Red-hot Tigers keep it going
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The surging Troup Tigers overwhelmed the visiting Shaw Raiders 86-55 on Wednesday in their final home game of the regular season.
The Tigers (9-8 overall) will carry a 4-3 Region 2-AAAA record into Friday’s road game against the Jordan Red Jackets, and they have a chance to close the regular season with five straight region wins.
If Troup wins, it will either by seeded third or fourth for next week’s region tournament.
Troup was 0-3 in the region after dropping a road game to Columbus, but it has been flying high since then.
“We got our confidence back,” said Troup head coach Blake Craft. “We just have to keep that momentum going. Friday, we’ve got to play.”
While the Tigers were disappointed to be winless in the region after three games, senior Nick Philpot said “we just had to keep playing, keep hustling, and stay together as a team.”
Troup got on the board with a win over Kendrick, and it followed that up with wins over Kendrick, Carver, LaGrange and Shaw.
“We just trust each other on both ends of the court, defense and offense,” Philpot said.
Troup was coming off back-to-back overtime wins over Carver and LaGrange, but there was no suspense in Wednesday’s game.
The Tigers were down 18-13 after the first quarter, but they outscored the Raiders 74-37 the rest of the way.
The Tigers reached a season high in points scored, with sophomore guard Deo’vion Tucker leading the way with 17 points.
Zy Varner contributed 13 points, Jaylen Young scored 11 points, and Philpot chipped in with 10 points.
Marquavious Kelley added eight points, K.J. Tucker and Ricco Person each scored seven points, and Kari Ward made two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and had six points.
It was a complete effort, and Craft was pleased with the intensity the players showed throughout the game.
“The hustle was there,” Craft said. “The seniors know they’ve only got a handful of games left. They’ve got to play. When our team comes to play, we’re very good. When we take a night off, anybody can beat us.”
The Tigers found themselves trailing by five points after the first quarter, but they outscored the Raiders 25-15 in the second quarter to build a 38-33 lead.
The Tigers continued the momentum in the third quarter, with Mon Woodard knocking down a 3-pointer to push the lead to 44-33.
After the Raiders scored to get within nine, a Deo’vion Tucker 3-pointer jump-started an 11-2 run to make it a 55-38 game.
When Philpot scored with two seconds left in the third quarter, the Tigers were ahead 62-42.