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Lady Tigers get rivalry win

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It was all Troup.

The Troup Lady Tigers used a suffocating defensive effort to surge past the home-standing LaGrange Lady Grangers 52-22 before a packed house on Friday night.

Troup (9-5 overall) stayed hot, winning for the ninth time in 11 games while improving to 2-1 in Region 5-AAAA.

Carla Thornton, Troup’s head coach, was happy with the defensive effort.

“I love defense,” Thornton said. “You’ve got to play defense if you want to play for me. It starts on defense. If you want to get some more shots for everybody, you’ve got to play defense. And I think you saw that.”

LaGrange (8-9 overall) is looking for answers after dropping its sixth consecutive game to fall to 0-4 in the region.

LaGrange was competitive in its first three region games, but it fell behind big early on Friday and was unable to recover.

“Honestly, other than today, the other three games we could easily have won, with a play here or there,” LaGrange head coach Stephen Tuck said. “Today, they just dominated us in every aspect. We’ll play these teams again, and everybody makes the region tournament. As long as you get hot at the right time, that’s what matters.”

Freshman Aniya Palmer led Troup with 15 points, Amber Gilbert added 10 points, and Moniya Murphy and Samarria Weldon had seven points apiece.

Zaria Russell was LaGrange’s top scorer with seven points.

Palmer was held to four points in Troup’s previous game, a loss to Sandy Creek, but she bounced back in a big way against LaGrange.

“She got a little down on herself because she only had four points against Sandy Creek,” Thornton said. “But she played well on defense. That’s what we’ve talked about is being consistent on both sides of the ball, and playing the whole game. She’s starting to understand.”

In the first quarter, Darnesheyuna McCollough and Palmer combined for eight points as Troup grabbed a 14-7 lead.

Moments into the second period, Palmer came up with a steal, and she made a reverse layup on the other end to give the Lady Tigers a nine-point lead.

The Lady Tigers remained in control from there, and they were ahead 26-9 at the half.

Troup went more than three minutes at the start of the second half without scoring, but LaGrange was unable to make up any ground.

When Weldon converted a steal into a layup, Troup had 28-9 with 4:30 left in the third quarter.

“We got a little down in the third quarter, but they settled back down,” Thornton said.

Palmer drained a 3-pointer to give the Lady Tigers a 20-point lead with 3:50 left in the third quarter, and they were ahead 35-16 as the fourth quarter began.

Troup continued to pull away in the fourth quarter on the way to the 30-point win.

Both teams will be on the road today for region games. LaGrange visits Sandy Creek in a rematch of last year’s region-championship game, while Troup travels to Cedartown.