ALBANY — A little adversity to start the season may not have been what first-year Dougherty High School boys basketball coach Rufus McDuffie wanted.
At least not this early in the season.
Dougherty jumped all over Bainbridge early and lost the lead before rallying to force overtime. Then the Trojans held on to top Bainbridge 74-70 in the Monroe Thanksgiving Shootout Friday afternoon to improve to 2-0 on the season.
But unlike last week’s season-opening victory over Westover, the Trojans had to work harder and play smarter against the athletic Bearcats.
High School basketball fans got their money’s worth in a thrilling finish.
The Trojans opened on a 13-0 run only to watch Bainbridge fight its way back into the game. The Bearcats caught Dougherty in the second half, then led by as many as seven when Bainbridge’s Tevin Price sank a layup on a nifty pass inside from Brandon Davis to make it 49-42 with 6:38 left in regulation.
Dougherty rallied to tie at 59 on a pair of Charles Porter free throws.
However, each time Bainbridge took the lead in the final minutes of regulation, Dougherty answered, included a shot that Terry Lewis bounced off the glass to tie the game at 63 with five seconds left to force overtime.
But in the extra period, the Trojans took over, pushing the lead as high as five before the Bearcats rallied to tie at 68 with 3:01 left.
Carlos Curry sank one of his two free throws to break the tie, then following a Bainbridge turnover, his dunk over a defender made it 71-68 with 2:07 left.
The Bearcats trimmed it to one at 71-70 on a fastbreak layup by Davis with 1:01 remaining. However, that was as close as Bainbridge would get.
Porter, Curry and Rod Jones led the Trojans with 13 points apiece, while Khalil Day added 11 and Jamie Williams finished 10.
Curry and Jones came up big in overtime for Dougherty, scoring five points each.
Milton Gayle led Bainbridge with 16 points, while Jeremy Freeman and Maleke Lurry scored 10 points each to lead the Bearcats.
Dougherty will face Northeast Macon in the boys early game at 5 p.m. at Monroe High School