Tigers hope to make up ground
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s been a rocky road in region play for the Troup Tigers, but there’s still plenty of time to make up ground.
With Tuesday’s 67-51 loss to the Cedartown Bulldogs, the Tigers (8-10 overall) are 2-6 in Region 5-AAAA, and they’re in a tie for fifth place.
With four region games remaining, the Tigers have plenty to play for, including the possibility of finishing third and hosting a game in the region tournament.
If Troup doesn’t turn things
around, it could end up in a play-in game in the region tournament between the sixth seed and the seventh seed.
“The thing is, if we win out, we can still get the three seed,” said Blake Craft, Troup’s head coach. “If we don’t play well, we’re going to be in the six-seven game.”
The Tigers were hoping to come away with a key road win on Tuesday, but they were unable to overcome a shaky first half.
Troup was limited to 11 points in the first half in falling behind 21-11, and it scored three points in the second quarter.
The Tigers picked up the pace offensively in the second half and scored 40 points to make a game of it, but they couldn’t catch the Bulldogs.
“We laid an egg in the first half. We scored 11 points in a varsity basketball game in the first half,” Craft said.
The Tigers came to life offensively in the second half, but the Bulldogs also began to find their range and were able to hang on for the home win.
“The young guys brought some energy, and the seniors saw it,” Craft said. “They had a great little session after the game. They needed to call some people out, and they did.”
Camren O’Neal led the Tigers with 11 points while pulling down seven rebounds, and no one else had more than five points.
Next up for Troup is Saturday’s showdown at LaGrange, and it closes the region schedule with games against Cedartown, Central-Carroll and Cartersville.
“The chemistry of these guys is still very fun,” Craft said. “You win a couple of games, and everybody forgets a lot of stuff. We’re just not playing very well right now.”
One of the teams Troup is chasing is LaGrange (18-3 overall), which beat Cedartown 51-48 on Tuesday to snap a three-game losing streak and improve to 5-3 in region play. LaGrange was coming off a tough overtime loss to Central-Carroll a few days earlier.
“It was the same thing at Central where we had a lead, and if we take care of the ball we win that game,” LaGrange head coach Mark Veal said. “Sometimes when you’re on a losing streak these wins are hard to come by. Hopefully that’ll get us back going.”
LaGrange has four region games remaining beginning with Friday’s showdown at Cartersville.
If LaGrange remains in third place, it would host the winner of the six vs. seven game in the region tournament.
The top-two positions in the region appear pretty well settled.
Sandy Creek is in first place with a 7-0 record, while Chapel Hill is close behind at 6 -1 in the region.
If the standings remain that way, Sandy Creek and Chapel Hill will receive first-round byes in the region tournament, and the semifinals and finals will be played at Sandy Creek.
LaGrange is alone in third in the region, and Cedartown is in fourth place at 3-5.
Troup, Central-Carroll and Cartersville are all tied for fifth place with 2-6 records.
Overall record first followed by region record
Sandy Creek 16-3, 7-0
Chapel Hill 14-6, 6-1
LaGrange 18-3, 5-1
Cedartown 9-7, 3-5
Troup 8-10, 2-6
Central-Carroll 11-10, 2-6
Cartersville 6-10, 2-6