Region race down to the wire
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
There is plenty left to be decided as the regular season wraps up this weekend.
The top two seeds for the Region 5-AAAA boys’ tournament have been determined, but the picture is far from clear after that.
While the LaGrange Grangers are in third place in the region with a 5-6 record, Cedartown and Troup are close behind with 4-6 records.
Anyone of those teams could finish third, which is critical since the number three seed in the region tournament will host a quarterfinal game next week.
LaGrange finishes the regular season on Friday with a game at Chapel Hill, while Cedartown and Troup both have two region games remaining.
Troup hosts Central-Carroll on Friday before finishing the regular season at Cartersville on Saturday.
Cedartown’s road is a tough one with games against Sandy Creek and Chapel Hill.
If one or more teams finish tied for third place, then it’ll come down to the tie-breakers.
Troup is the hottest among the three teams fighting for third place.
Troup has posted back-to-back impressive wins over LaGrange and Cedartown to get in position to possibly grab the third seed.
Troup head coach Blake Craft believes the team turned a corner following a difficult 67-51 road loss to Cedartown on Jan. 22.
“On the way back from Cedartown, we had a meeting,” Craft said. “The seniors had a calling-out session. People needed to hold each other accountable. Ever since then, they’ve turned the corner. The kids had that meeting, and they asked me to step in and say a few things.”
Troup followed up that loss with a 68-60 road win over LaGrange, and it overwhelmed Cedartown 60-36 on Tuesday.
“We’re playing well at the right time,” Craft said. “That’s always key.”
Camren O’Neal, one of the seniors who will be honored before Friday’s game against Central-Carroll said everyone is laser-focused right now.
“It’s just locking in, and knowing what we need to do every game,” Craft said.
LaGrange, meanwhile, is looking to close the regular season on a positive note after struggling down the stretch.
LaGrange (18-6 overall) was 4-0 in the region after beating Troup on Jan. 10, but it has lost six of seven games since then.
LaGrange’s only win during that stretch came on Jan. 21 when it beat Cedartown 51-48 on the road.
LaGrange’s task on Friday is a tough one.
Chapel Hill is 8-2 in the region, with its only two losses coming to Sandy Creek, which is in first place with a 10-0 record.
Overall record first followed by region record
Sandy Creek 19-3, 10-0
Chapel Hill 16-7, 8-2
LaGrange 18-6, 5-6
Cedartown 11-8, 4-6
Troup 10-10, 4-6
Cartersville 7-12, 3-8
Central-Carroll 11-12, 2-8