Dougherty’s Alfred Brown (4) has his shot contested by Monroe’s Jabari McGhee during Friday’s city rivalry showdown at the Civic Center, which the Tornadoes won, 32-30.
ALBANY — Monroe spent most of the night looking for a shot that would rattle Dougherty, and the Tornadoes finally found it with 1:30 left when Darrien Anderson, a junior who had come off the bench, nailed a 3-pointer to help lift Monroe to a 32-30 win.
Still, Dougherty doesn’t rattle easily.
It was that kind of night for Monroe, ranked No. 3 in The Herald’s Fab 5 poll, a night when the Tornadoes (9-2 and 4-0 in the Region 1-AAA race) did just what they had to do to pull out the victory against their city and region rival.
“The good thing about this game is we got the win,’’ Monroe coach Marquis Davis said. “We didn’t play well, but we did get the win.’’
Dougherty set the tone early for a low-scoring game at the Civic Center, where a good-sized crowd showed up for the rivalry game that has implications in the city and also in the Region 1-AAA race.
The Trojans opened the game by holding the ball more than four minutes before taking their first shot to the sound of some boos from Monroe fans. The Tornadoes finally forced a turnover and rushed out to a 5-0 lead on a 3-pointer and a crowd pleasing reverse dunk by Herald Super 6er Jabari McGhee, who ended a fast-break with thunder.
It was 6-2 at the end of the quarter, and both teams dug in on defense.
“We just came out and ran our offense,’’ said Dougherty coach Donald Poole of the opening of the game. “They play good defense. We’re trying to win just like they’re trying to win.’’
Monroe beat Dougherty, 45-30, in the third-place game of the U Save It basketball tournament last month and led the entire night in that game. But on Friday Dougherty stormed back after scoring just one basket in the first quarter.
Darrell Anthony took over in the second quarter, driving by Monroe for nine of Dougherty’s 13 points as the Trojans took a 15-13 halftime lead. They held it with a tight-fisted grip and were still up 26-24 as the two teams headed into the fourth quarter.
But Dougherty couldn’t run away. McGhee hit a coast-to-coast drive to open the fourth to lift Monroe to a 27-26 lead, but Kendall Hicks answered for Dougherty with a fast-break drive, and then Anthony, grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast to lift Dougherty to a 30-27 lead with 4:28 left.
The Trojans didn’t score another point.
Monroe closed to 30-28 on a Daniel House free throw with 4:08 left, and Herald Super 6er Rantavious Gilbert, who had six blocked shots for the night, stopped Dougherty twice with back-to-back blocks, giving the ball back to Monroe with 1:49 left.
That’s when Anderson stepped up and bagged his 3-pointer to give Monroe a 31-30 lead with 1:31 left.
“It was a big shot by him,’’ said Davis, whose team will turn around and play Herald No. 2 Albany High tonight at the Civic Center, where a large crowd is expected for the showdown.
After Anderson’s killing 3-pointer, Gilbert blocked his sixth shot of the night to stop Dougherty again, and when Anthony missed a drive with 45 seconds left, McGhee grabbed the rebound. Gilbert hit a free throw with 16 seconds left to give Monroe a 32-30 lead, and Dougherty fired two shots off the front of the rim to end it.
“We had some open looks at the end of the game that didn’t go in,’’ Poole said. “But we made mistakes before that. We’ve just got to get better.’’