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Troup surges past LaGrange

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

The Troup Tigers used a dominant second quarter to upend the home-standing LaGrange Grangers 62-47 on Thursday night in the first of three regular-season meetings between the cross-town rivals.

Troup outscored LaGrange 24-7 in the second quarter to build a 38-16 lead at the half, and it had a double-digit lead throughout the second half.

The Grangers kept fighting and got within 11 points in the fourth quarter, but the night belonged to the Tigers.

“We got a little winded in the second half,” Troup head coach Blake Craft said. “We have to stay locked in for a full 32 minutes. You’ve got to keep playing. They’re going to make a run. You expect that. To their credit, they played a good third quarter, and we extended. We’ve got to keep finishing. We’ve got to keep going.”

It was, nonetheless, a quality road win for a Troup team that has won two in a row to even its record at 2-2.

Troup, which beat Lanett 49-47 on Tuesday, can move above .500 with a home win over Harris County on Saturday.

“You come into their place and win by 15,” Craft said. “Do we have a lot to work on? We do, but we still won by 15.”

While the Grangers fell short, they made a game of it after trailing by as many as 25 points in the third quarter.

LaGrange got within 11 points in the third quarter, but it was unable to get any closer.

“What I told (the players) was, what y’all showed tonight, there were multiple times where the game could have gotten bad, but y’all showed some fight, and started handling the ball better and started hitting some shots,” said LaGrange head coach Mark Veal. “We showed that we’ve got something about us. I was proud of the effort we showed to get back in it. You’re never proud of a loss, but it was a good fight to get back in the game.”

It was only the second regular-season game for LaGrange, which opened with a loss to Russell County.

“You can simulate everything you want to in practice, but when it comes down to it, you’ve got to get out here and play the games,” Veal said.

KJ Tucker, Troup’s talented senior, led his team with 22 points, and he had 11 points in the second quarter. Ricco Person added 10 points, Zy Varner and Tre Scott had seven points apiece, and Deo’vion  Tucker chipped in with six points.

For LaGrange, Javon Brown had 15 points, Taylor Stephens scored 11 points, Mydarius Scott contributed nine points, and Garrett Jacobsen scored six points.

Leading 14-9, Troup took control in the first half, dominating the action on both ends of the court to surge to a 38-16 halftime lead.

Tucker made two 3-pointers and was 5-of-5 from the free-throw line in the second quarter as Troup extended its lead to 22 points.

The Tigers were ahead by 25 points midway through the third quarter when the Grangers came to life. Stephens hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final three minutes of the third quarter, and the Grangers cut their deficit to 51-36 heading to the final quarter.

When Brown followed a miss shot with a dunk with 5:22 left in the game, Troup’s lead was down to 54-43.

LaGrange was still within11 with 2:38 remaining, but Troup scored the game’s final four points to win by 15.