ALBANY — Monroe coach Cheryl Cheeks may not have liked all of her team’s statistics following Friday’s Region 1-AAA third-place game against Dougherty, but she liked the final score.
“We played hard, and that’s what made the difference,” said Cheeks, whose Lady Tornadoes beat the Lady Trojans, 44-40, and now will open next week’s Class AAA State Tournament on the road. “The biggest positive I can take from this is that the young ladies didn’t give up.”
Monroe (18-8) overcame a dismal 18-of-36 outing from the free throw line and 22 turnovers to clip the Lady Trojans, who were unable to defend their region title after Thursday’s semifinal loss to Westover. But just like the game against Westover, Friday’s contest was close throughout.
Dougherty (17-7) took its first lead at 15-14 with 5:45 left in the second quarter on Amber Ward’s 3-point play, but the teams traded the lead several times before Monroe took a 24-21 advantage into halftime.
It was tied 34-34 after the third, but the Lady Trojans, who were plagued by foul trouble throughout the game, started fouling out one minute into the final period. Starters Quannesha Gatlin, Terrianna Martin and Shawntal Byrd all fouled out in the final seven minutes, and Monroe hit just enough free throws to come away with the victory.
Cessiley Colwell and Davone Anduze led Monroe with 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Jayla Hooper had nine points and 12 rebounds to lead the Lady Trojans.
WESTOVER BOYS 56, DOUGHERTY 30: Westover may be on the road in its Class AAA State Tournament opener next week, but the Patriots will have plenty of momentum thanks to Friday’s huge win.
Senior Brandon Hudson and junior T.J. Cromer each scored 12 points to lead the Patriots, who jumped out to a 12-2 lead and never looked back. With 10 points, Michael Miller was the only Trojan in double figures, while senior Darrell Anthony scored nine.
The Patriots (17-10) are 3-0 against Dougherty (8-13) this season with regular-season wins of 67-51 and 47-43.
Dougherty cut Westover’s lead to 33-23 midway through the third quarter but then the Patriots caught fire, running up their lead to as many as 29 in the fourth quarter.