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Quick start powers Tigers

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It was a take-no-prisoners kind of night for the Troup Tigers.

Looking to build on their big win over LaGrange on Saturday, Troup overwhelmed visiting Cedartown 60-36 on Tuesday night.

The Tigers put it away early, surging to a 19-6 lead after the first quarter, and they were ahead 40-11 at the half.

It was a suffocating defensive effort by the Tigers, and they also got it done on the offensive end with a balanced scoring attack.

It was a complete effort by a Troup team that appears to be hitting its stride at the right time.

The Tigers (10-10 overall) won their second straight game and improved to 4-6 in Region 5-AAAA, keeping them in contention for the all-important third seed in the region tournament.

If Troup finishes third, it will host a quarterfinal game in the region tournament.

“We’re playing well at the right time,” Troup head coach Blake Craft said. “That’s always key.”

Qua Johnson made four 3-pointers and led Troup with 14 points, and Gabe Cofield knocked down three 3-pointers and added 13 points.

Camren O’Neal contributed eight points, with two of them coming on a perfectly executed alley-oop play in the second quarter, and Gabe Stepp, K.J. Tucker and Isaiah Cox had six points apiece.

All of the players contributed to the lock-down defensive effort, with Cedartown oftentimes unable to even get a shot away.

“We emphasize (defense) in practice,” said O’Neal, one of the Troup seniors. “We go very hard at practice. We beat each other up sometimes.”

On a team with plenty of depth, Craft has no issues using a full-court pressure defense that gave Cedartown fits.

“We’re not going to sit back anymore,” Craft said. “We’ve got so many guys, if somebody fouls out we keep going. It’s the next man up. And the kids are buying into it. The kids are loving it. They like getting up and down.”

Cofield was hot early, making two 3-pointers and scoring eight first-quarter points as Troup grabbed the 19-6 lead.

Any hope the Bulldogs had of winning the game was extinguished in the second quarter.

The Tigers scored 24 points in the quarter as they raced up and down the court, and the Bulldogs only managed five points.

With 3:16 to play in the first half, Williams tossed a perfect pass to O’Neal for the alley-oop, giving the Tigers a 34-10 lead.

The Tigers kept the pressure on, and by the half they were ahead 40-11.

Troup maintained a comfortable lead throughout the second half, and Craft was able to make sure everyone on the team got some playing time.

Troup has two region games remaining, beginning with Friday’s home game with Central-Carroll.