Grangers prevail in overtime
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
TEMPLE – The LaGrange Grangers were pushed to overtime by a sharp-shooting Temple squad before hanging on for a 62-61 overtime victory on Monday evening in their final game in the SMI Holiday Classic.
Trailing by 11 points in the fourth quarter, Temple came charging back with a barrage of 3-pointers to deadlock the score at 58-58 at the close of regulation.
Temple carried that momentum into overtime by scoring the first three points, but LaGrange finished the game on a 4-0 run to secure the hard-earned victory.
LaGrange (3-3) finished the tournament with a 2-1 record, and it won its final two games after losing to Villa Rica on Friday.
“This is basketball, and they came down and hit threes like they did, and we had a couple of crucial turnovers, but I feel good about getting ready for region play,” said LaGrange head coach Mark Veal. “You lose a lead, and you have to step up.”
Kobe Jones, LaGrange’s outstanding junior point guard, drove for the go-ahead layup with 1:13 remaining in overtime, and that turned out to be it for scoring in the game.
Temple, just as it did at the close of regulation, had the ball at the end with an opportunity to win it, but LaGrange’s defense was up to the challenge.
“There was stuff that didn’t go like we wanted it to, but we stayed composed, and we won,” Veal said
Javon Brown led the Grangers with 26 points, and a lot of his points came on assists from Jones, who added 12 points of his own.
Malik Hall made three 3-pointers and scored nine points, Mydarius Scott added six points, and Garrett Jacobsen chipped in with four points while providing some tough play inside.
“Kobe did some good things down the stretch, and so did Javon,” Veal said. “And we had Tae Snead, and Mydarius Scott come in and had some good minutes. So it was good for us.”
Jones is one of the players who has recently made the transition from football to basketball, and he is settling into his role as a team leader, much as he was the past two seasons.
“There are a lot of guys that are working their way back in,” Veal sid. “We like our team, and it’s a good win. We learn from it, and keep moving forward.”
Tate Cole led Temple with 15 points while knocking down five 3-pointers, Scooter Tanner scored 13 points, and Samuel Zimbron made two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and scored 12 points.
The Grangers got off to a slow start and were trailing 8-2 when they came charging back, and Jones had a steal and layup in the closing moments of the first quarter to cut the Tigers’ lead to 15-13.
The Grangers trailed by as many as eight points in the second quarter but they hung tough, and Scott had back-to-back baskets at the close of the half to trim the Tigers’ lead to 27-23.
It was tied at 31-31 in the third quarter when the Grangers went on a 9-2 run, with Jones and Hall both making 3-pointers, and the lead was 40-35 heading to the final quarter.
The Grangers seemed to have things in hand when Brown scored with 4:21 remaining to give the visiting team a 50-39 lead, but the Tigers made six 3-pointers down the stretch to pull even with 40 seconds left in regulation.
A turnover gave the Tigers possession in the closing moments, but a 3-pointer at the buzzer didn’t connect.
In overtime, the Grangers were trailing by three when Brown scored with 2:35 showing on the clock, and they reclaimed the lead on Jones’ driving layup with 1:13 to play.
Temple missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won it.
HEARD COUNTY 45
The Grangers surged to a 20-17 lead after the first quarter, and they were in control the rest of the way to earn a tournament victory on Saturday night in their second tournament game.
Kobe Jones led LaGrange with 16 points, Javon Brown added 15 points, Malik Hall scored 12 points, and Garrett Jacobsen had nine points.
VILLA RICA 69
LaGrange’s Kobe Jones scored 16 points and was 5-of-6 from the free-throw line, but it was Villa Rica securing the victory on the opening night of the tournament.
AJ Traylor added seven points for LaGrange, and 10 members of the team scored.
The Grangers were down 12-11 after the first quarter, and they trailed 31-26 at the half and 48-38 after three quarters.