LAGRANGE – They’re off to a nice start.
The Troup Lady Tigers jumped into a new season with a 50-40 road win over Harris County on Saturday, and they’ll make their home debut today against Chattahoochee County.
The Troup boys’ team, which evened its record at 1-1 with a win over Harris County, will also play Chattahoochee County today.
LaGrange High’s boys’ and girls’ teams will continue their seasons today with home games against Woodward Academy, and Callaway’s teams will kick off a new season on Friday at Greenville.
Also today, Lafayette Christian School’s teams will open with home games against Central Christian, and LaGrange Academy’s teams will return from a more than two-week break with home games against Oak Mountain on Friday.
For the Troup girls’ team, it was an encouraging beginning to what could be a successful season.
The Lady Tigers went 7-19 last season, but they made tremendous strides after combining to win just four games the previous two seasons.
The Lady Tigers were competitive in most of their games, and head coach Carla Thornton said the goal now is to turn those close losses into wins.
“Our main focus last year was to compete,” Thornton said. “So now, our focus is going to be to win those games. We feel like we have the talent to do so. And we have real good team chemistry. We have a lot of fun with each other. We enjoy being around each other. As a coach, that’s something you love.”
All but one player from last season’s team is returning, and many of the top contributors from a year ago were freshmen and sophomores, so those players should be ready to take a major step up.
“The energy level is way up, and so is the confidence level,” Thornton said. “The girls, they know what to expect now. They know what we’re asking of them. So they go out, and they get it done. They don’t have to overthink things. I think that’s what they were doing a lot of times last year.”
In the Harris County game, junior Kwyneshia Spence scored 14 points, Sophomore Shaqoya Gilbert added nine points, and sophomore Kiya Fulton scored eight points.
Nine of the 11 players on the team scored.
“We’re way ahead of where we were last year, so that’s always a promising thing,” Thornton said. “And we got so many people involved. I played everybody, and nine people scored, so that was a real positive.”
Troup’s boys’ team, after opening with a loss to Newnan, hung on for a 48-46 victory over Harris County, and the Tigers will try to make it two in a row today.
Troup’s teams end the week with games against their county rivals.
Troup will visit LaGrange on Friday before hosting Callaway on Saturday.
LaGrange High’s teams are both 2-0 heading into today’s regular-season home openers against Woodward Academy, and they’ll be back at home on Friday for the showdown with Troup.
LaGrange’s teams opened the season with road wins over Newnan and Mundy’s Mill, and they also beat Central-Carroll in preseason basketball.
The last of the local teams to get the season under way will be the ones from Callaway.
Callaway has road games against Greenville on Friday and Troup on Saturday.
In Friday’s boys’ game, it’ll be a matchup of two teams that are coming off stellar seasons.
Greenville reached the semifinals of the Class A state tournament before losing to Calhoun County 84-82, and Callaway won a third consecutive region championship and made it to the quarterfinals in Class AAA.
In last year’s game, Greenville beat Callaway 95-94 in a thriller.
LaGrange Academy’s teams, who last played on Nov. 19 against Trinity, will be at home against Oak Mountain on Friday.
Lafayette Christian’s teams will begin their seasons at home against Central Christian today.
In the boys’ game, some of the players who met in Friday’s state-championship football game will see other again, this time on the hardwood.
Lafayette Christian beat Central Christian to win the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association football state title.
Lafayette Christian’s teams will be on the road against Holy Ground on Friday.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
Central Christian at Lafayette Christian, 5 p.m.
Chattahoochee County at Troup, 6 p.m.
Woodward Academy at LaGrange, 6 p.m.
Troup at LaGrange, 6 p.m.
Callaway at Greenville, 6 p.m.
Oak Mountain at LaGrange Academy, 6 p.m.
Lafayette Christian at Holy Ground, 6 p.m.
Callaway at Troup, 6 p.m.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports