Dougherty’s David Quimby (left) and Charles Porter (right) are two standout players coach Ty Hayes is excited about. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)
Dougherty High School’s boys basketball team has had a roller-coaster season.
At midseason, longtime coach Donald Poole resigned, leaving administrators scrambling to find a replacement. That created a spot for Ty Hayes, who had been an assistant coach for 12 years before getting his first head basketball coaching job.
Then the Trojans have lost nine straight.
But Hayes and his Dougherty squad aren’t looking forward to the season ending – at least not anytime soon.
Hayes said the year has been fun, and he believes because he has enjoyed coaching them so much that it is paying off for his team.
“People ask me all the time if I’m stressed,” Hayes said. “No, I’m not stressed because these guys are making it fun. We’ve only had one game that was a total letdown. I’m satisfied because I keep seeing improvement. The guys are buying in and doing what we ask of them. How can you not be happy with that?”
Dougherty came within seconds of upending Cairo Tuesday night, losing 46-44 in a contest that was decided in the final seconds.
Part of Hayes’ excitement stems from the play of his younger players, especially freshmen David Quimby and Charles Porter. The duo are two of the team’s leading scorers and Hayes believes their future is bright.
“The thing is those guys have a whole lot of room to grow,” Hayes said. “It goes back to those two in middle school. Our middle school coaches (Jada Frazier and Antonio Smith) did a great job developing them and that transpired when they got here. It didn’t start with me. We’re just trying to expand and fine-tune what they already know.”
Quimby is averaging 14 points and six rebounds per game, while Porter is averaging 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Trojans will lose four starters, but a talented group of upcoming players will help out. In addition, Hayes said he plans to bring up some 10th-graders to help out in the Region 1-AAAA Tournament that begins next week.
“I’m having fun,” Hayes said. “We hope to continue because our guys are feeding off of it.”
SCOREBOARD WATCHING: Westover boys coach Dallis Smith will be watching the scores of Saturday night’s regular-season finale between Worth County and Monroe. The only chance his Patriots have of winning the regular-season title and the top seed in the Region 1-AAAA Tournament that begins on Monday is for them to beat Dougherty tonight, then hope that Monroe can beat Worth County for the second time this season.
According to Dougherty County athletic officials, if two teams end in a tie and the tie-breaker can’t be decided by head-to-head, the next tie-breaker becomes comparative records in region play. The records start from the top.
Since Worth County and Westover split its games this season, Worth County would be declared the regular-season champion and earn the top seed in the tournament because Westover went 1-1 against Americus-Sumter, while the Rams went 2-0.
Regardless, the Patriots are playing their best basketball of the season. In their last four games, they have beaten Albany, Cairo, Worth County and Crisp County by an average of 14.8 points.
REGION 1-A TOURNAMENT: The Region 1-A Tournament begins on Monday with four play-in games at Quitman County High School in Georgetown. At 4 p.m., the Stewart County girls meet Calhoun County, while the Seminole County girls meet Baker County at 7 p.m.
The Miller County boys meet Webster County at 5:30 p.m., while host Quitman County plays Baker County at 8:30 p.m.
The winners advance to the second round. The girls second round will be played on Tuesday at top-seeded Randolph-Clay High School. The boys second round will be played on Wednesday at top-seeded Seminole County High.
The quarterfinals and finals for both boys and girls will be played at Seminole County on Friday and Saturday.