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Winning night for Grangers

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

The LaGrange Grangers overcame a slow start to secure a critical 45-24 home win over the Shaw Raiders in a Region 2-AAAA showdown on Friday night.

After splitting a pair of road games to open its region schedule, LaGrange improved to 2-1 in the region with the senior-night win.

Early on, neither team did anything offensively, and the Raiders led 5-3 after a low-scoring first quarter.

The Grangers used a 9-0 run to end the second quarter to take a 15-8 lead at the half, and they pulled away in the second half to dispatch the Raiders.

“We’re definitely top two or three right now (in the region), but there’s a lot of basketball left to be played,” said LaGrange head coach Mark Veal. “Any win is nice.”

Shaw came in riding high after getting an overtime win over Carver earlier in the week, but it was unable to get anything going on the offensive end against LaGrange.

While the Grangers did eventually figure some things out offensively, the Raiders never did.

“It was us playing defense, and we were able to stay in the game,” said Avery Hill, one of LaGrange’s seniors. “We started hitting shots, and we ran the score up on ‘em.”

Kobe Jones led LaGrange with 16 points, and he had 12 of those points in the second half.

Javon Brown added nine points, and he scored eight points in the second half.

Garrett Jacobsen scored six points, all in the second half, and Tristan Smith had five points.

Ten players scored, including Hill, whose lone basket was a big one.

LaGrange had a four-point lead when Hill knocked down a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the second quarter, giving the home team a 15-8 lead at the halftime break.

“It was good momentum going into halftime,” Hill said. “I wish I’d hit other ones, but I made that one.”

Hill was one of the seniors honored before the game, and his supportive father Mitchell Hill was in his thoughts.

Mitchell Hill, a LaGrange High graduate who was a coach and mentor to young players in Troup County during a decades-long coaching career, died in 2016 at the age of 47.

“Every day I feel his presence,” Avery Hill said. “I’m trying to do everything I can to make him happy.”

The Raiders were ahead in the second quarter when Mydarius Scott made a 3-pointer to give the Grangers a 9-8 lead, and that was the start of a 9-0 run to make it a 15-8 game at the half.

In the third quarter, Jones made two 3-pointers and scored eight points as the Grangers outscored the Raiders 18-12 to take a 33-20 lead.

The Raiders got within 11 with 6:20 left in the game, but the Grangers closed with a 10-0 run to win going away.

LaGrange will go for its third straight region win when it hosts Carver on Tuesday, with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.