After beginning their Region 5-AAAA schedule with a last-second win over the Shaw Raiders, the LaGrange Grangers found themselves embroiled in another down-to-the wire region game against Alexander Friday night.
And once again, the Grangers found a way to get it done late.
Alexander had the ball last down by a point, but a potential game-winning shot in the paint didn’t drop, and LaGrange walked away with a 48-47 victory.
The Grangers (11-2 overall) improved to 2-0 in region play.
“One of the things I was really pleased with was players and coaches were really working on the same page at the end of the game,” LaGrange head coach Mike Pauley said. “Even though we had a couple of flubs, it wasn’t because we weren’t trying. Everybody was trying. A lot of good things can happen when you have a lot of energy moving in the same direction.”
The game was tied 46-46 when LaGrange’s Kwame Brown scored a few feet from the basket on a nice pass from Justyn Olson with 36 seconds remaining.
Jermaine Carpenter made one-of-two free throws with 16 seconds remaining to get the Cougars within a point at 48-47.
The Grangers then committed a turnover with 11 seconds left, and the Cougars had a chance to win it.
Alexander went inside with the ball, and while there was some jostling around in the paint, a foul wasn’t called, and the final shot went off the rim.
Don Leak led LaGrange with 11 points and did a nice job inside, and Olson and Brown added nine and eight points, respectively.
The Cougars led 13-11 after the first quarter, and they were up 28-25 at the half and 37-35 through three periods.
The Grangers started the fourth period on a 5-0 run, with Leak’s dunk making it a 40-37 game with seven minutes remaining.
The Cougars came back and tied it at 40-40 on a three-point play, and neither team led by more than two points the rest of the way.
The Grangers were playing without two of their top players, seniors Drew Moody and Joe Sanders.
Moody has an injured ankle, and Sanders is making a football recruiting visit to the University of Washington.
Although Moody wasn’t playing, Pauley still relied on him to contribute to the team.
“We had one of our playrs, Drew Moody, step up as a real team leader,” Pauley said. “He started talking to the guys, and he grabbed that one player and he said look here, and he told that kid how he needed to act. He got that kid back in the game, and he ended up doing really well.”
The Grangers will try to improve their region record to 3-0 when they visit Fayette County today.