Gilbert drops 30 to lift Troup to big win over LaFayette

Published 8:16 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2023

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Troup’s girls basketball team used some suffocating defense to power their way past LaFayette 48-19.

“Getting these wins early with our hustle and effort means a lot because the team is young and still learning how to play with each other,” Troup coach Carla Thornton said.

The Tiger defense was impenetrable as the Bulldogs did not crack double figures until the third quarter.

“We played with a ton of energy (on defense),” Thornton said. “We dug in and played with a lot of energy, and we were able to get some turnovers and easy baskets because of our work on that end. It felt like everybody brought something to the table on defense.”

The Tigers are a young team as Thornton works to figure out how all her young pieces fit together in the opening three games of the season.

“I’ve learned a whole lot about them, but I’m still figuring out what they can do well and who plays well together,” Thornton said. “We have a whole lot of new faces, and we are still trying to figure out how it all goes together.”

Troup’s offense gave the team just enough spark to get an advantage early and never looked back. It was slow going for both offenses at first as they looked to knock off the rust in the early season goings. 

Freshman Ma’liyah Gilbert kept the offense going, with her ability to penetrate the paint and step back and hit the 3-pointer. She scored the first six points of the game.

“She brings a ton of energy for us,” Thornton said. “She is a really confident player despite being a freshman.”

Gilbert finished with 30 points including five 3-pointers, all while resting the entirety of the fourth quarter as the Tigers had built a large lead. Gilbert was also a menace on the defensive end, getting in passing lanes and swatting shots into the bleachers.

After Gilbert scored the opening six points, the Bulldogs quickly answered back with five points, but that was as close as the game would be as the Tigers took control from there.

Jaz Williams scored the final three points of the first quarter to give Troup a 9-5 lead heading to the second quarter. Williams was second on the team with eight points.

The Tigers offense clicked into gear in the second as they took a 24-9 lead into the break.

Troup was without one of their best-returning players, sophomore Sheniyah Philpot, who could make her return as soon as Saturday against Valley.

The Bulldogs were led by Andereka Williams and Aronique Kyles, who finished with six points apiece.

Troup (2-1) will host Valley (AL) on Saturday before matching the Bulldogs on the road next Tuesday.

“They are still learning the offense and learning where they are supposed to be on the court and that is going to take a little while,” Thornton said. “The best way for them to learn is by playing games.”