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Quick start powers Lady Tigers

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

They took care of business early.

The Troup Lady Tigers, looking to bolster their position as Region 5-AAAA’s number two team, surged to a big early lead and never looked back on the way to a 64-42 victory over the rival LaGrange Lady Grangers on Saturday night.

Troup (13-7 overall) remained in second place in the region with a 6-3 record, while LaGrange (11-12 overall) is 3-7 in the region.

Troup head coach Carla Thornton was pleased with the way her players performed, especially in light of a 42-41 home loss to Chapel Hill on Jan. 19.

“The true fans that come every game, we feel like we let them down last game,” Thornton said. “You owe it to those fans, those parents, to do it on the court. You have to make a statement.”

That statement was made in emphatic fashion early, with Troup surging to a 20-3 lead after the first quarter.

The Lady Grangers settled in and scored 39 points in the final three quarters, but they were unable to overcome the early deficit.

“The second, third and fourth quarters, we played basketball,” LaGrange head coach Stephen Tuck said. “That first quarter, they made a lot of shots. You give credit where credit is due. And they are tough defensively.”

Aniya Palmer, who has had such an impressive freshman season, led Troup with 20 points, including 13 points in the first half.

“Right now, she barely knows our offense,” Thornton said of Palmer. “I think it’s good that those girls have allowed her to develop. They’re pushing her to be better.”

Darnesheyuna McCollough and Jada Green each scored 12 points for Troup, and Amber Gilbert added eight points.

LaGrange got the bulk of its offense from senior Zaria Russell, who scored 23 points and made six 3-pointers.

Madison Coverson added eight points for LaGrange.

If Troup wins its final three regular-season games this week against Cedartown, Central-Carroll and Cartersville, it will be the number two seed for next week’s region tournament.

All three of those games will be at Troup.

“Everything’s in our hands,” Thornton said. “We hold our own fate right now.”

LaGrange is in fifth place in the region, and it will try to hold on to that spot this week.

LaGrange finishes the regular season with home games against Sandy Creek and Chapel Hill.

“You don’t like to lose to your rival, but at the same time, you have to understand there may be an opportunity where we see them again, so you can’t hang your head,” Tuck said. “You have to move on to the next game.”