Grangers stay perfect
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The LaGrange Grangers overwhelmed the visiting Lamar County Trojans 60-34 on Tuesday night to win their seventh consecutive game to begin the season.
Six of the Grangers’ games have been played on their home court, and the players feed off of the energy provided by the always boisterous student section.
The Trojans were hanging around at the half, trailing by 12 points, but the Grangers blew it open in the second half to make it six straight wins on their home court that’s affectionately known as the Barn.
“We’ve got to protect the Barn,” said senior guard D.J. Burks, who scored 14 points. “We always protect the star.”
As has been the case in every game this season, it was a balanced scoring attack.
Burks and Nafis Carson led the way with 14 points apiece, Kobe Jones scored seven points, and Earley Sanders had six points.
Twelve LaGrange players saw time on the court, and 11 of them scored.
“We’ve just got to lock in as a team and keep on playing as a team, and keep it rolling,” Burks said.
In addition to a balanced offense, another key to the Grangers’ success is a stingy defense that’s giving up barely 40 points per game.
That suffocating defense was on display again on Tuesday, with the Trojans never scoring more than 12 points in a quarter.
“This is probably the first time in about three years we’ve played mostly man defense,” said Mark Veal, LaGrange’s head coach. “We stress it, and it’s helping.”
Veal also appreciates the unselfish nature of the players, who are only concerned about making sure the team wins.
“Team chemistry is really good,” Veal said. “Even when we tighten the rotation, the ones on the bench are really into it. Nobody’s angry about playing time. Everybody has the same common goal.”
Burks, who scored 19 points in a season-opening win over Northside-Columbus, said “we come into every game with the mindset that everybody eats. We’re locked in.”
The Grangers took control early, outscoring the Trojans 14-3 in the first quarter, and they led 27-15 at the halftime break.
Burks helped the Grangers take the double-digit lead by scoring 10 points in the first half, including eight points in the first quarter.
In the third quarter, Jones, Burks and Carson combined for 13 points as LaGrange extended its lead to 42-22.
The Grangers continued to pull away in the fourth quarter to win by 26 points.
LaGrange will try to make it eight in a row when it visits Pike County on Thursday.