Floor burns come with the territory in the LaGrange High-Troup girls basketball rivalry.
Even when it’s over, it’s not over. The Lady Grangers-Lady Tigers feud lasts seven days a week and 12 months a year. On Friday night the rivalry got especially volatile, however.
The two teams met again for old time sake and five quarters of basketball. Four periods just weren’t enough. The Lady Tigers and Lady Grangers would need an overtime period to decide the Region 5-AAAA encounter at Troup High.
When the dust had settled and the game was over, LaGrange High was floating on a cloud with a 55-50 win over the arch-rival Lady Tigers.
“We played defense. We kept fighting, and we stuck together. We knocked down some free throws, and we had some fun,” said LaGrange High coach Stephen Tuck.
It wasn’t easy, however. The Lady Grangers were down 38-31 before going on an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter to take a one-point lead. LaGrange High used the “team approach” with key baskets from senior center Shania Woodard, junior guard Aryan Dozier and sophomore Blair Herrod.
A three-pointer from Herrod tied the game at 38-38. Dozier then sank one of two free throws to give the Lady Grangers a one-point advantage at 39-38. Dozier would strike again with two more buckets, a three-pointer included.
But Troup High would rally and deadlock the game at 47-47. The Lady Tigers would tie the game on a field goal from freshman forward Amber Gilbert with just over two seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Gilbert’s bucket sent the game to overtime. Troup High would go on and score just three more points in the game. Junior guard Chnairea Strozier gave the Lady Grangers the lead at 49-47 on a fast break layup with 3:55 left in the overtime.
Dozier would tack on a layin, and Strozier would score on a layup with 1:29 remaining in the extra period of play for a 53-48 La- Grange High lead. Troup High would score on Amber Gilbert’s three-foot hook shot with 46 seconds left.
But Strozier would put the final brush strokes on this Lady Granger win by making two free throws with 14.5 seconds remaining. The overtime win was LaGrange High’s, on the road, too.
The Lady Grangers were one ecstatic team with an 11-9 record (5-3 in the region). Troup High was miffed and beaten. The Lady Tigers were escorted off the court with a 12-9 overall record (54 in the region).
“The game got emotional. We stopped executing, and LaGrange wanted it more,” said Troup High head coach Carla Thornton.
Gilbert still wound up with 19 points for the Lady Tigers. Troup High’s Jedda Madden and ShaQoya Gilbert tallied seven points each. The Lady Tigers also got six points from senior guard Kwyneshia Spence and five points from Akhya Mitchell.
The winning Lady Grangers also found their shooting touch with 32 points from Dozier, 11 points from Woodard and nine points from Strozier.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer