LAGRANGE – It was there for the taking.
As Friday’s game between the Troup Lady Tigers and the Woodward Academy Lady War Eagles hit the home stretch, it could have gone either way.
In the end, it was the visiting Lady War Eagles holding on for a 55-52 victory in the Region 5-AAAA game.
The outcome wasn’t decided until Troup’s Kwyneshia Spence just missed on a shot from half court as time expired.
“It was a good game,” Troup head coach Carla Thornton said. “That’s what I told the kids. I hate for anybody to lose that game. Unfortunately, it was us.”
Thornton said her team’s struggles from the free-throw line were costly.
“We missed 19 free throws,” Thornton said. “That was the difference in the game.”
Jedda Madden paced the Lady Tigers with 12 points, and Shaqoya Gilbert added 10 points.
Kiya Fulton and Cortney Alexander each scored six points.
The Lady Tigers, who were down 26-24 at the half, found themselves trailing by eight points when the Lady War Eagles’ Madison McGarrah hit a 3-pointer with a little more than two minutes left in the third quarter.
Troup fought back.
Gilbert and Alexander both scored after pulling down offensive rebounds to get Troup within four, and when the quarter ended, Woodward Academy’s lead was 45-41.
The Lady Tigers never led or pulled even in the fourth period, but they never let the game get away with them.
Each time it looked like Woodward Academy was about to take control, Troup answered with a big basket to keep it close.
The Lady Tigers got within two when Alexander made two free throws with 5:08 to play, but that’s as close as they got.
Troup was trailing by five when Gilbert scored with four seconds remaining to cut Woodward Academy’s lead to 55-52.
Troup then forced a turnover, and Spence got the ball near midcourt with just enough time to heave a desperation shot from halfcourt.
The shot didn’t miss by much, but it didn’t fall, and it was Woodward Academy coming away with the hard-fought win.
Troup (6-7 overall, 0-2 in the region) will look for its breakthrough region win on Tuesday when it visits Whitewater.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports