State success for Troup
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They weren’t going to be denied this time.
A year ago, the Troup Lady Tigers were at home for the first round of the state tournament, and they lost to Oconee County 41-28.
Flash forward a year and Troup was in the same situation, hosting a first-round game with a chance to advance to the round of 16.
The story had a much happier ending this time around.
It was close early before Troup took control and overwhelmed Chestatee 63-37 to keep its season alive while improving to 24-1.
Troup was coming off a disappointing loss to Sandy Creek in the Region 5-AAAA-championship game, but the players didn’t let that setback hamper them against Chestatee.
“Our main thing was to get that out of our system,” said Carla Thornton, Troup’s head coach. “We had to come out and be on the same page, and I think we did that tonight. We had great team work out there tonight all the way through.”
Both teams came out firing, and the game was tied 19-19 after the first quarter.
Troup outscored Chestatee by eight points in the second quarter to build a 14-6 lead at the half before dominating the final two quarters to win going away.
“We wanted to come out and attack, and get some baskets, and that’s what we did,” said senior Amber Gilbert, one of seven Troup players that scored in the game.
Aniya Palmer led Troup with 15 points, and Darnesheyuna McCollough was also in double digits with 10 points. Samarria Weldon and Gilbert each had nine points, Jada Green scored seven points, and Monyia Murphy contributed five points.
In a fast-paced first quarter, neither team had trouble putting the ball in the basket and it was tied 19-19.
Chesatee briefly took the lead early in the second quarter on a 3-pointer by Maggie McNair, but Gilbert’s three-point play gave Troup a 24-22 lead with 6:11 left in the first half.
That was the start of an 8-0 run for the Lady Tigers, and by the time the half rolled around they were ahead 33-25.
Chestatee hung around for a while in the third quarter, and it was within six before Troup went on a 9-2 run to seize a 46-33 lead heading to the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, with Troup outscoring Chestatee 17-4 to win by 26 points.