Troup overwhelms Cedartown
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They had it all working.
The Troup Tigers took care of business early on Wednesday, surging to a 13-point lead after the first quarter, and they never looked back on the way to a 67-42 victory over Cedartown in a Region 5-AAAA game.
Troup (14-8 overall) improved to 6-4 in the region while remaining in the hunt for the all-important second seed for next week’s region tournament.
Troup closes the regular season with home games against Central-Carroll on Friday and Cartersville on Saturday.
Cartersville is in second place in the region at 7-4, a half-game ahead of Troup.
Troup was at .500 in the region after a road loss to Sandy Creek, but it has dominated its past two games at home to improve its position.
In wins over LaGrange and Cedartown, Troup has given up a combined 78 points.
From a defensive standpoint, it’s Troup’s best two-game stretch of the season.
“The last two games defensively is what we’ve been capable of all year,” Troup head coach Blake Craft said. “When we’re locked in, we’re a dang good defensive team.”
The Tigers also had things clicking on the offensive end in Wednesday’s game.
The Tigers scored 45 points in the first half, and they finished with their second-highest point total of the season.
JaQuavo McFarland, who was limited to three points in Saturday’s 57-36 win over LaGrange, led Troup against Cedartown with 17 points, and he made five 3-pointers.
“We’ve talked (with McFarland) about not pressing,” Craft said. “With this team, you don’t have to score that much. If somebody is denying you, let somebody else do it.
“We don’t need you to score. If they leave you open, stroke it. If they don’t, let somebody else do it. And he’s buying into it, and that’s why good things are going to happen for him.”
That offensive balance was on display against Cedartown, with 15 Troup players scoring.
Joko Willis contributed 12 points, including eight in the second quarter, and Ja’Rell Smith made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points.
The Tigers were up 21-8 after the first quarter, and they scored 24 more points in the second quarter to take a 45-19 lead at the break.
Any hope the Bulldogs had of making a comeback was snuffed out when they were outscored 12-4 in the third quarter.