Region play kicking off
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s go-time for the Troup Tigers and LaGrange Grangers.
With the preliminaries out of the way, Troup and LaGrange will begin their Region 5-AAAA basketball schedules this weekend.
While Troup has games against Chapel Hill and Sandy Creek, LaGrange will face Central-Carroll and Cedartown.
Both teams will play 12 region games, leading up to the region tournament in February.
Troup, which hasn’t played since Dec. 21 when it beat Westminster 57-54, brings a 5-4 record into region play.
Regardless of the opponent, Troup head coach Blake Craft said it’s going to be a challenge night in and night out in region play.
“Chapel Hill is good. Sandy Creek is good. Cedartown’s having a great year, Central is well-coached, and LaGrange is on fire,” Craft said. “There aren’t any easy games.”
The Tigers have tested themselves against a stout non-region schedule.
Troup wrapped up non-region play with a pair of wins in the War Eagle Classic at Woodward Academy.
In its final non-region game, Troup rallied in the second half to beat Westminster 57-54.
Troup was trailing 30-21 at the half when the offense came to life in the second half and scored 36 points.
Troup has struggled at times offensively this season, and Craft was gratified to see that change against Westminster.
K.J. Tucker led the Tigers with 12 points in that game, and senior Camren O’Neal chipped in with eight points.
“The last game we played against Westminster I felt like we turned a corner offensively,” Craft said. “We were putting the ball in the hole, and the kids were having fun.”
Troup hosts Chapel Hill on Friday before visiting Sandy Creek on Saturday.
For LaGrange, it’s been a magical ride so far.
After going 2-0 in the LaGrange Toyota Classic, LaGrange is 13-0, and it will try to keep the good times going this weekend.
LaGrange is at home against Central-Carroll on Friday before visiting Cedartown on Saturday.
LaGrange made it 13 wins in a row with Monday’s 61-54 victory over WD Mohammed in the final game of the LaGrange Toyota Classic.
As has been the case throughout the season, the Cavaliers got it done with a balanced scoring attack.
Guard DJ Burks, who has had an outstanding senior season, led the Grangers with 18 points, and Javon Brown scored 12 points.
Kobe Jones, a dynamic sophomore guard, had 11 points, and nine of those points came in the fourth quarter when LaGrange rallied from a five-point deficit.
Malik Hall also contributed with 10 points, and he made two 3-pointers.
“We don’t really care about scoring,” Hall said. “We just want to get the win. Then everybody’s happy.”
Added Burks: “Everybody’s stepping up. Everybody knows their roles.”
Another reason for the Grangers’ perfect start is a defense that is limiting opponents to 47 points a game.
“Probably what’s most pleasing is, in the past, we’ve had to invent defenses,” LaGrange head coach Mark Veal said. “This whole year we’ve played straight man. Coach Scotty (Alexander) got it through my head, and we’ve done it.”