Westover’s Au’Breana Moore, right, drives past Dougherty’s Quannesha Gatling during their rivalry and region showdown Friday night at Darton State College’s Cavalier Arena. Moore scored eight points in the upset win by the Lady Patriots, who could very well see Dougherty again next week in the 1-AAAA tournament. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — Cold.
Freezing, icy cold.
And even those chilling words can’t describe what happened to the Herald No. 2 Dougherty Lady Trojans, who fell to Westover, 38-26, Friday afternoon at Darton, where Dougherty simply could not hit a shot in the second half of the game.
“It was weird,’’ said Dougherty coach Charlene Jackson, whose team has scored well all season. “I don’t think it was so much what they were doing to us as what we weren’t doing. We got good looks at the basket. We had opportunities, but for whatever reason the shots wouldn’t fall for us.’’
Dougherty scored 10 points in the first four minutes of the game to take a 10-0 lead, and then just couldn’t find the basket. Amber Ward hit a long 3-pointer with 1:30 left in the first quarter to give Dougherty a 13-10 lead. After that, Dougherty went 1-for-27 from the floor until Ra’Keta Shelton made a drive with four seconds left in the game.
Dougherty’s only other points in the final three quarters from the floor came from Takiya Davis, who made a steal and a drive with 6:05 left in the half.
Jackson said she had never seen anything like it.
“At the end of the game I looked at the scoreboard and we had 20-something points, and I’m thinking, ‘Really, 20-something points?’ When I played I averaged 32 points a game,’’ Jackson said. “I’ve never seen this happen with my team.”
The loss doesn’t affect Dougherty’s seeding in next week’s Region 1-AAAA tournament. The Lady Trojans were tied with Monroe with an 11-2 record before Friday, but Monroe held the first tie-breaker and would have been the top seed even if Dougherty had beaten Westover, which is the No. 5 seed next week.
“It’s not so much the disappointment of the outcome of the game as it is the disappointment of our performance in the game,” Jackson said. “I thought we did a good job defensively in the first half, but in the second half we didn’t have the intensity the Lady Trojans have had the whole year.’’
The Lady Trojans (13-6) hadn’t lost a game this year. Their last lost was to Rutland on Dec. 22 in a Christmas tournament. Since then, the Lady Trojans had won eight in a row and had climbed to the top of the Region 1-AAAA race, tied with Monroe at 11-2. They beat Westover 54-49 in the Westover gym on Jan. 11. Monroe beat Albany High at Darton on Friday and finishes the regular season today at Worth County.
There wasn’t much scoring by either team on Friday.
Mykesa Smith led Westover with 12 points and Au’Breana Moore had eight points for the Lady Patriots, who improved to 15-9 overall and 8-6 in the region. Freshman Bryshea Jackson didn’t score a point, but she had a huge game for Westover, pulling down six rebounds and playing defense on Shelton, who has emerged as one of the top players in Southwest Georgia.
Shelton scored eight of Dougherty’s first 10 points in the opening minutes of the game and finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Quannesha Gatling scored seven for Dougherty.
“She did a good job defensively,’’ Westover coach Lewis Smith said of Jackson. “It was athlete on athlete. We know she (Jackson) is a good athlete. We’re playing (three freshmen) now and all of them are good athletes. We’ve got more athletes on the floor.’’
Smith said his team played well defensively, but credited Darton’s big floor and the atmosphere of playing in a large arena with Dougherty’s shooting problem.
“We did (play good defense), but it’s more the floor and the space here,” he said. “You take us out of the school gyms and bring us into these big arenas, and it’s different. It wasn’t Dougherty’s shooting as much as it was playing in here. It’s different.’’
Jackson said she wouldn‘t blame her team’s shooting on Darton.
“I‘m not using that as an excuse,’’ she said. “I told my team that we had a very successful regular season. I challenged them to put this game behind them.’’