COLLEGE PARK – They bounced back from their first loss of the season in fine fashion.
After opening the season with eight straight wins, the LaGrange Grangers lost to South Atlanta on Monday in their opening game in the War Eagle Classic at Woodward Academy.
A day later, the Grangers were back on the court against Dutchtown in their final game in the War Eagle Classic.
Dutchtown made things interesting with a late-game rally, but LaGrange held on for a 60-53 victory to improve to 9-1.
Derieko Smith led LaGrange with 17 points, and junior standout Kenan Gray added 10 points and provided his usual formidable presence in the paint.
Gray was limited during the South Atlanta game because of an injury, and his presence was missed.
“Kenan Gray didn’t really play against South Atlanta,” Veal said. “He got hurt in practice, a chest contusion, and he played tonight. He was more healthy, and he played a lot of minutes. He definitely helped us. We gave up 17 offensive rebounds against South Atlanta. They’re not going to get as many with him.”
Leading by 16 points through three periods, the Grangers found themselves clinging to a four-point lead with about three minutes remaining, but they were able to pull away for the win.
The Grangers led 12-8 after the first period, and they were up 30-21 at the half before extending the lead to 47-31 heading into the final quarter.
LaGrange will return to the court on Monday for the start of the three-day LaGrange Toyota Basketball Classic.
LaGrange will play WD Mohammed at 7:30 p.m. in its tournament opener.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports