Grangers’ comeback falls short
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It was a stirring comeback effort by the LaGrange Grangers.
Trailing by 20 points midway through the third quarter, the Grangers fought their way back and got as close as four points, but it was the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes hanging on for a 74-70 victory in a Region 5-AAAA thriller on Friday night.
The Grangers scored 50 points in the second half to make things interesting, but they were unable to completely close the gap.
LaGrange will try to pick up where it left off when it visits cross-town rival Troup today, with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.
The Grangers (11-11 overall) are 3-6 in Region 5-AAAA, and they have three games remaining as they look to improve their position heading into the region tournament.
“Hopefully we can play with that intensity night in and night out,” LaGrange head coach Mark Veal said. “And hopefully we can find a way to be more consistent.”
The comeback was led by a pair of juniors who combined for 28 points in the second half.
Nafis Carston and Kindae Maddox each had 14 points, and they did all of their scoring in the second half.
Carston delivered one of the night’s top highlights with a break-away dunk midway through the fourth quarter that got the Grangers within four.
Maddox did his damage from the outside with four 3-pointers, and he also made a pair of free throws.
Vondez Taylor led the Grangers with 16 points, and he made two 3-pointers and was 12-of-15 from the free-throw line.
Jordan Ogletree added nine points.
Cartersville’s Perignon Dyer led his team with 30 points, and he was 8-of-9 from the free-throw line.
The first half was a rocky one for the Grangers.
The Grangers were down 19-14 after the first quarter, and they trailed 36-21 at the half after managing just seven points in the second quarter.
When Micah Tart hit a 3-pointer with four minutes left in the third quarter, Cartersville’s lead was 47-27, and LaGrange was in trouble.
Beginning with a pair of Taylor free throws with 3:32 left in the third quarter, though, the Grangers were off and running.
LaGrange closed the third quarter on a 19-5 run, cutting Cartersville’s lead to 52-46 heading to the final period.
Maddox connected for a pair of 3-pointers during the third-quarter run, including one with 23 seconds left in the quarter to get the Grangers within six points.
Taylor also helped spark the third-quarter charge with nine points, and he made all six of his free-throw attempts.
The Grangers continued to hang around in the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to the effort of Carston, who exploded for 12 points in the final eight minutes.
It was Carston’s dunk at the halfway point of the quarter that got the Grangers within four, and that’s as close as they’d been since the early portions of the game.
The Grangers were unable to get any closer than four points, though.
The Purple Hurricanes didn’t pull away, but they kept the Grangers at bay by making 11-of-13 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
Maddox made his fourth and final 3-pointer with nine seconds left to get the Grangers within four, and the Purple Hurricanes were able to avoid being fouled and they ran out the clock.
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