LAGRANGE – The Troup Lady Tigers made things interesting late, but in the end, it was the LaGrange Lady Grangers walking away with a 58-49 victory in the first of two games between the two county rivals this season.
It looked like LaGrange was going to cruise to the win after taking a 51-39 lead with less than three minutes remaining, but Troup kept fighting.
Troup’s Shaqoya Gilbert, who led all scorers with 22 points, scored eight points in a span of about 40 seconds to cut LaGrange’s lead to six with nearly two minutes to play.
That’s as close as Troup came, though, and LaGrange was able to regain control and earn the hard-fought win on its home floor to improve to 3-1.
It was the first loss of the season for the Lady Tigers, who fell to 2-1.
“They did some things to make us uncomfortable,” LaGrange head coach Jan Fendley said. “They’ve got a couple of guards that are good. They’re talented. They’re hard to stop on offense, and they play defense and break you down. They have a talented team. I told them it was going to be a dogfight.”
Troup head coach Carla Thornton was proud of the way her team hung in there on a night when a lot of things went wrong.
Most notably, some of Troup’s players were in foul trouble most of the night, and three of them fouled out.
“Everybody was in foul trouble in the first half, and we still had a chance to win,” Thornton said. “I tipped my hat to the ladies. We were still in the game.”
Shania Woodard had a big game inside for LaGrange with 18 points, and Chnairiea Strozier had 16 points, and she was 8-of-12 from the free-throw line.
Aryan Dozier contributed 14 points for LaGrange.
For Troup, Gilbert made four 3-pointers, and she scored 10 points in the fourth period on the way to her 22-point night.
Kiya Fulton added nine points for Troup.
Trailing 28-21 at the half, the Lady Tigers got as close as four points in the third period, and the Lady Grangers took a 42-36 lead into the final quarter.
When Erica Daniel completed a three-point play with 2:44 to play, LaGrange’s lead was 51-39.
Gilbert scored with 2:30 to play to make it a 10-point game.
Moments later after a LaGrange turnover, Gilbert knocked down a 3-pointer, and just like that Troup’s deficit was down to seven.
Gilbert made another 3-pointer with 1:58 to play to make it a seven-point game, but LaGrange outscored Troup 5-2 the rest of the way.
LaGrange enjoyed a nice advantage from the free-throw line.
The Lady Grangers were 20-of-35 from the free-throw line, while the Lady Tigers struggled and were 10-of-31 from the line.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports