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Monroe girls stun Herald No. 2 Dougherty, 45-34

Monroe’s Chelsea Cox drives to the bucket for two of the 14 points she scored during Friday’s upset of Dougherty.

Monroe’s Chelsea Cox drives to the bucket for two of the 14 points she scored during Friday’s upset of Dougherty.

ALBANY — Monroe’s girls stunned Herald No. 2 Dougherty on Friday, 45-34, by simply dropping back and forcing the Lady Trojans to beat them.

It never happened.

“We stuck to our game plan,’’ said Monroe coach Cheryl Cheeks, whose team was a big underdog coming into the game at the Albany Civic Center. “We decided to just stay back in a zone. They had to prove to us that they could shoot.’’

Dougherty, which hits the boards and lives in the paint as much as anyone, outrebounded Monroe, but had trouble putting together a run, and when the Lady Tornadoes put together a 12-5 run to end the second quarter, Dougherty never regained the lead.

Herald Super 6er Sheniqua Young hit two 3s to help Monroe take a 20-14 lead into halftime, and Young finished the game with 17 points. Chelsea Cox added 14 for Monroe, which improved to 8-3 and is now 2-2 in the Region 1-AAA race.

Herald No. 2 Albany survives region foe Cook in overtime

ALBANY — On a night when Albany High couldn’t find the basket with a detective or a seeing-eye dog, the Indians still managed to win.

Honest.

It took a last-second 3-point dagger by Larry Sanford to send the game into overtime, and once the Indians got there they put the game away without making a single shot from the field.

They survived to beat Region 1-AA rival Cook County, 36-33, out-lasting the Hornets by making 7-of-10 free throws to finally pull away with an unrelenting defense that forced 10 turnovers down the stretch.

“The Albany kids down the stretch made plays that our kids didn’t make,’’ said Cook County coach Tommy Blackshear, whose team was 10-1 before Friday night. “They put some pressure on us and got in our face and made us uncomfortable. And they made some difficult shots. Look at the 3 (Sanford) made at the end of the game.’’

Sanford’s shot saved the game for the Indians, who trailed for most of the night. They went only 3-for-21 from the field in the first half, and made just one basket in the second quarter, an inside shot by Herald Super 6er Tim Pierce, who sat out the first four minutes of the game. Pierce led the Indians in the second half and finished with a game-high 16 points.

“There’s not much to it. Just some housekeeping,’’ said Albany High coach Archie Chatmon of his waiting to put Pierce in the game. Albany High was missing its two co-captains, Roscoe Brown and Jontavious Morris, who are playing in today’s Border Wars All-Star football game in Tallahassee.

It didn’t look like anyone could score for Albany early, but Chatmon didn’t panic.

“I told them at halftime that the shots didn’t fall in the first half, but they would start falling in the second half, and some did fall. We had enough fall to win the game.’’

It’s not unusual for Albany and Cook to play a low-scoring game, but it is rare for anyone to go into OT tied at 29-29.

“We both preach defense and patience on offense,’’ Chatmon said. “This was a typical Cook game for us. It’s always like this when we play them. This was a huge win for us. You got to get this one. We have a hard time winning on their floor. This is a game we needed to win.’’

It lifts Herald No. 2 Albany High (8-1) to a 2-0 start in the Region 1-AA race, which could be as tough as any in the state with Albany, Cook, Herald No. 5 Early County and state-ranked Thomasville in the hunt.

“You’ve got to win these games,’’ Chatmon said. “Early County isn’t planning on losing any games, and Thomasville isn’t planning on losing any games.’’

Cook (10-2 and 1-1 in the region), led 6-5 after the first and 16-9 at halftime, and took a 22-18 lead into the fourth on a night when four points felt like 40 on a night when points were hard to find.

The Indians finally knotted things at 25-25 when Sanford slammed in a fast-break dunk with 4:09 left. Larry Anderson gave Albany a 26-25 lead with a free throw with 3:22 left. But Shive Mills hit an drive for the Hornets to lift Cook to a 27-26 lead and Rakeem Battle appeared to put the game away for Cook when he hit two free throws with 13 seconds left for a 29-26 lead.

Then Sanford, who finished with 12 points, hit his second 3 of the night with 4 seconds left, and the Indians never slowed down in overtime, building the lead to five points at 36-31 before Cook’s big man Jerome Hill hit a rare 3-pointer. Hill dominated inside and led the Hornets with 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.

But once the Indians got to the overtime they just spread the ball and waited to get to the free throw line, where they took over — all thanks to Sanford’s killer 3.

“He hit a big shot,’’ Chatmon said of Sanford’s 3-pointer. “That was huge. When he shot it, I just said please go in.’ That was just guts and no quit in him.’’

Dougherty’s Amber Ward came off the bench to lead the Lady Trojans with nine points. Jayla Hooper followed with seven. Dougherty, which had only lost to Herald No. 1 Westover and Crisp County, a state power that returned everyone from its Final Four team a year ago, is now 8-3 and 1-3 in the Region 1-AAA race.

“It was a great win for us. We needed this win,’’ said Cheeks, whose team had lost to Americus-Sumter and Crisp in the region. “This win will get us started to where we need to be.’’

Dougherty trailed 38-28 with 3:25 left and made a late run to close to 38-34 when Hooper hit a put-back with 1:30 left, but Monroe spread the ball and put the game away form the free throw line, hitting 7-of-10 free throws in the final minute. Dougherty had trouble on the line all night, making just 2-of-10 free throws.

“The biggest thing I can say is that we came out lethargic and never got into the flow of the game,’’ Dougherty coach Charlene Jackson said. “You can’t play good teams and do that. They get confidence and play even better.’’

ALBANY GIRLS 35, COOK COUNTY 26: The Squaws bounced back from a tough 51-49 loss to Fitzgerald, which beat Albany on Tuesday on a last-second shot, and took control of Friday’s game at the Civic Center against Cook in the second quarter and never looked back.

“That’s what I was hoping for,’’ said Albany coach Telly Turner of her team’s turnaround after losing the Region 1-AA opener to Fitzgerald. “More people stepped up and contributed in this game.’’

The Squaws are now 1-1 in the region and 4-4 for the season

They broke a 5-5 first-quarter tie by holding Cook to just one basket in the second quarter and went to halftime leading, 17-7, thanks to Kairsha Jackson’s big second quarter.

“We switched the defense in the second quarter and started pressing them and keeping them from the basket, and we got a few turnovers,’’ Turner said. “Kairsha Jackson was pivotal for us in that quarter. She hit some shots and changed the game, and really gave us some momentum.’’

Jackson scored all seven of her points in the second quarter. Briana Williams, who scored 20 against Fitzgerald on Tuesday, dropped in seven, and Herald Super 6er Chasity Mullins scored eight, including five in a stretch in the fourth quarter to hold off Cook (5-5 and 0-2 in Region 1-AA).