Troup Lady Tigers still perfect
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
With Amber Gilbert leading the way, Troup overpowered Chapel 55-42 on Friday night to improve to 10-0 overall while winning their Region 5-AAAA opener.
Gilbert had a big night with 26 points, with all but two of those points coming in the second and third quarters combined.
Aniya Palmer added 14 points for Troup, and Alexcia Murphy and Jada Green had six and five points, respectively.
Thirteen different Troup players appeared in the game, and head coach Carla Thornton was glad to see everyone contribute.
“You want to give them some playing time, because they work as hard at practice as anyone else,” Thornton said.
Troup got off to a slow start, with Chapel Hill surging to a 15-7 lead after the first quarter.
With Gilbert catching fire, Troup outscored Chapel Hill 23-8 in the second quarter to take a 30-23 lead at the half.
Gilbert scored 15 points in the second quarter while making two 3-pointers.
The halftime break did nothing to slow down Troup, which outscored Chapel Hill 15-6 in the third quarter to grab a 45-29 lead.
Chapel Hill did get within seven with 3:20 left in the third quarter, but Troup went on a 9-0 run that was capped by a Gilbert 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Troup was ahead by 20 points midway through the fourth quarter before Chapel Hill had a nice closing stretch to get within 13 at the end.
Troup plays at Sandy Creek on Saturday, with the girls’ game tipping off at 2:30 p.m. and the boys’ game to follow.
In the boys’ game, Troup Tigers pushed a strong Chapel Hill team to the limit before falling 77-72 in their region opener.
The Tigers were within three with 13 seconds to play when they turned it over, and the Panthers made a pair of free throws to cap the scoring.
Despite coming up short, it was an encouraging effort for Troup, which ran step-for-step with the state’s sixth-ranked Class AAAA team.
“If we play like this, we’re going to be dangerous,” Troup head coach Blake Craft said. “It’s coming together. It’s going to be fun.”
Senior post player Isaiah Cox had a productive game for the Tigers with 21 points, and K.J. Tucker made two 3-pointers and scored 11 points.
Gabe Cofield also knocked down two 3-pointers while scoring 10 points, and Qua Johnson added nine points.
Camren O’Neal chipped in with eight points, and Ricco Person made a pair of 3-pointers and had seven points.
Micah Bell made two of Chapel Hill’s 12 three-pointers and led his team with 21 points.
Both teams came out hot.
The game was tied 24-24 after the first quarter, and Chapel Hill led 43-40 at the half.
The Tigers made a charge in the third quarter and led by as many as six points, but the Panthers went on a 10-4 run to make it a 57-57 game heading to the final quarter.
The Tigers were down by seven points with 3:25 to play, but when Person drained a 3-pointer with 1:16 to play, the Panthers’ lead was down to one.
The Tigers, after falling behind by four, got back within one on a Williams layup with 14 seconds left.
After Mikai Valentine made two free throws, Chapel Hill had a 75-72 lead with 13 seconds left.
Troup turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play, and Valentine made two more free throws to push the lead to five.
The Tigers missed on the other end, and the Panthers got the rebound and ran out the clock.