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LaGrange ends losing skid

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

They’re ready to start a new winning streak.

After winning their first 17 games of the season, the LaGrange Grangers dropped their next three games.

On Tuesday night against Region 5-AAAA foe Cedartown, LaGrange snapped that losing skid with a 51-48 victory.

LaGrange (18-3 overall) improved to 5-3 in Region 5-AAAA to remain in third place, and it will try to make it two wins in a row on Friday night at Cartersville.

“Sometimes when you’re on a losing streak these wins are hard to come by,” said Mark Veal, LaGrange’s head coach. “Hopefully that’ll get us back going.”

DJ Burks, one of the seniors who was recognized before the game, had a big night for the Grangers with 16 points, and he was 6-of-6 on free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter.

Kobe Jones added nine points, with six of those points coming in the fourth quarter, and Javon Brown and Earley Sanders had seven and six points, respectively.

The Grangers led 15-13 after the first quarter, and they stretched that advantage to 31-21 at the half.

The Bulldogs were still down by eight points after the third quarter, but they came storming back in the fourth quarter, and they took a four-point lead with a little more than three minutes remaining.

The Grangers didn’t panic, though, and they played well down the stretch to secure the win and complete a regular-season sweep of the Bulldogs.

“We had a 12-point lead in the third, and somehow or another they get up four,” Veal said. “We were fortunate to get a stop here or there, and obviously we hit free throws down the stretch.”

In the girls’ game, LaGrange lost a heart-breaker, with Cedartown hitting a 3-pointer in the closing moments to win 53-52.

LaGrange got a potential game-winning shot off at the buzzer, but it didn’t connect.

The loss dropped LaGrange (7-14 overall) to 0-8 in Region 5-AAAA.

“We played well. If a team plays that well, the wins will come,” said Stephen Tuck, LaGrange’s head coach. “I said we’ve got to take care of the small things.

“We had a few turnovers in the third quarter that led to layups. And even at the end of the game, we didn’t rebound. They got an offensive rebound and kicked it back out and got another offensive rebound, and that’s when they got the last shot. I said if you’d boxed out and rebounded, then they don’t get that lucky shot off. We’ve got to make sure to focus on all the small things.”

It was an encouraging offensive effort, with LaGrange scoring more points than it had in any of its previous region games.

“One of the things we talked about was being patient on offense, and to be able to put up 52 points today, that’s great,” Tuck said. “And we’re figuring out some things defensively. I thought we did some good things defensively in the second half, making it tougher for them.”

Kamelah Kelley led LaGrange with 12 points, and Madison Coverson added 11 points, and she was 5-of-5 on free throws in the fourth quarter.

Holly Lynn chipped in with eight points for LaGrange.