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Troup wins on senior night

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It was a senior night for the Troup High basketball teams.

Facing Central-Carroll in their final home games of the regular season, the Troup boys’ and girls’ teams both eased to comfortable wins.

In the girls’ game, Troup remained unbeaten with a 64-43 victory, while Troup’s boys’ team rolled to a 58-46 win.

Troup’s team wrap up the regular season with road games against Cartersville on Saturday, and then it’ll be time for the Region 5-AAAA tournament.

The Lady Tigers have already secured the top seed, while the Tigers will be the number three seed with a win on Saturday.

In Friday’s girls’ game, coach Carla Thornton gave all of the seniors a chance to get some early playing time.

While senior Amber Gilbert is Troup’s leading scorer and rarely leaves the floor, Tashauna Askew, Myeshia Sims and Shanise Turner don’t get much playing time.

“I ended up letting them stay out there a couple of possessions, and they held it down for the most part,” Thornton said. “I was pleased with that.”

Thornton appreciates the attitudes of all the seniors, regardless of the amount of playing time they get.

“They’re real supportive of their teammates,” Thornton said. “They smile, and laugh and joke all the time. They’re just happy to be a part of it.”

Gilbert led the Lady Tigers with 24 points, while Aniya Palmer and Samarria Weldon scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The Lady Tigers improved to 21-0 overall and 11-0 in region play, and they’re one win away from a perfect regular season.

Troup had its hands full against Central-Carroll earlier in this season on the way to a 50-43 win, but the rematch wasn’t competitive.

The Lady Tigers were ahead 17-10 after the first quarter, and they led 31-21 at the half.

Troup put the game away by outscoring Central-Carroll 19-6 in the third quarter.

Thornton was pleased to see the way her team performed against a Central-Carroll team that had only lost four games before Friday.

“They’re ranked, we’re ranked,” Thornton said. “Is there any separation between us and them. I need to see. Is there a difference. You have to play for status sometimes.”

In Friday’s boys’ game, it was all about offensive balance for the Tigers.

Twelve different players scored, with K.J. Tucker leading the way with 11 points, while Camren O’Neal and Isaiah Cox added eight points apiece.

Before the game, seniors Camren O’Neal, Isaiah Cox, Qua Johnson, Gabe Cofield and Trey Williams were recognized, and Craft appreciates the team-first attitude they have.

“It’s a special group. It’s a very selfless group,” Craft said. “They bought into, it doesn’t matter who scores. Tonight, we had one person in double digits, and that was a junior, K.J. Tucker.”

The game was tied 13-13 after the first quarter, and the Tigers outscored the Lions by 10 points in the second quarter to build a 28-18 lead. The Tigers extended the lead to 47-31 in the third quarter, and they maintained a double-digit lead throughout the fourth quarter.

It was the third straight win for Troup (11-10 overall), which takes a 5-6 region record into the Cartersville game.

If Troup wins, it’ll secure the number three seed and will host a region-tournament game against the winner of the game between the six and seven seeds.

“The kids are having fun, and you have to have fun,” Craft said. “I’m going to keep being hard on you, but you’ve got to have fun, and play hard. The intensity’s there, and they’re playing hard.”