ALBANY -- MacArthur Gaines believes in the old saying, "look good, play good."
Dressed in slacks, a button-down shirt and svelte coat, Gaines strolled out of the Dougherty High gym Tuesday after dropping a career-high 28 points in a 69-52 win over Cairo.
The Super 6er Gaines and the Trojans may have traded in their business pants for gym shorts, but they were all business in opening Region 1-AAA play in impressive fashion early in the season.
Gaines buried two of his three 3-pointers in the first half and barely missed from the floor, leading Dougherty (2-0, 1-0 Region 1-AAA) out to a 31-22 halftime advantage.
"I had the hot hand early but kind of cooled off in the second half," Gaines said.
The Trojans jumped out to a 9-2 lead to start the game and never trailed after that, getting 10 points from Thalandis Chester and nine points and 10 rebounds from Chris Holmes. Coming off an Elite Eight appearance a season ago, Dougherty head coach Donald Poole played most of his bench to see who could contribute.
"We're playing a lot of guys, but we've still got to find that right combination," Poole said. "There's still some things we've got to iron out."
Defensively, the Trojans were able to limit Cairo's speed and height, holding guard Terrell Bryant and center Da'Keidras Wade to 14 points each. Wade also finished with seven boards and three blocks, but the Trojans' front court of Timothy Washington and Holmes controlled the paint.
Poole didn't need to look at the calendar to know who Dougherty has next. The Trojans go to Westover Friday in a huge pre-Christmas region showdown.
"It don't get no easier," Poole said.
Gaines said he's looking forward to the test of top 10-ranked teams.
"We've just got to play (our kind of) basketball," Gaines said. "It's a big one (though)."
DOUGHERTY GIRLS 62, CAIRO 56:
The Lady Trojans used a 20-point fourth quarter and a huge game from one of their inside presences to run past Cairo Tuesday and open region play with a win.
Dougherty junior forward Jayla Hooper scored 15 of her 25 points in the fourth and finished with a monster night on the boards with 14 rebounds to help the Lady Trojans dominate the block despite turnovers and poor free-throw shooting.
"I really appreciated the fight my big girls came out with," Lady Trojans head coach Charlene Jackson said. "They're the reason we had that 20-point (fourth quarter) because they ran the floor and got what we needed."
After knotting the game up at 28-28 at halftime, Cairo shot out of intermission on a 6-0 run only to see Dougherty's Shawntal Byrd score all eight of her points in the third quarter and rally Doughtery (2-1, 1-0 Region 1-AAA) to a 42-42 tie after three quarters.
Hooper then exploded with 15 of the 20 Lady Trojans' points in the final eight minutes to send Dougherty home winners.
"A lot of people don't want to be that trash player (inside) and she's relishing that opportunity," Jackson said of Hooper.
The Lady Trojans got 13 points from Kiandra Guilford and 10 points from Jasmine Lavant. Cairo was led by Alex Tise's 23 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.
Dougherty travels to Westover Friday.