ALBANY -- Every basketball coach in America stresses the importance of shooting free throws. Dougherty boys coach Donald Poole can now vouch for it.
Dougherty shot 23 free throws in the fourth period, making 16 as the Trojans pulled off a wild 69-57 win against Americus-Sumter on Saturday night. The victory avenged an earlier 66-54 loss at Americus
Dougherty (2-3) trailed the Panthers, 46-43, going into the final eight minutes when Arabian Williams began driving to the basket and getting hacked repeatedly.
Williams, who led all scorers with 21 points, sank a pair of free throws to tie the game at 48-48. Then Joshua Christian was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three freebies to boost the Trojans into a 51-48 lead they would not relinquish.
Fourteen of Williams' points came in the fourth quarter, eight of them coming at the free throw line.
"Coach called a timeout early in the fourth quarter and told me I was the leader. He told me I needed to put the tem on my back and carry us. So I did," Williams said. "I've never seen that many free throws in one period before."
McArthur Gaines added 19 points for the Trojans and Christian chipped in 14.
On the evening, both teams combined to attempt 60 shots from the charity stripe.
Americus-Sumter, meanwhile, opened with a 14-12 advantage at the end of the first period and stretched it to 33-26 at the half.
But the Trojans reeled off nine unanswered points to open the third period with a bucket by Williams giving Dougherty its first lead 35-33 with 3:30 remaining in the quarter.
The lead swapped hands three more times before the Panthers surged to a 46-43 lead going into the final period.
"We came out lazy tonight and didn't play very well the first couple of quarters," Poole said. "We were looking for Arabian to pick up his game. Because when he's playing well we can get into a flow. We saw that (Saturday night)."
When told his team shot 23 free throws to the Panthers' 10 in the final eight minutes, Poole seemed surprised.
"That many? Really?" Poole said. "I knew it was a few, but we'll take it any way we can get it."
Americus-Sumter, which fell to 3-6 with the loss, was led by 17 points from Deonte Fulks and 17 from James Burton. Dougherty will play in the U-Save It Classic next Saturday.
DOUGHERTY GIRLS 62, AMERICUS-SUMTER 52:
Lakandra Beeks scored 18 points and Jasmine Lavant added 16 as Dougherty opened an early lead and never trailed. The Lady Trojans also avenged a 60-48 loss earlier this month in Americus.
The victory offset a stellar performance by the Lady Panthers' Jayme Gilbert, who scored 21 of her teams 29 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 31 points. Gilbert, a junior point guard, scored 37 point in the teams' previous meeting.
This game also had a twist when the gym lost power midway in the third period and the game was delayed for 12 minutes until power was restored.
Douigherty, which improved to 2-3, reached its largest lead of the night at 13, 44-31 with three minutes to go in the third. The Lady Panters closed the gap to four points, 56-52 with 1:36 remaining in the game but couldn't get closer.
Dougherty then reeled off six unanswered points for the final margin.