Westover’s Tiana Campbell dribbles around Dougherty defender Dominique Anderson during Friday night’s Region 1-AAAA matchup between the rivals at Westover’s Boston Garden. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — The smile on Au Bre’ Ana Moore’s face Friday night appeared to tell the story.
Moore smiled and joked after Westover High School took a big 38-32 victory over Dougherty in a key Region 1-AAAA girls game Friday night at Westover High’s Boston Garden.
And why wouldn’t she have smiled?
A team that began the week in fourth place in the region standings, the Lady Patriots (12-3, 4-2 Region 1-AAAA) handed Dougherty just its second loss in region play this year and moved into a tie with the Lady Trojans for third place. Both Herald No. 2 Dougherty and No. 4 Westover trail Crisp County by a half a game for second place in the region standings, but all three have just two losses.
“If we stick together, anything is possible,” said Moore, who finished with eight points. “We have a great coaching staff and a lot of talent. If we stick to our system, I believe we can pull it out in the end.”
In a sloppily played game, both schools combined for 43 turnovers and shot a paltry 13-of-31 from the free-throw line.
It may not have been the kind of game either team would have liked, but it did have a significant effect on the Region 1-AAAA standings. With eight more region games remaining, Dougherty coach Charlene Jackson said her team must learn from Friday night.
“We’ve got to recognize that if everybody doesn’t show up and play, it’s always going to result in a loss,” she said.
The Lady Trojans (9-4, 4-2) got 19 points from Herald Super 6er Ra’Keta Shelton but not much from the rest of the lineup. Amber Ward finished with nine points.
Moore said Westover’s goal was to try and slow down Shelton.
“We knew we had to stop her,” Moore said. “It’s almost impossible to stop her, but we knew we had to limit how much she scored.”
Westover, which played as the visitors on its own court, rolled to an early 7-0 lead before Shelton connected on the Lady Trojans’ first basket. Dougherty had five turnovers during the opening 3:42 as the Lady Patriots took an 8-2 lead. Westover eventually built a lead as high as 10 points before Dougherty tried to rally.
Ward drilled a 3-pointer with 2:58 left in the first half as Dougherty trimmed the deficit to three at 18-15, then she drove the lane for a layup to make it 18-17 with 2:17 remaining. But each time the Lady Trojans pulled to within a potential basket of tying or taking the lead, Westover responded.
Moore and Achanti Layfield, who led Westover with 10 points, sank back-to-back baskets down the stretch to make it 22-17 at halftime.
Dougherty cut the deficit to three points late in the third when Takiya Davis sank a baseline jumper, then Shelton nailed a pair of free throws to pull the Lady Trojans to within a basket at 28-26 with 7:10 left in the game.
However, the Lady Patriots’ Bryshea Jackson keyed a 6-0 run with a pair of baskets, and Dougherty couldn’t get any closer.
“We had more turnovers than we made baskets,” Jackson said. “Our shooting percentage on the field has got to improve if we’re going to do better. But our girls played hard. We had so many shot attempts from players who usually knock down those shots. Those are missed shots that we need to make.”