Troup eases past Lanett
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
LANETT – The Troup Tigers let one get away last week.
Facing a powerhouse Lanett team at home, Troup (1-2) had a five-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but it ended up losing in overtime.
A week later those same two teams faced of again, this time in Alabama, and Troup wasn’t going to let another one slip out of its grasp.
Lanett wiped out a nine-point second-half deficit to pull even with 3:53 to play, but Troup hung tough and secured a 49-47 victory.
“A lot of people don’t come into Lanett and win, but they did it,” said Troup head coach Blake Craft. “You have adversity, and these guys fought through it and overcame it.”
Ricco Person led the Tigers with 14 points, Tre Scott added 11 points, and KJ Tucker and Jaylen Young scored eight points apiece.
Troup’s defense, meanwhile, did an outstanding job against a Lanett team that was averaging 70 points through two games.
Lanett scored 73 points in the overtime win over Troup last week, but it was a different story in the rematch.
“That was our main focus in practice was defense, defense, defense,” Tucker said. “That’s all they preached to us. We came out and did it on the court and got a great win.”
The Tigers seemed to have things in hand when they took a six-point lead with 24 seconds remaining, but they missed some free throws down the stretch that allowed the Panthers to stay in it.
After two missed free throws with three seconds left, a Lanett player got the rebound, and his desperation shot from well beyond half-court wasn’t close.
“It’s a great win,” Person said. “We played great as a team, and it all started at practice the next day (after the loss to Lanett).”
Twelve Troup players got some time on the court, including a handful of players who made their season debut after making the transition from football to basketball.
Everyone contributed, and Craft believes that will be a key to this team’s success.
“KJ had 27 the other night (against Lanett), he didn’t have that tonight,” Craft said. “It didn’t matter. It’s always someone else’s night. It’s going to be fun.”
Early on, neither team was getting much done offensively, and Troup held an 8-5 lead after the first quarter.
Lanett rallied to take a four-point lead late in the second quarter, and it held a 23-21 lead at the halftime break.
The Tigers reclaimed the lead on a Tucker 3-pointer early in the second half, and they had a two-point lead with 3:28 left in the third quarter when they went on a 9-0 run to go up 39-28.
Young had back-to-back baskets during that stretch, and Person capped the run with a 3-pointer with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter to give the Tigers a nine-point lead.
Lanett hung tough, and when Alanteo Cheeks hit a 3-pointer in the closing moments of the third quarter, Troup’s lead was down to 39-33.
Lanett continued its surge into the fourth quarter, and it tied the game at 41-41 on a Kintavious Dozier basket with 3:53 to play.
The Tigers went back on top on a pair of Scott free throws with 2:16 to play, and they held the lead the rest of the way.
Gabe Stepp made a free throw with 24 seconds left in the game gave the Tigers a 47-41 lead.
While the Panthers scored on their next three possessions, the Tigers missed 2-of-6 free-throw attempts to keep things interesting.
Troup will look for its first winning streak of the season when it visits the rival LaGrange Grangers on Friday.
Troup finishes the week with a game at Harris County on Saturday.
“We can’t let the highs be too high, or the lows be too low,” Craft said. “On Thursday we play LaGrange, and then we play Harris County on Saturday. This will be a good little stretch. Let’s go and get ‘em.”