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PREP HOOPS -- DARTON ROUNDUP: Minus Super 6er Cromer — again — Westover downs Dougherty

ALBANY — No T.J.? No problem …

Westover played city rival Dougherty Friday night at Darton without Herald Super 6er T.J. Cromer, who sat out the game because of undisclosed reasons.

It didn’t even slow down the Patriots, who took care of Dougherty, 64-44, to win their sixth in a row and wrap up the regular season with an 18-5 record.

“Without T.J., we had to play harder, and we did play harder,’’ said Herald Super 6er Kel Miller, who led Westover with 17 points and five rebounds. “He’s an automatic 3-point shot, and he helps with the rebounds.‘’

Westover saw freshman Mike Green have a strong game at point guard and C.J. Davis and Andre Kennedy combined to grab 19 rebounds to control the glass. Davis dropped in 14 points and had 11 rebounds and Kennedy had eight rebounds and four points. Green finished with five points and Carnviski Garrett came off the bench to hit two 3s for Westover.

“I thought we played OK,” Westover coach Dallis Smith said. “Some players like Green and Garrett stepped up. Davis had 14 rebounds his last game and had another good game.’’

Westover, ranked No. 2 in The Herald Fab 5 Poll for the entire season, has lost to only two teams all year. The Patriots have lost to Herald No. 1 Monroe three times and to nationally-ranked Tift County, the top team in Georgia, twice.

Dougherty’s Mike Miller scored nine of his team-high 11 points in the third quarter for Dougherty (7-12 and 6-8 in the region). The Trojans will enter next week’s Region 1-AAAA tournament as the fifth seed and will play Monday at Dougherty against an opponent yet to be determined.

The Patriots hit eight of their first 12 shots and never looked back, and went to halftime with a 31-15 lead after shooting 64 percent in the first half. Dougherty made an 11-0 run in the third and closed to 39-31, before Westover closed out the quarter with a 5-2 run to take a 44-33 lead into the fourth. The Patriots opened the fourth with a drive by Davis and a 3-pointer from Garrett and just like that, Westover was up by 16 with a 49-33 lead.

“Coach told us that they made the run (in the third quarter) and that we had to step up or they were going to come back,” Miller said. “He said we have to show them what kind of heart we have. And we did.’’

Smith said he changed his defense in the third and went back to a man-to-man to challenge Dougherty’s shooters, and it paid off as Westover took over down the stretch.

The Patriots, who are the No. 2 seed in the Region 1-AAAA tournament won’t play again until they meet an opponent to be determined in the semifinals at Monroe on Thursday. Cromer, who sat out two games, will be back.

“That should give us a lift when T.J. comes back,’’ Miller said. “We know we have to go hard all the time now.’’

That’s what Smith wants from his kids.

“It’s time to take it to another level,’’ Smith said. “It’s all mental. We have to be ready mentally.’’

Lady Tornadoes clinch No. 1 seed in region tournament

ALBANY — Monroe’s Lady Tornadoes made a fashion statement and an emotional statement Friday, wearing pink uniforms to support the fight against breast cancer.

They also made the same statement they have been making this season: It’s tough to beat Monroe.

That hasn’t changed all year, and Friday the Lady Tornadoes won their 11th Region 1-AAAA game by racing past Albany High, 67-35, at Darton State College’s Cavalier Arena to clinch the No. 1 seed in next week’s region tournament.

The Lady Tornadoes, ranked No. 3 in The Herald’s Fab 5 Poll, end their regular season today at Worth County, and then they will be at home Thursday at Monroe, where the semifinals and finals of the region tournament will be held after the Tornadoes also clinched the No. 1 seed, which decided the host school this season.

Monroe’s victory on Friday guarantees the Lady Tornadoes (18-6 and 11-2 in the region) a berth in the state playoffs, because the top four teams advance and Monroe will get a bye in the opening rounds and play its first game in the semifinals.

Albany (3-11 in Region 1-AAAA) will play an opponent to be determined on Monday in a play-in game to open the region tournament. That game will be held at either Dougherty, Albany or Crisp County.

Davone Anduze led Monroe with 12 points, and Cedriana Waters scored 11. Nakiedra Gerven led Albany High with 12 points.