Everyone contributes for Troup
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s a team effort for the Troup Lady Tigers.
There’s plenty of star-power on the Troup girls’ basketball teams, with Aniya Palmer, Amber Gilbert and Alexcia Murphy routinely making highlight-reel-type plays.
While those three players are leading Troup from a statistical standpoint, everyone has contributed to helping the team get to Macon for the Class AAAA state-championship game.
Even the players who rarely appear in games have done their part to help the team succeed.
“They still come to practice and work just as hard,” said Troup head coach Carla Thornton. “They’re running, doing stuff. That’s huge to me. From the top to the bottom, everybody has a role. Everybody does their job. That makes a big difference. They can easily be jealous of each other, but they’re not.”
During last week’s 56-47 semifinal win over Carver, seven players appeared on the court, and the other members of the team did their best to prop up their teammates.
“Even the ones that don’t get in the game, they still support us from the bench,” said Palmer, who had 13 points and nine blocked shots against Carver. “It’s like everybody’s doing something.”
The team’s three leading scorers are Gilbert, Palmer and Murphy, who average close to 40 points a game between them.
Gilbert, one of four seniors on the team, averages about 15 points per game, and she seems to always rise to the occasion when the games mean the most.
In the second round against Cross Creek, Gilbert had 18 points, and one of her five 3-pointers in the closing moments tied the game.
“She gets to where she takes over, because she hates to lose,” Thornton said. “She puts the team on her back, and we ride her wave. The girls trust her. They get a rebound, and they pass it back to her. That shows that they trust each other.”
Palmer, meanwhile, is an elite all-around player who can score, rebound, and block shots.
As exceptional as Palmer is, Thornton believes she has even another gear to give.
Thornton said Palmer gets it done “on both ends of the court, but even her, she can do better. We push her to go even harder.”
Murphy, meanwhile, has had an exceptional freshman season, and she has led the team in scoring in the past two state-tournament games.
Murphy had 25 points in a quarterfinal win over McDonough, and she had 15 points against Carver.
Murphy’s shining moment came in the 46-45 win over Cross Creek when she made a shot at the buzzer to win the game.
Another key player is sophomore Samarria Weldon, who had six important points in the third quarter against Carver as Troup blew the game open.
“She’s been having a great season,” Thornton said. “It’s just the energy she brings, and the effort. She’s going to get loose balls. She does a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. I love hustle players.”
Junior guard Jada Green made a 3-pointer and scored eight points against Carver, sophomore guard Monyia Murphy had four points, and junior guard Darnesheyuna McCollough had two points.
Among the players who have yet to appear in the state tournament are seniors Shanise Turner, Myeshia Sims and Tashauna Askew, who have all been a part of the program since they were freshmen.
Thornton said everyone, players and coaches alike, holds “each other accountable.”
“We get on to each other when we’re not doing what we need to do,” Thornton said. “At the same time we’re going to lift each other up. That’s a great thing.”