Grangers fight hard in double-overtime loss
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The LaGrange Grangers finished a marathon week with a 63-59 double-overtime loss to Carver on Saturday in the third-place game in the Region 2-AAAA boys’ basketball tournament.
LaGrange played four games in four days, and it beat Columbus and Troup to qualify for state before falling to Hardaway and Carver.
LaGrange was ahead of Hardaway late before leading scorer Kobe Jones had to leave with an ankle injury, and the junior guard was unable to go against Carver.
Despite losing a veteran player who was coming off a 22-point effort against Troup in a must-win game earlier in the week, LaGrange hung tough with Carver a day after nearly beating a strong Hardaway team that went on to lose to Spencer in overtime in the region-championship game.
“We played the last game and a half basically without our three-year point guard,” said LaGrange head coach Mark Veal. “Hardaway took Spencer to overtime and had a shot to win at the end of regulation. And Carver is physically impressive. Without Kobe, we had guys step up and play well, and we should have won. If we hit a free throw, get a rebound, not turn it over. But, this will help us going forward.”
LaGrange will play Region 3-AAAA-champion New Hampstead in the first round of the state tournament on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Savannah.
In Saturday’s game with Carver, Javon Brown led the Grangers with 16 points, and fellow post player Garrett Jacobsen had a season-high 15 points.
Taylor Stephens, who did a lot of the ball-handling with Jones unavailable, added nine points, and guard Mydarius Scott added six points.
“Garrett and Javon played well in the post, and we had different guards step up,” Veal said. “Somebody stepped up and made a play all week.”
The Grangers struggled early, and they were behind 14-6 after the first quarter, and the deficit grew to nine in the second quarter before they found their footing. A Jacobsen basket followed by an Avery Hill 3-pointer got the Grangers within five, and by the half they were down 24-21.
The Grangers came out flying high after the halftime break, and they outscored the Tigers 20-8 in the third quarter to take a 41-32 lead.
The Grangers finished the third quarter on a 7-0 run, with a Stephens 3-pointer giving the home team a nine-point lead.
The Tigers rallied in the fourth quarter to go ahead by a point, but a Jacobsen basket with 20 seconds left gave the Grangers a 47-46 lead.
As time expired in regulation, LaGrange was called for a foul, sending Antonio Watts to the line.
Watts made the first free throw to tie it, but he missed the second one, and it was on to overtime.
In the first four-minute overtime period, the Grangers were down by two points when Jacobsen scored with five seconds left to tie it at 54-54, and the Tigers missed at the buzzer.
Brown scored after pulling down an offensive rebound with 2:30 left in the second overtime to tie the score.
After the Tigers scored the next four points, a pair of Brown free throws got the Grangers within two with 16 seconds left.
Devin Riles made two free throws to put the Tigers ahead by four, and the Grangers couldn’t convert on their end and time ran out.