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Troup’s Palmer getting plenty of attention

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

Junior Aniya Palmer, who helped lead the Troup High girls’ basketball team to the state-championship game last season, has been receiving plenty of attention from college coaches since she arrived on campus as a freshman.

Before this fall, though, none of Palmer’s college offers had come from a team in the Southeastern Conference.

That changed a few weeks ago when Auburn University’s women’s team, led by head coach Terry Williams-Flournoy, offered Palmer a scholarship.

Later that same day, Palmer also received an offer from the University of Miami.

Auburn and any other program hoping to land Palmer will have to wait a few years since she’s a junior and has two seasons remaining at Troup.

Palmer, a versatile player who can play any position on the floor, had a big sophomore season while helping Troup post a 27-2 record while reaching the Class AAAA championship game where it lost to Americus-Sumter.

The six-foot tall Palmer averaged nearly 12 points and nine rebounds per game, and she was also among the team leaders in steals, assists and blocks.

Palmer’s most memorable moment came in a 46-45 win over Cross Creek in the second round of the state tournament.

With less than 10 seconds to play, Palmer soared into the air to snatch a rebound following a missed free throw, and she sprinted down the court and delivered a perfect pass to freshman Alexcia Murphy, who made a short jumper to give Troup the win.

By her lofty standards it hadn’t been an exceptional game for Palmer, but when her team needed her the most, she came through in a big way.

“For myself, I didn’t play good at all,” Palmer said following that game. “I know a few of my other teammates we didn’t play good either. But at the end, we all came together and did what we’re supposed to do. I’m proud that we all stuck together, and we worked hard.”

Palmer and her teammates won two more games after that to reach the championship game, and it lost to Americus-Sumter 66-52.

In the semifinals, Palmer had 13 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocked shots in a 56-47 victory over defending state-champion Carver.

“It’s been many days of practice, working hard together,” Palmer said after the momentous win over Carver. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but we go out and play ball.”

In the championship game, Palmer had 13 points and 10 rebounds as Troup came up just short of winning a state title.

Troup should be well-positioned to make another title run this season with Palmer and nearly every other key player returning.

Troup will have to replace four-year starter Amber Gilbert, who has signed with East Georgia State College, but among the returnees are Palmer, Alexcia Murphy, Samarria Weldon, Monyia Murphy, Jada Green and Darnesheyuna McCollough, who all either starter or played significant minutes last season.