Strong defense lifts Troup
Published 12:16 am Saturday, January 12, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Troup Tigers used a lock-down defensive performance and a balanced scoring attack to upend the rival LaGrange Grangers.
Before a standing-room only crowd in LaGrange High’s gym on Friday night, Troup secured a 52-43 victory to get its second Region 5-AAAA road win of the season.
Troup (10-5 overall) improved to 2-1 in the region, while LaGrange (10-7 overall) fell to 2-2 against region foes.
“We didn’t play very well offensively, and their zone gave us a little trouble,” Troup head coach Blake Craft said. “You’ve got to tip your hat to them.”
Fortunately for the Tigers, they still won comfortably thanks to their defensive effort.
“When you sit down and play man defense like that, it’s going to be hard to score,” Craft said.
The Grangers were held to single digits in two of the four quarters, and it was their second-lowest offensive output of the season.
“As a whole, we defended well. We had a few mishaps here and there,” LaGrange head coach Mark Veal said. “We didn’t take very good shots tonight, and weren’t very patient. That’s it, plain and simple.”
Gabe Cofield led the Tigers in scoring with 13 points, with six of those points coming in the fourth quarter.
Ja’Rell Smith made a pair of 3-pointers and scored eight points, and Joko Willis also had eight points.
Andy Boykin chipped in with seven points and did some strong work in the paint.
As has been the case throughout the season, Craft substituted liberally throughout the game, with 12 different players making an appearance on the court, and eight of them scored.
“We’re going to play 11, 12. It’s the next guy up, and that’s what we want,” Craft said. “That’s what they’re buying into more and more. It’s the next guy up.”
Jordan Ogletree led LaGrange with 15 points, and Vondez Taylor scored 11 points.
In a back-and-forth first quarter, the Tigers took a 16-14 lead when Brandon Smith knocked down a shot at the buzzer.
In the second quarter, Ja’Rell Smith drained a pair of 3-pointers, and Brandon Smith also made one from long distance as Troup grabbed a 29-23 halftime lead.
The Grangers got as close as four a few times in the third quarter, but they were down 39-31 as the final quarter began.
After falling behind by 10, the Grangers got within six when Jakobe Jones made a pair of free throws with 2:34 to play.
That’s as close as the Grangers got.
Cofield scored on back-to-back possession to give the Tigers a 50-40 lead with 1:18 to play, and the Grangers were held to two points the rest of the way.