Both teams had their fair share of speed bumps.
There were plenty of ups, and downs and runs. There was no quit in either the Lady Tigers or the Lady Grangers. Their Friday night Region 5-AAAA backyard rivalry was decided by some good old fashioned basketball execution.
And LaGrange High had much more of that. The Lady Grangers played with a sense of urgency in the second half as they finished off Troup High, 6146 on the Lady Tigers court.
Troup High celebrated “Senior Night,” and the Lady Grangers left with a tasty win. The second half of the game was played in front of a packed house with well over 2,000 fans in the Troup High gym.
Feeding off the adrenaline and the buzz was Lady Granger senior guard Aryan Dozier. She tickled the twine with 32 points. Dozier scored with jump shots, power moves, layups and free throws.
She was feeling it, and the Lady Grangers were winning it. The only thing that was heard above the roar of the crowd was the ball falling through the net. The LaGrange High girls busted the nylon, and they wore down the Lady Tigers.
“We spread them out. We worked hard, and we pushed each other,” said Dozier.
LaGrange High rallied from a seven-point deficit in the second quarter. Troup High senior guard Jedda Madden drained a threepointer to give the Lady Tigers a 16-9 lead with 6:52 left in the first half.
The Lady Grangers then got off the deck with a 7-0 run to tie the game at 1616. LaGrange High and the Lady Tigers were tied six times in the first half. Troup High would re-capture the lead with a Madden putback for an 18-16 advantage.
Dozier then tied the game at 18-18 with a layup with 3:01 remaining in the second period. And with 2:25 left in the first half, Dozier sank two free throws for a 20-18 Lady Granger lead.
The ball would soon bounce in Troup High’s direction. Senior guard Valerie Smith bagged two foul shots for the Lady Tigers to knot the game up at 20-20. But LaGrange High followed that up with an 8-0 run, courtesy of senior guard Mo Strozier and the 5-foot-9 Dozier.
They led the Lady Grangers to a 28-20 halftime lead.
“Our girls believe in our system. We got countless steals. We just want to win, and that is contagious,” said LaGrange High girls basketball coach Stephen Tuck.
The Lady Grangers would do some heavy lifting on this night as they improved their region record to 9-0. LaGrange High is 13-9 overall.
In the third quarter the Lady Grangers kept on jabbing and scoring. Dozier opened up the LaGrange High lead to 10 points with a layup. Troup High senior Aundracia Riggins and sophomore forward Amber Gilbert converted on backto- back layups as well to trim the Lady Granger lead to 30-24.
LaGrange High found some more offense and scorers. After a Dozier layup and a bucket from sophomore guard Chaquave’ayr Robinson, the Lady Grangers had another double-digit advantage at 40-30 with 2:27 left in the third quarter.
Troup High still kept hinting at a comeback. Even in the final minute of the third period the Lady Tigers were still down by a mere six points at 42-36 after a Jedda Madden field goal.
“We battled hard,” said coach Carla Thornton of Troup High (9-7 overall, 4-4 in the region).
Madden would then score the first bucket of the fourth quarter for the Lady Tigers. Madden’s four-foot jumper melted the LaGrange High lead to 45-39. That woke up the Lady Grangers, who went on a 16-7 run to put a stranglehold on this region triumph.
Even with another Madden steal and field goal in the final three minutes for Troup High, it still wasn’t enough for the Lady Tigers. Dozier would can a threepoint shot with 2:11 remaining for LaGrange High.
And the Lady Grangers would hand Troup High a stinging defeat.
“We made some bad passes, and we had too many turnovers. We could not make our free throws,” said Troup High’s Carla Thornton.
She still got a good effort from her girls, along with 14 points from Madden, 12 points from Amber Gilbert and six points from freshman guard Jada Green. LaGrange High knew where to go with the ball, too.
Not only did the Lady Grangers get 32 points from Dozier, LaGrange High also got 13 points from Mo Strozier and five points from Chaquave’ayr Robinson.