The LaGrange Grangers started strong, and they finished even better on Friday to secure a win over the rival Troup Tigers.
Before a packed house at LaGrange that featured boisterous cheering sections on both sides, the Grangers secured a 72-55 victory in a Region 5-AAAA showdown.
The Grangers (8-8 overall) improved their region record to 2-4, while the Tigers (5-7) fell to 1-4 in the region.
The Grangers charged out to a 10-point lead less than three minutes into the game, but the Tigers found their footing, and after taking a momentary lead in the second quarter, they were down by five at the half.
The second half was all LaGrange.
The Grangers went back up by 10 points midway through the third period, and they led by at least eight points the rest of the way.
The Grangers led by as many as 18 points in the fourth period on the way to the 17-point victory.
“We took the lead, and we just kind of pulled away,” LaGrange head coach Mike Pauley said. “I’m real pleased with the guys.”
Freshman LaPerion Perry led the Grangers with 15 points, and he scored 13 of those points in the final quarter.
Danterrious Bray, whose outside shooting help the Grangers get off to a fast start, added 13 points, and Derieko Smith and Mike Hardy added 11 points apiece.
Dy Dunlap, who had three 3-pointers, added 10 points.
Jamal Wilkerson paced the Tigers with 18 points.
Pauley shook things up a bit at the start of the game with a different starting lineup than what the team had been using, and it paid dividends.
Bray and Dy Dunlap hit some early 3-pointers to help the Grangers surge to a 12-2 lead.
“I’m really pleased with the way the guys started,” Pauley said. “It was five juniors, and they’re used to playing together. And they did a good job.”
The Tigers got within five points late in the quarter, but Bray’s 3-pointer gave LaGrange a 21-14 lead after the first period.
At the start of the second period, Troup put together its best stretch of the game.
Tre Sullivan completed a three-point play early in the second period to jump-start an 8-0 run that gave the Tigers a 22-21 lead with 4:13 left in the half.
Dunlap answered with a 3-pointer at the 3:45 mark to give the Grangers a 24-22 lead.
After the Tigers tied it, Dante Hill’s basket with 3:10 left gave the Grangers a 26-24 lead, and they didn’t trail again.
By the half, LaGrange was on top 33-28.
The Grangers went up by 10 on a Smith free throw with 4:38 left in the third period, and Bray’s 3-pointer gave his team a 52-39 heading into the final quarter.
LaGrange’s lead was at least 13 points throughout the fourth quarter.
Perry made 11-of-12 free-throw attempts in the final period to help LaGrange pull away.
Troup will host Shaw on Tuesday, and LaGrange will be on the road against Carrollton.