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Lady Tigers stay perfect

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

TYRONE – It’s been smooth sailing for the Troup Lady Tigers.

With Saturday’s big road win over Sandy Creek, Troup improved to 11-0 overall, and 2-0 in Region 5-AAAA.

Sandy Creek, which has won the past three region championships, made a third-quarter run to get close, but Troup pulled away in the fourth quarter to keep its perfect record intact.

“You put in the work, and you come out and make it happen,” said Troup head coach Carla Thornton. “Sometimes you are going to have bad games, but we’re fortunate that we’ve got enough talent that if somebody has a bad game, other people can step up.”

In Saturday’s game, Sandy Creek fought back from an eight-point deficit to take the lead heading into the fourth quarter.

There was no panic from the visiting team, though.

The Lady Tigers scored 19 points in the fourth quarter, and the Lady Patriots were unable to keep pace.

Senior Amber Gilbert, Troup’s leading scorer who spent a lot of time on the bench because of foul trouble, scored all six of her points in the fourth quarter to lead the way.

Aniya Palmer and Monyia Murphy both had 11 points for Troup, and Alexcia Miurphy added 10 points.

Gilbert was well below her average of nearly 18 points per game, but Troup won away, which was encouraging to Thornton.

“People started keying on (Gilbert), so I’ve been telling the other people they’ve got to step up, and for her to trust y’all,” Thornton said. “I was happy for them, especially Monyia, because she’s been down on herself.”

Thornton was also pleased with the way her players hung in there after Sandy Creek make its third-quarter run to seize the lead.

“I’m very happy, because it’s mental up here,” Thornton said. “I’m glad my girls kept their composure.”

BOYS GAME: Facing a Sandy Creek team that features one of the state’s top players in Jabari Smith, Troup hung tough for much of the game before losing 64-48.

The game came one day after Troup lost to another state powerhouse, Chapel Hill.

Troup (5-6 overall) is 0-2 in Region 5-AAAA after the losses to Chapel Hill and Sandy Creek, but head coach Blake Craft is anything but discouraged.

“The chemistry right now with the guys is really tight,” Craft said. “They’re having fun.”

While Troup ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard against Sandy Creek, Craft liked the way his players didn’t back away from the challenge.

“We brought the physicality to them,” Craft said.

Early on, the Tigers had no answer for Smith, who scored 15 first-quarter points to help give the Patriots a 21-14 lead.

The Patriots were ahead 39-27 at the half and 51-35 through three quarters, and they maintained a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter although the Tigers stayed within shouting distance.

Isaiah Cox led a balanced Troup scoring effort with 12 points, and Gabe Cofield and Camren O’Neal scored 10 and eight points, respectively.

Smith led the Patriots with 30 points while making three 3-pointers, and Daryl Rice knocked down four 3-pointers and had 16 points.

Troup’s teams will step out of region play with road games against Manchester on Tuesday before hosting LaGrange on Friday. Troup finishes the week with home games against Cedartown on Saturday.