Overtime success for LaGrange
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They finished in style.
The LaGrange Lady Grangers missed out on a chance to win at the end of regulation when they turned the ball over, but they dominated the four-minute overtime period to beat Cartersville 50-44 on Friday night in a Region 5-AAAA showdown.
It was an important win for the Lady Grangers as they look to improve their position heading into the region tournament in two weeks.
With three regular-season games remaining, the Lady Grangers (11-11 overall) are 3-6 in the region.
LaGrange has won three of its past four region games after a slow start.
“We did what we did in the beginning (of the region schedule), so all we can do is handle what we have now, and continue to fight, and continue to play basketball,” LaGrange head coach Stephen Tuck said.
LaGrange showed plenty of fight in Friday’s games.
After the disappointing way regulation ended, LaGrange quickly turned the page and outscored Cartersville 6-0 in overtime.
“I thought one of the things we did today was when something happened, we went to the next play,” Tuck said. “If something bad happens in basketball, you can’t hold your head down, or allow that one bad play to turn into another, and then turn into a domino effect. I thought today we did an excellent job of doing that.”
Zaria Russell, who has enjoyed a big senior season, led LaGrange with 15 points, and she made three 3-pointers.
Chaquave’ayr Robinson added 14 points, including four in overtime, and Blair Herrod scored nine points, all in the second half.
Leading 21-18 at the half, LaGrange went up by six when Russell drained a 3-pointer moments into the third quarter.
Russell knocked down another 3-pointer with 4:50 left in the third quarter, and LaGrange’s lead was 31-22.
Cartersville didn’t go away, though.
Cartersville closed the third quarter on an 11-5 run, cutting LaGrange’s lead to 36-33 heading to the final quarter.
Cartersville continued its surge in the fourth quarter, and it came all the way back to take a 43-41 lead on a pair of Amya Davis free throws with 1:23 to play.
Herrod answered for LaGrange.
The senior guard drove to the basket and was fouled while scoring, and she made the free throw to give LaGrange a 44-43 lead with 1:05 to play.
With 13 seconds left, Cartersville’s Lehla Thomas made a free throw to tie it.
LaGrange was unable to get a potential go-ahead basket away thanks to a turnover, and Cedartown barely missed a desperation shot from well beyond half-court at the buzzer.
LaGrange won the overtime tip-off, and Herrod beat the Cedartown defense to the basket, and her layup gave the home team a 46-44 lead.
Turns out, those were the only two points LaGrange needed in overtime as Cedartown was held scoreless.
Herrod said the Lady Grangers were at their best when they pushed the pace, which they did in overtime.
“In practice, we have some drills we do where you have get a bucket, get a stop, and get another bucket,” Herrod said. “It keeps you going fast. We play better when we play fast than when we play slow.”
LaGrange will visit Troup today before closing the regular season with home games against Sandy Creek and Chapel Hill next week.