LaGrange tips off season

By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor

November 25, 2013

The LaGrange High basketball teams will make the trek to Coweta County today to open their seasons.

LaGrange’s teams beat Upson-Lee last week, but those games didn’t count toward the win-loss total since they were preseason games.

LaGrange’s boys’ and girls’ teams will take on East Coweta today, with the girls’ game tipping off at 6 p.m., and the boys’ game to follow at 7:30 p.m.

The Troup and Callaway teams are scheduled to open their seasons next week.

Troup will open at home against Harris County on Dec. 3, while Callaway is scheduled to host Troup on Dec. 6.

If Callaway’s football team is still playing, though, those games will be re-scheduled.

LaGrange’s teams were impressive against Upson-Lee.

In the boys’ game, the Grangers rolled to a 70-51 victory.

LaGrange is replacing 10 key seniors from last year’s team that won a region championship and made it to the second round of the state tournament, so the Upson-Lee game marked the varsity debut for many of the players, including freshman LaPerion Perry, who made four 3-pointers and scored 20 points in his first game.

Sophomore Rieko Smith had 15 points, and Danterrius Bray scored 11 points.

None of the players on this team saw significant playing time a year ago.

“There’s not one,” LaGrange head coach Mike Pauley said. “Last year we had 10 seniors. We had 13 on the team, and three juniors who never played unless we got way up.”

The LaGrange girls’ team is in pretty much the same situation.

Gone are most of the key contributors from last year’s team that finished second in the region and advanced to the second round at state.

One of the players who did get significant playing time a year ago, Andrea Heflin, scored 22 points in the 53-30 win over Upson-Lee.

Head coach Jan Jones said the effort has been there with the players, there’s just still a lot of learning to do.

“They play hard. That’s the biggest thing,” Jones said. “I feel like if we can start to learn our assignments, the playing hard and the mental toughness is going to be there. We have to start understanding the game a little better.”