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LaGrange hangs tough in loss to Newnan

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

They hung in there and gave themselves a fighting chance, but when the clock hit zero, the LaGrange Lady Grangers were four points shy of Newnan in a preseason game on Thursday night.

The Lady Grangers, who trailed by 11 points late in the third quarter, charged back and made it a competitive game,

but it was the visiting Lady Cougars walking away with a 41-37 victory.

LaGrange will begin things for real when it hosts Heard County on Nov. 24 in its regular-season opener.

While there are plenty of things LaGrange head coach Stephen Tuck feels the players can do better, he had no issues with the effort they gave from beginning to end.

“One thing I wanted to see was what our effort looked like,” Tuck said. “I thought the effort was there. We just continued to fight, and that’s what you want to see all the time.”

LaGrange was led by sophomore Corriah Williams, who scored 24 of her team’s 37 points.

Williams kept shooting and being aggressive until the end, and her 3-pointer at the buzzer made the final margin four points.

“She’s taken a step forward, which we were hoping to see,” Tuck said. “I’m glad to see that.”

If the Lady Grangers had been a bit more proficient from the free-throw line, the game may have gone in their favor.

LaGrange missed 24 free-throw attempts, and that proved particularly costly in a close game.

“If you make five out of the 24 that we missed, we win the basketball game,” Tuck said.

The game was played in LaGrange’s new gym, and Tuck figures it may take the players some time to adjust to the new sight lines.

“In practice we shot the ball well from the free-throw line,” Tuck said. “I always think, the way the new gym is set up and you have people behind the backboard, it’s a little bit different experience. You have people standing up. It plays with your eyes. So I think it’s just something we have to get used to.”

The Lady Grangers, who trailed 23-15 at the half, were still down by eight points when Williams came up with a steal and a layup to get her team within six with 3:48 left in the third quarter.

Newnan responded with a 7-2 run to go up by 11, but Williams hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to make it a 32-24 game.

Reniya Fannin scored moments into the fourth quarter to get the Lady Grangers within six, but they didn’t come any closer than that until Williams hit a 3-pointer as the game ended.

LaGrange was a bit short-handed because of quarantine issues, something that teams in all sports have been having to work around since the start of the school year.

“I was missing two girls due to quarantine,” Tuck said. “It’s not just us. It’s everybody who has to deal with it.”