Unbeaten Troup playing for region title
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
TYRONE – Here we go again.
A year ago, the Troup Lady Tigers won their semifinal game in the Region 5-AAAA tournament to reach the championship game, only to lose a heart-breaker to Sandy Creek.
Flash forward a year and Troup once again finds itself in the championship game, and the opponent is that same Sandy Creek team.
An unbeaten Troup team earned its championship shot with an impressive 64-43 victory over Cedartown.
Sandy Creek, which will host Saturday’s game at 6 p.m., beat Central-Carroll to reach the title game.
Cedartown hung in there for a while, and it was a four-point game after the first quarter, but Troup (23-0) eventually took control and led by as many as 28 points in the second half.
“I thought we were a little bit too relaxed in the beginning, and we picked up the intensity,” said Troup head coach Carla Thornton. “That’s what we’re known for. We started looking like ourselves.”
Aniya Palmer, who scored the game’s first six points, led a balanced Troup scoring effort with 15 points.
Amber Gilbert, along with Palmer a first-team all-region player, added 14 points and was 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.
Freshman Alexcia Murphy, showing no stage fright in her first region-tournament appearance, added 13 points, and Samarria Weldon and Jada Green had seven points apiece.
Troup, playing for the first time in a week, jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first two minutes, with Palmer doing all of the scoring.
Cedartown, which beat Chapel Hill earlier in the week in the opening round of the region tournament, hung tough and cut Troup’s lead to 13-9.
The Lady Tigers took control in the second quarter, with a Murphy basket capping am 8-0 run to push the lead to 21-9.
The lead was 13 when Gilbert scooped up an offensive rebound and scored at the buzzer to give Troup a 30-15 lead at the half.
Any hope Cedartown had of getting back in the game ended when Troup dominated the third quarter to take a 49-21 lead heading to the final quarter.
Troup and Sandy Creek met twice in the regular season, and both games were competitive.
Troup won 42-33 at Sandy Creek, and it rallied from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to win 44-43 at home.
Last season, Troup had a late lead before Sandy Creek rallied to win its third straight region championship.
Troup will try to avoid the same fate this time around.
“You can’t let what happened last year happen again,” Thornton said. “It was one we let get away from us. If we can stay out of foul trouble and play our game, I like our chances.”