Westover coach Lewis Smith and his Lady Patriots are 9-5 overall and 4-3 in the region after Saturday's win against Monroe.
ALBANY — Westover’s girls rebounded from a tough loss to Dougherty on Friday night and upset Herald No. 2 Monroe, 37-22, Saturday night at the Civic Center, where neither team could find the basket.
It didn’t matter to Westover’s kid. They found the win.
Westover didn’t hit a single field goal in the third quarter but still managed to beat Monroe, which made just seven baskets all night and had its lowest point total in Cheryl Cheeks’ four-year career as a coach at Monroe. The Lady Tornadoes simply couldn’t score from the floor and went 8-for-18 from the free throw line.
It was Monroe’s first loss in Region 1-AAAA, where the Lady Tornadoes (13-5) were 7-0 before Saturday. Monroe has lost two of its last three games, falling to Herald No. 1 Randolph-Clay 56-54 a week ago.
The Lady Patriots went on a sprint in the second quarter, outscoring Monroe, 13-4, to take a 22-8 halftime lead, thanks to seven first-half points from Alicia Samuels, and never looked back. Even after scoring just one point in the third, Westover took a 23-13 lead into the fourth quarter on a day when a10-point lead looked insurmountable.
In the first game between Monroe and Westover, Herald Super 6er KeyKey Price scored 29 points by herself to lead Monroe to a 45-32 win in the Monroe gym. Price scored just eight points, but it was twice as much as anyone else from Monroe. Jomekia Morine scored four points, all on free throws.
“It’s different in the Civic Center,” Westover girls coach Lewis Smith said. “You catch them (Monroe) on a big floor on a Saturday. There’s a lot of lights. ... Everything is just a little off. That’s probably why they (Monroe) weren’t making those shots they usually make. The Civic Center will do that to you.”
Westover earned this one, hustling and making big plays when it had to, and it saw big efforts from Samuels, who scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Shanteria Williams, who scored six points and had seven rebounds. Toi’Annah Campbell and Mykesa Smith led the Lady Patriots with eight points each on a day when points were scarce.
The win against its biggest rival meant a lot to Westover, especially after losing 54-49 to rival Dougherty on Friday night.
“It won’t change much for us in the region,’’ said Smith, whose team is 9-5 overall and 4-3 in the region. “But we had the game (against Dougherty) under control and then mismanaged things and fell apart at the end of that game and lost. To come back and play well after a hurting loss like that one means a lot. It means we are trying to mature as a team. We have so many young girls.
“This is a big step to where we want to go and helps validate us as a team. It shows we are capable of beating the top teams n the region. We needed to beat an Americus, a Crisp or a Monroe. Now they know they are capable of beating quality teams.’’
DOUGHERTY GIRLS 51, ALBANY 21: Nobody is having a better weekend than Dougherty’s Ra’Keta Shelton.
And this may just be the beginning for Shelton and the Lady Trojans, who are emerging as a mid-season powerhouse. After starting the season at 3-3, Dougherty has taken flight of late, winning five of its last seven, and no one is flying higher than Shelton.
Just ask Albany High, which had the unfortunate pleasure of running into Shelton and Dougherty on Saturday afternoon at the Civic Center.
Shelton, who scored 15 of Dougherty’s first 20 points, finished the afternoon with career-high 28 points and 21 rebounds, and Dougherty finished off Albany.
Shelton had a monster night on Friday, scoring 19 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in Dougherty’s signature 54-49 win against Westover, and came back Saturday afternoon soaring.
“She’s a spectacular player,’’ said Dougherty point guard Quannesha Gatling of Shelton, who had six points and six steals. “And she’s only a junior. She’s got a great future.”
Shelton not only was strong on the boards but went diving to the floor at times, and she spent the entire afternoon encouraging her teammates.
“She has always enjoyed rebounding,’’ Dougherty coach Charlene Jackson said. “She’s so quick to the ball. She has a nose for it. Now that we are able to get her settled down and get her feet on the floor, she’s able to finish more. When she makes up her mind, she gets after it. She’s a force when she makes up her mind.’’
Shelton said she has a new attitude.
“Quannesha is my cousin, and she said we have to work on our (attitude to play better),’’ Shelton said. “I feel like I’m working harder and getting better every game. I know if I give it my all we will win the game.”
Dougherty also got a big game from Amber Ward, who scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds and made three steals, and Gatling, who dropped in six points and made five steals. Briana Williams led Albany (3-7 and 3-5 in the region) with five points.
The Lady Trojans are 8-5, but they are 5-2 in Region 1-AAAA with losses to Monroe and Crisp County. They meet Crisp in the Dougherty gym on Jan. 22 and play Monroe at Darton on Jan. 25. Both of those games will be telling in the region race.
“We got Americus-Sumter on Tuesday,’’ Jackson said. “That’s the game we’re worried about right now.’’