LaGrange keeps season alive with region tournament win

Published 11:51 pm Monday, February 13, 2023

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LaGrange’s season got extended life when the Grangers topped Whitewater 41-33 in a tight affair in the opening round of the region tournament.

“We never hung our heads tonight,” LaGrange coach Stephen Tuck said. “Even when things didn’t go our way we regrouped and stayed focused. I’m proud of the girls for going out there and finishing the game. 

The Grangers had to pull one out late as they could not find any separation until the fourth quarter.

The first half was a struggle as neither team gave an inch and both offenses struggled to manufacture quality looks. The teams traded blows and were tied 7-7 at the end of the first quarter and 13-13 heading into halftime. 

The offenses picked up in the third quarter with the Grangers being outscored 16-15 and needed to dig the game out in the fourth quarter.

“It was a gutsy performance,” Tuck said. “We beat that team twice already and we knew they were going to come out and play hard because they had nothing to lose. We did a good job finishing and closing the game out. 

The Grangers completely took over the fourth quarter and made the final score look more comfortable than the game actually was. LaGrange got some easy turnovers and got out in transition. LaGrange’s defense buckled down with the season on the line and only allowed four points over the final eight minutes of play.

One of the faults of the Grangers team reared its ugly head once again on Monday with the team missing 13 free throws. LaGrange has missed 33 free throws over the last two games and Tuck knows that will have to be better if the Grangers are to pull an upset in the next round of the region tournament and book a spot in the state playoffs. 

“Free throws have been our demise the entire season,” Tuck said. “We are getting to the line at a tremendous rate but it is like a turnover when you miss a free throw

The scoring was spread out for LaGrange with nine different players getting in the scoring column in the game. Corriah Williams led the Grangers in scoring with 10 points and connected on two 3-pointers in the third quarter to help keep LaGrange in the game. Payton Swint came up big in the second half, scoring all eight of her points over the final two quarters of play. 

Brittney Heard and Ta’Niya Taylor each finished with six points in the game.

LaGrange will be heading to Whitewater on Wednesday to take on Trinity Christian at 7:30 with a spot in the state playoffs on the line.

“I want to see better offensive execution,” Tuck said. “At times we looked decent on offense but we have to execute at a higher level on Wednesday. We still have so much room for improvement.”