ALBANY -- Dougherty High head coach Donald Poole likes the thrilling finishes.
But these close-but-no-cigar losses are getting old.
For the second time in the U-Save-It Pharmacy Holiday Classic, the Trojans fell in the final seconds, this time to Mt. Zion (Jonesboro), 49-47, after leading for nearly the entire second half.
Dougherty senior Arabian Williams found McArthur Gaines under the basket with a perfect alley-oop pass that would have tied the game at the end of regulation, but Gaines' lay-in rimmed out as the buzzer sounded. On Saturday, Williams missed two free throws Saturday with six seconds to play in a 51-49 loss to Statesboro to open the holiday hoopla.
"It's exciting, but, you know, we've just got to finish," Poole said afterward. "I think this will help us in the long run. We had a couple chances under the goal and we've just got to capitalize."
Dougherty led, 47-44, with 3:15 to play, but the Trojans (2-5) didn't score another point the rest of the way. Mt. Zion's Jarrell King hit two free throws with 1:10 left to give the Bulldogs (6-4) the lead, 48-47, which would be enough for coach Chris Jones, a former Albany State player, and his team in their first game in the classic.
"I come down here for the competition," Jones said of the annual holiday basketball in Albany. "We needed this type of victory to make sure we knew how to win games that were close like that."
The Bulldogs blanketed Williams, Dougherty's best scoring threat, for most of the night, holding him without a point until the six-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Williams scored all eight of his points in the final quarter, but also showed off his usual gritty play in other areas, recording eight rebounds and three steals.
"The scouting report is, control (No.) 10 (Williams), you can control them," Jones said. "He's a helluva player."
No Dougherty players scored in double figures. Williams, Chris Holmes and Marcus Brunson all finished with eight points each. Mt. Zion's Steve Wilson led all scorers with 13. King added 12.
Dougherty will seek its first win in the holiday classic today at 5:30 p.m. against Swainsboro. Mt. Zion plays Westover at 8:30 p.m. All games are played at Albany High.
MONROE BOYS 54, SWAINSBORO 42:
Swainsboro drew the short straw when matchups were selected for the basketball classic, having to face both undefeated Albany city powers, Westover and Monroe. The Tigers put up a fight in both, but came up short -- Saturday against Westover and again Monday versus the near 100 percent healthy Tornadoes.
Carlos Brown slammed home the first points of the game and Monroe (8-0) never relinquished the lead. The closest Swainsboro (3-5) got was within eight at 42-34 with 3:30 to play on Malcolm Eady's 3-pointer, but Monroe's Robert Arnold scored six points in a rows to put the Tigers away.
Arnold finished with a game-high 15 points and Tornadoes fans finally got to see Herald Super 6 athlete Brandon Johnson get some extended run after missing the first six games of the year due to a knee injury.
The 6-foot-8 Johnson scored 10 points Monday after scoring two Saturday in limited action -- his first full-speed game action since July.
"It feels good to be back out there," Johnson said. "I'm still kind of winded, but it's coming along. January, region (play) -- it's on baby. It's just getting myself ready in these games so January I'll be ready."
Swainsboro was led by Lynquez Blair's 12 points. Monroe finishes up its play in the U-Save-It Pharmacy classic today vs. Miller County at 7 p.m.
WESTOVER BOYS 78, QUITMAN COUNTY 35:
Westover was deep into its bench in the second quarter Monday after jumping out to a 24-13 lead at the end of the first and leading 41-19 at halftime.
The Patriots (9-0) had four players finish in double-
digits: Brandon Hudson (18), Keion Miller (11), Malcolm Sapp (11), and Onochie Ochie (10).
Quitman, however, had the play of the night with Cornelius Upshaw's alley-oop dunk from Dontavious McElroy. Upshaw finished with 15, while McElroy had 13. The Hornets face Riverdale today at 11:30 a.m.
ALBANY BOYS 60, MCINTOSH 58:
The Indians improved to 2-0 in the U-Save-It Classic by narrowly beating McIntosh Academy on Monday behind 11 points from Tim Pierce and nine from Larry Sanford -- good enough to overcome an outstanding game by McIntosh's Mario Dixon, who led all scorers with 27 points.
Albany plays Statesboro today at 4 p.m.
MILLER COUNTY 54, COLQUITT COUNTY 38:
The Pirates' Will Martin led all scorers with 22 points, while Colquitt's Lawhe Wingfield (9) was the high man for the Packers.
Miller County plays Monroe today at 7 p.m., while Colquitt faces SE Bulloch at 2:30 p.m.