Dougherty’s Amber Ward, right, goes up for a shot Tuesday against Crisp County’s Kayla Green. Ward and the Herald No. 4 Lady Trojans cruised to a 49-38 win and have now won 11 of their last 13.
ALBANY — One of the most dominant players in Region 1-AAAA is no longer with the Crisp County team, and Dougherty took full advantage Tuesday.
With Crisp's Nasheema Oliver removed from the Lady Cougars' team after an in-game incident Saturday at home against Worth County, the Lady Trojans' inside attack was too much in a 49-38 win.
Lady Cougars' head coach Barrett Wilkes said Oliver, an All-Region player as a sophomore last year and a Herald Super 6er, was "no longer with the team."
"It's a team matter and she's no longer with us," Wilkes said. "We're a team and we've got to play together and stick together."
Dougherty (10-5, 7-2 Region 1-AAAA) led 22-12 at the half Tuesday after holding Crisp, which was running a completely new style of offense without the 6-foot-3 post, to just two first-quarter points.
"We game planned for (Oliver) being out there," Dougherty head coach Charlene Jackson said. "It's unfortunate whatever happened, happened. You have to have discipline on your team. All coaches understand that."
The Lady Trojans led by as many as 16 in the second half before Crisp went a 12-2 run to close to within six after Dee Dee Williams' putback with 6:15 to play cut the lead to 39-33.
Dougherty's Amber Ward fought back with a three and another jumper to increase to lead to 44-33 with 4:18 to play to put the game away.
"It was a little easier to get rebounds (without Oliver in the post)," Ward said. "She gets a lot of rebounds."
Quannisha Gatling, who scored eight straight in the second half, and Ward led the way for Dougherty with 17 points, while Ra'Keta Shelton scored 11 points to go with 10 boards and four steals despite fouling out early.
“When we played them up there in Cordele (in a 42-28 Dougherty loss), I saw some positive things in the second half,” Jackson said. “We’re trying to play with intensity from start to finish. We had to be prepared for whatever run they were going to make.”
With no Oliver, Williams and Kayla Green picked up the slack for Crisp. Williams scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds and Green finished with 10 points and 11 boards. Still, it was tough news for the Lady Cougars
"I've got every bit of faith in those girls right there and I think we can play with anybody if we play the way we're capable of,” Wilkes said.
Wilkes would not say how Oliver's dismissal occurred, but did say her team was disappointed in the loss of the most dominant inside presence in Southwest Georgia.
"I would say there were," Wilkes said. "Those girls in that locker room believe in each other and I believe in them."
Oliver averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds a game as a sophomore and was getting attention from Division I schools.
Crisp (10-7, 7-3 Region 1-AAAA) goes to Monroe Saturday in region play, while Dougherty plays Monroe Friday at Darton College.
CRISP COUNTY BOYS 58, DOUGHERTY 45: Since Cougars’ head coach Terry Smith called for a gut check three games ago, Crisp County has responded with two consecutive wins after Tuesday’s 58-45 victory over Dougherty.
The Trojans got as close as 39-34 on Mardius McWhorter’s lay-in in the third quarter, but the Cougars (7-10, 6-4 Region 1-AAAA) responded with a dominant fourth quarter to move back into a third-place tie in the region standings.
“This is the first time all year we’ve won back-to-back games,” Smith said. “I’d say they got the message, but we’ll find out Saturday (vs. Monroe at Darton).”
Javoris Cooks led Crisp with 13 points while Landon Whitman added 11. Dougherty (5-9, 4-5 Region 1-AAAA) was paced by Al Brown’s 10 points and also got nine points from Michael Miller.