Grangers win instant classic in the Tiger den

Published 10:39 pm Friday, February 10, 2023

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It was anything but easy for the LaGrange boys basketball team on Friday as they went to crosstown rival Troup’s house and came away with a narrow 73-68 victory.

The game was a true four quarter war and even when it felt like LaGrange took control of the game, the Tigers had an answer.

Unfortunately for the home crowd, Troup struggled to get the offense going early, trailing 17-8 after the end of the first quarter. The Tigers showed some grit and got the offense going in the second to cut the deficit to just seven points heading into halftime. Qua Moss gave the Tigers a bossy of energy off the bench and scored six of his eight points in the quarter to help spark the offense.

LaGrange was able to snatch the momentum back after the break and was able to extend the lead back to double figures heading into the final quarter of play.

Troup put together quite the rally and cut the lead to four early in the fourth quarter but it looked like the run was going to fizzle out. The Tigers were eventually able to cut it to a one-score game when Taeo Todd hit a silky smooth layup with 2:06 left. Todd had put together a solid offensive showing on the evening and finished with 13 points. 

With the Tigers trailing by three, Desmon Cunningham hit the biggest shot of his life on a 3-pointer to tie the game with under a minute to play.

The Grangers were able to retake the lead the following possession when Devin Dowell sunk two free throws right in front of the traveling LaGrange student section.

Dowell scored the winning points for the Grangers, but it was J’Arthur Dunn who made the winning play for the Grangers. When a Tiger player jackknifed his way through the LaGrange defense, he met him at the rim to pull off a sensational game-winning block.

The game lived up to the billing and then some as neither team gave an inch in their 32 minutes shared on the court.

Despite the Tigers coming up just short, Deo’Vion Tucker put the team on his back and put together an iconic fourth quarter performance in the LaGrange-Troup rivalry. He finished with 11 of his 15 points in the fourth and consistently initiated the offense, including the assist on Cunningham’s clutch shot as he collapsed the defense and helped create space for a shooter.

For LaGrange, Devin Dowell was simply unguardable at times. He finished with 26 points to lead all scorers and was a constant thorn in the side of the Tigers all night. Garrett Jacobsen gave the Grangers a steady presence in the post and finished with 13 points. 

The game got chippy over the course of 32 minutes as can be expected from these heated rivals. Both teams were issued technical fouls but the game never spilled over into any unnecessary theatrics or fighting.

Troup finished the regular season with a 11-16 record overall and 2-12 record in region play to finish seventh in the standings. 

LaGrange finished the regular season 19-6 overall and 10-4 in region play. The Grangers finished second in the region standings and have locked up a playoff spot.

Both teams will play in the region tournament with the top four teams in the region tournament going to the playoffs.