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Dougherty girls finish 1st in Great Southern Shootout

MACON — All Charlene Jackson could do was laugh when asked how her Dougherty girls’ basketball team is getting off to such fast starts lately.

“I’m not sure,” the coach said with a chuckle.

Well, whatever the Lady Trojans are doing in the first quarter — it’s working.

They outscored Macon Central 17-2 in the first quarter Thursday to run away with a 55-21 victory and finish 3-0 in the 11th-annual Great Southern Shootout in Macon.

The Herald No. 2 Lady Trojans dominated all three teams they faced in the three-day, 10-team shootout and wrapped up their pre-Christmas schedule with a 7-1 record.

“Our top six or seven players really had a great tournament,” Jackson said. “They just played extremely well. They jumped out on teams and really dominated all three teams in the first half.”

On Tuesday, the Lady Trojans defeated Northeast Macon, 52-32, and on Wednesday they jumped out to a 16-2 lead against Rutland before cruising to a 47-18 victory.

Dougherty got balanced scoring throughout the tournament, but Terrianna Martin consistently shined for the Lady Trojans.

The senior was named to the all-tournament team after scoring eight points Thursday.

Martin also had nine points against Northeast Macon and 11 points against Rutland.

Ra’Keta Shelton had a team-high 10 points Thursday, while Quannesha Gatlin and Jayla Hooper each added nine points.

In all, nine players scored for Dougherty, but Jackson said she was most happy with the way her team played defense.

“They are starting to appreciate playing defense, and they are realizing that it’s something that has to be constant,” Jackson said. “Even if we don’t put up a lot of points, our defense is something that we want to make sure is clicking on all cylinders.”

EARLY COUNTY GIRLS 56, LEON 53: Leon (Fla.) took the lead in the fourth quarter against the Lady Bobcats, but Early County coach Mary Brown said she saw something in her girls’ eyes that told her they wouldn’t back down in the final day of the Florida-Georgia Shootout girls basketball tournament in Tallahassee Fla.

The Lady Bobcats (8-1) regained the lead and avoided a Leon game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer to claim the victory.

“The girls really played hard and wanted to win,” Brown said. “They played good team ball. They hustled. I could see it with their emotions that they wanted to win that ball game.”

Freshman Tynicia McCoy and junior Justice Lee led Early County with 21 and 20 points, respectively. Lee also added seven rebounds and seven assists, which were both team-highs.

The Lady Bobcats jumped out to a 17-10 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to some sharp shooting from behind the arc. McCoy nailed three 3-pointers in the opening period, while Lee and Markenya Lyles each added one more.

Early County plays again Jan. 3 at home against Thomasville.