Difficult week for Lady Tigers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
A painful week came to a heart-breaking conclusion for the Troup Lady Tigers.
In the opening round of the Class AAAA state tournament on Friday night, Troup was unable to find its offensive rhythm on the way to a 41-28 loss to visiting Oconee County.
Troup was without one of its top players, freshman Samarria Weldon, who was dealing with a family tragedy.
Earlier in the week, Weldon’s brother, 24-year-old Quydarius Weldon, was accidentally shot, and he later died from the injury.
Samarria Weldon was in the gym on Friday to support her teammates, but she didn’t play.
For the girls who were on the court, Troup head coach Carla Thornton said it was a challenge to concentrate on a basketball game.
“We tried hard for her, but it’s been a rough week,” Thornton said. “They gave me what they had, but their hearts and minds were in a lot of different places. She came to the game to support us tonight, but it hurt not having her.”
In a low-scoring first half, it was Oconee County taking a 14-9 lead at the break.
Jada Green knocked down a pair of 3-pointers early in the third quarter to help Troup get within one.
By the time the third quarter ended, Oconee County’s lead was 23-22.
After falling behind by seven in the fourth quarter, Troup got within three on an Aniya Palmer basket with 3:56 to play.
Oconee County ended the game on an 11-1 run, though, to win going away.
Palmer led Troup with eight points.
Darnesheyuna McCollough and Green scored seven and six points, respectively.
“They gave it everything they had, but starting off, you could tell our minds weren’t there,” Thornton said.
Despite Friday’s loss, it was a successful season for the Lady Tigers, who went 17-9 and finished second in the Region 5-AAAA tournament.
Troup didn’t have any seniors, so all of the players will return next season.
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