LaGrange faces defending state champs
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Facing a team that won a state championship earlier this year, the LaGrange Grangers stood tall in the first half.
LaGrange made seven 3-pointers in the first half as it built a 27-22 lead over a Dutchtown team that won the Class AAAAA state championship in March.
The second half proved to be a different story, though, with Dutchtown taking control on the way to a 60-47 victory in the final game of the LaGrange Toyota Classic.
Dutchtown went on a 20-2 run over the first six minutes of the third quarter to turn a five-point deficit into a 13-point lead, and it didn’t look back.
“We didn’t match the intensity with them in the second half,” said LaGrange head coach Mark Veal. “They made a run, and we never matched it.”
It was the last of three games LaGrange played in the event.
After losing to Starr’s Mill 53-45 on Monday, LaGrange beat Washington 62-52 on Tuesday before falling to Dutchtown.
“We played good teams,” Veal said. “We were able to learn some things about our team going forward, and hopefully we’ll be able to finish the season.”
In the Dutchtown game, Kobe Jones led the Grangers with 14 points, Javon Brown added 10 points, and Malik Hall made three 3-pointers and scored nine points. Garrett Jacobsen contributed seven points, and Tristan Smith added six points on two 3-pointers.
The Grangers were looking good early, and when Jones banked in a 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer, they had a 14-7 lead. Jones scored eight points in the first quarter while making two 3-pointers, and Hall and Smith also made shots from long distance in the opening eight minutes.
When Smith made a 3-pointer early in the second quarter the Grangers had a 17-7 lead, and they were still ahead by 10 when the Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run late in the half to make it a 26-22 game.
A Jones free throw with two seconds left in the second quarter pushed the lead to 27-22, and that was the score at the half.
Dutchtown scored the first five points of the second half to pull even, with Jared Waddell making a 3-pointer to deadlock the score at 27-27.
A Jacobsen basket put the Grangers on top 29-27, but the Bulldogs scored the next 15 points, and they were ahead 42-29.
Back-to-back baskets by Brown and Jones got the Grangers within nine, but Gary Richardson drained a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 45-34 lead heading to the final quarter.
After falling behind by 17 points early in the fourth quarter, the Grangers hung tough and got within eight on a Jacobsen basket with 4:07 remaining.
The Grangers never got any closer than that, though, and the Bulldogs ended up winning by 13 points.