Lady Tigers hope to stay perfect
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Through it all, they were a family.
The 2018-2019 season was a winning one on the court for the Troup Lady Tigers, but they faced their share of adversity.
Most dramatically, team member Samarria Weldon had to deal with the tragic accidental shooting death of her brother, Quydarius Weldon, right before the start of the state tournament.
“That’s kind of our background story this season, from tragedy to triumph,” said Troup head coach Carla Thornton. “(Weldon) lost a brother, I lost a granddaddy at the beginning of the season, one of them lost a classmate and friend. There were a lot of sad times. This is something to keep us together. We spend a lot of time together. We keep each other from getting sad.”
It was a successful season for the Lady Tigers, who went 17-9 and finished second in the Region 5-AAAA tournament.
The season came to an unsatisfying conclusion, though, with a 41-28 loss to Oconee County in the first round of the state tournament.
“We were upset with how it ended, because we knew we were better than that team,” Thornton said. “So, we’re trying our best not to let something like that happen this year.”
All of the players from last season’s team are back, and they’ve been joined by some talented newcomers, including freshman Alexcia Murphy, who is one of the leading scorers.
Among the returning players is senior Amber Gilbert, who leads the team in scoring at 17.6 points per game.
Sophomore Aniya Palmer scores 13.6 points per game, and Murphy averages 11.4 points a game.
Weldon, a sophomore, scores 8.5 points per game, and sophomore Monyia Murphy averages seven points a game.
Other key players include Jada Green and Darnesheyuna McCollough.
It’s a deep roster filled with gifted players, and Thornton appreciates the unselfish way they approach the game.
With every player during her part, Troup (5-0) has yet to lose a game, and it can remain unbeaten with a home win over Harris County on Friday.
“A lot of times when you have talent, sometimes you have egos,” Thornton said. “I can say this. All of the girls look out for each other, and they all want to see each other do well. That’s a blessing when you have talent, and nobody’s upset.”
Troup’s boys’ team, meanwhile, has played a challenging early-season schedule, and it will carry a 3-2 record into the Harris County game.
Troup is looking to bounce back from a 69-45 loss to a strong East Coweta last week.