Troup runs away from LaFayette to stay perfect under Hammett

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Troup boys basketball team is off to a perfect start under first-year coach Vacher Hammett after dominating LaFayette 66-39 for their second win of the season.

“I told my team if we can hold teams to under 40 points a game this season, we are going to win most of our games because we have the firepower to score over 50,” Hammett said. 

It was a slow start for the Tigers, who trailed 9-7 late in the first quarter but closed on a 6-0 run, capitalized by a DeJaylen Campbell 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer on a beautiful pass from Dee Moreland that saw Troup up 13-7 after one.

Both offenses found more of a rhythm in the second quarter, especially the Tigers, who once again got a shot to go at the buzzer when Jaylen Brown hit a basket and foul shot to put Troup up 24-16 at the break. Closing quarters on a positive note was a huge factor in the Tigers’ victory.

“Those gave us a lot of momentum,” Hammett said. “Momentum swung our way on those end-of-the-quarter baskets and gave us something to build on at the breaks.”

The third quarter was all Tigers as they were able to get some separation. The Tigers hit a 3-pointer just seconds into the second half to put Troup up by double figures, but the Bulldogs had a quick answer with four points that caused Hammett to use a timeout. Whatever he said in the huddle had the Tigers fired up as they rattled off 15 straight points to take a commanding 42-20 lead.

“We ramped up our defensive pressure, and we made a lot of easy baskets cutting to the hoop,” Hammett said. “Our defense started it and led to some easy baskets.”

The Bulldogs could never quite claw their way back into the game, trimming the deficit to 14 points heading to the fourth quarter but never closing the gap to a manageable total.

The full-court press from the Tigers caused the Bulldogs problems up and down the court.

“That was causing them a lot of problems,” Hammett said. “We switched a box and one on their shooter and after that, we limited what he was able to do as well.”

It was a balanced attack on offense as well with nine different players scoring, four in double figures, and the ball consistently in motion.

“Seeing the ball move around makes me feel really good because it is hard to find teams made up of so many young people that are willing to share the ball because there is usually a kid that wants to be in the spotlight, but not these guys,” Hammett said. “This team is very unselfish, and it is a coach’s dream.”

In a team full of youth, Campbell, a junior, offers the team some real leadership and led the team with 18 points on the evening, including three 3-pointers.

“I started one junior and four sophomores tonight and you can’t really tell that they are that young,” Hammett said. “He always has his head on a swivel and leaves his heart out there on the court.He is not very tall, but he plays big.”

Campbell was not alone on the offensive end as Brown (16) and Dee Moreland (11) were the second and third leading scorers on the evening.

It was more of a struggle on offense for the Bulldogs as no player reached double figures.

The Tigers will put their undefeated record under Thrasher to the test on Saturday when they host reigning AAAAA state champions of Alabama, Valley High, at home on Saturday.

“We are not going to change anything, and we are looking forward to playing the reigning state champs,” Hammett said. “We are going to have to bring out A-game and shoot the ball well. They are going to have to run with us.”

In the meantime, the Tigers will travel to take on Manchester on Friday as they look to move to 3-0 heading into the weekend’s clash.