The LaGrange Grangers have been involved in their share of close games this season.
They’ve won some of them, but they’ve also lost some tight ones.
Friday night against the visiting Shaw Raiders, the Grangers made sure a close game would go their way.
The Grangers either had the lead or were tied throughout the fourth quarter, but the Raiders were always just a few points away from taking the lead.
In the end, the Grangers made the plays they needed to down the stretch to secure a 66-64 victory in a Region 5-AAAA game.
LaPerion Perry had a big game for LaGrange with 26 points, and Derieko Smith added 18 points.
LaGrange improved to 3-5 in the region, and it avenged a close loss to Shaw earlier in the season.
LaGrange coach Mike Pauley has watched his team struggled to finish off games this season, but that wasn’t a problem Friday night.
“I felt better today,” Pauley said. “The kids’ mentality was better, they were more determined not to just jack up a bunch of shots.”
Early on, it looked like the Grangers might have an easy time of it.
The Grangers led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but the Raiders rallied to cut their deficit to 38-32 at the half.
“Give them credit. They made some changes,” Pauley said.
The Grangers were up by as many as eight points in the third quarter, but the Raiders wouldn’t go away.
By the close of the period, LaGrange’s lead was 54-49.
The Raiders got within one moments into the fourth period, and with 4:50 remaining, they pulled even at 56-56.
The Grangers had an answer.
Dante Hill scored off of an offensive rebound with 4:10 remaining to give the Grangers a 58-56 lead, and while it remained tight the rest of the way, the home team didn’t trail again.
The Grangers went up by as many as four points four more times, but each time the Raiders got within two.
With 20 seconds left, Logan Moody scored on a fastbreak layup to give the Grangers a 66-62 lead, and Hill came through with a big block on the other end to keep the lead at four.
Shaw scored with four seconds left to make it a 66-64 game, but LaGrange didn’t even have to put the ball in play and the clock ran out.
LaGrange will host Columbus today at 4:30 p.m. in a region game.