LAGRANGE – It’s been an unfortunate theme for the Troup Lady Tigers.
The Lady Tigers have now played four Region 5-AAAA games that have been decided by six or fewer points, and they’ve lost them all.
The latest close loss came on Monday, with visiting Sandy Creek hanging on for a 39-36 victory.
The Lady Tigers (7-13 overall) fell to 1-7 in the region, and they have two regular-season games remaining, both on the road.
Troup will play Fayette County today before closing the regular season against Carrollton on Friday.
“They understand they’ve had opportunities to win,” Troup head coach Carla Thornton said. “So, we’re still just looking for that turnaround.”
The Lady Tigers had the ball at the end of Tuesday’s game down by three points, but a potential game-tying 3-pointer went awry, and it was the Lady Patriots surviving for the narrow win.
Earlier this season, Sandy Creek beat Troup 50-46 on its home floor.
Troup has also lost to Woodward Academy 55-52 and Whitewater 43-37.
The Tigers appear locked in as the number six seed for next week’s region tournament, and they’ll play the number three seed in a first-round game.
At the moment, Fayette County and Sandy Creek are tied for third place in the region with 3-5 records.
Troup has beaten Fayette County and lost two close ones to Sandy Creek, so it will be a winnable tournament game.
If Troup can win a game in the region tournament, it would advance to the semifinals while earning a spot in the state tournament.
“Right now, we’re looking at going in as number six,” Thornton said. “But the possibility (to make it to state) is still there.”
In Monday’s game, the Lady Tigers nearly overcame a scoreless drought that lasted more than five minutes spanning parts of the final two quarters.
When Troup’s Kiya Fulton made a 3-pointer with 2:05 left in the third quarter, Sandy Creek’s lead was 26-24.
By the close of the third period, Sandy Creek was on top 28-24, and it pushed that lead to 32-24 in the fourth quarter.
Finally with 4:35 left in the game, Aundracia Riggins scored to end Troup’s scoring drought and cut Sandy Creek’s lead to six.
The Lady Tigers kept charging, and when Shaqoya Gilbert made a pair of free throws with 1:31 left, the game was tied 36-36.
With 49 seconds remaining, Kasey Toles made a pair of free throws to give the Lady Patriots the lead, this time for good.
After Toles made a free throw with seven seconds left, the Lady Tigers got the ball down by three, but they were unable to tie it.
Kwyneshia Spence, who made 5-of-6 free-throw attempts, led Troup with 11 points.
Gilbert, who scored seven points in the fourth quarter, added nine points, and Jedda Madden scored seven points, all from the free-throw line.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports