’s a team with a mixture of veterans, including seniors Jordan Ogletree, Vondez Taylor and Marquis Cox, as well as some players who are getting their first taste of varsity basketball.
Among the newcomers is freshman Jakobe Jones who has taken over as the starting point guard, as well as sophomore DJ Burks, who has been a consistent scorer.
Troup (9-5 overall, 1-1 in region play) had a six-game winning streak earlier in the season, and it had won three in a row before losing to Sandy Creek on Saturday.
A key to Troup’s success has been the ability of coach Blake Craft to use so many players in an effective fashion.
It’s not unusual for more than 10 Troup players to score in a game, and that includes senior JaQuavo McFarland, the team’s leading scorer.
McFarland had 15 points against Sandy Creek, and Kobe Hudson stepped up and scored 12 points, with 10 of those points coming in the second half as Troup made a run and got as close as six in the fourth quarter.
In the girls’ game, LaGrange (8-8 overall) will look to get things turned around after dropping five consecutive games, including all three of its region games.
LaGrange’s leading scorer is senior Zaria Russell, who is averaging more than 12 points per game. A handful of other players have contributed offensively as well, including senior Katelyn Hill, who made five 3-pointers and scored 19 points in Saturday’s loss to Cedartown.
Troup (8-5 overall, 1-1 in region play) has been red hot since starting the season with three close losses.
Troup has won eight of its past 10 games, and the two losses came to a Harrison team that has played for two consecutive state championships, and a Sandy Creek squad that has won back-to-back Region 5-AAAA tournament titles.
Junior Amber Gilbert is having a big season for the Lady Tigers and leads the team in scoring, and freshman Aniya Palmer has stepped up and given the team a lift.
In a home win over Newnan, Palmer scored 22 points and made the game-winning shot as time expired.
The Troup and LaGrange teams will be back in action on Saturday with region road games against Cedartown and Sandy Creek, respectively.