Troup teams fighting for second
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’ll be home-cookin’ the rest of the way.
Troup’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, who are in a dogfight for the number two spot in Region 5-AAAA, have four regular-season games remaining, and they’re all at home.
That’s good news for the Tigers and Lady Tigers, who are both hoping to secure the region’s all-important number two spot for the region tournament.
The region’s top two seeds in the region tournament will receive a first-round bye, so those teams won’t have to play until the semifinals.
That also means the top two seeds, regardless of how they do in the region tournament, will be guaranteed a spot at state.
The teams that finish third or lower will have to win at least one region-tournament game to reach the semifinals and make it to state.
Both Troup teams are in position to nail down the number two spot, although there’s a lot of work to do.
Sandy Creek’s boys’ and girls’
teams are both unbeaten in the region and closing in on the number one seed.
It’s a shootout for that number two position.
On the boys’ side of the region, five teams are within two games of each other, including Troup and LaGrange.
Sandy Creek is tops in the region at 7-0, and Cartersville (5-3), Troup (4-4), Chapel Hill (3-4), LaGrange (3-5) and Cedartown (3-5) are duking it out for second.
Even Central-Carroll (2-6), which is in last place in the region, still has an outside shot of finishing second.
Troup has dropped three of its past four games, but they were all on the road. Troup has been terrific at home, with its only loss coming to Sandy Creek, and that was a competitive game.
If the Tigers win out, they would most likely nail down the region’s number two position.
“If we hold serve the next four games, we’re sitting in a great spot,” Troup head coach Blake Craft said.
In Troup’s most recent home game against Chapel Hill, senior JaQuavo McFarland continued his hot play by scoring 22 points, all in the second half.
That concluded a three-game stretch where McFarland scored a combined 74 points.
LaGrange had a chance to make up some ground on Tuesday, but it lost to Cedartown 57-52 in overtime.
A win would have put the Grangers within one game of second place, but they still have time to climb the ladder.
LaGrange won its first two region games, but it has lost five of six since then.
LaGrange’s lone win during that stretch came on Saturday when it beat Central-Carroll 53-39.
Senior Jordan Ogletree led LaGrange with 21points in that game, and he scored 19 points in Tuesday’s game.
The Grangers will play three of their final four regular-season games at home as they look to make up some ground.
“We get to play at home, and hopefully that’ll help us,” LaGrange head coach Mark Veal said.
On the girls’ side, Sandy Creek leads the way at 7-0, and Cedartown (6-2), Troup (5-3) and Central-Carroll (4-4) are contending for the second spot.
Cartersville (2-6), LaGrange (2-6) and Chapel Hill (1-6) are hoping to improve their position as the regular season winds down.
Troup is looking to get things turned around after dropping back-to-back games to Chapel Hill and Sandy Creek.
Before those losses, the Lady Tigers had won eight of nine games.
Win or lose, one thing Troup has been able to depend on is junior forward Amber Gilbert, who is having a phenomenal season.
Gilbert continued to lead the way in Tuesday’s loss at Sandy Creek with 21 points, and she continued to knock down a high percentage of free throws by making 9-of-11 attempts.
Freshmen Aniya Palmer and Samarria Weldon have also done a stellar job for Troup, and sophomore Jada Green has excelled at point guard.
LaGrange’s girls’ team had won two consecutive region games before losing a 49-45 overtime heartbreaker to Cedartown on Tuesday.
The good news for the Lady Grangers is that an offense that struggled mightily during a seven-game losing streak has found its footing.
Senior Zaria Russell is leading the way.
After scoring 16 points in Saturday’s win over Central-Carroll, Russel scored 22 points in Tuesday’s loss to Cedartown.
LaGrange head coach Stephen Tuck said “they’re finally starting to see exactly what we’re trying to tell them. We talked about it in practice a lot, just execute the right play. If it’s not there, pull it out, take a breath and run what you’re supposed to run.”
Overall record first, followed by region record:
Sandy Creek 16-4, 7-0
Cedartown 13-5, 6-2
Troup 12-7, 5-3
Central 14-5, 4-4
Cartersville 10-10, 2-6
LaGrange 10-11, 2-6
Chapel Hill 7-12, 1-6
Sandy Creek 17-3, 7-0
Cartersville 11-10, 5-3
Troup 12-8, 4-4
Chapel Hill 10-8, 3-4
LaGrange 11-10, 3-5
Cedartown 9-11, 3-5
Central 7-14, 2-6