Westover’s Keshay Walton (23) takes a shot as Dougherty’s Kennard Norris (10) defends during Friday night’s game.

ALBANY — The No. 2-ranked Westover Patriots (12-0) are still undefeated. Barely. By the skin of their teeth.

Freshman Jeremiah Waters sank one of two free throws with 4.9 seconds remaining in the game to give Westover (12-0) a 44-43 win over crosstown rival Dougherty (6-6) Friday night at Dougherty High School. It was the second time in two weeks the Dougherty Trojans played a team ranked No. 2 in the state, and the second time they lost by a very small margin. During the U-Save-It Christmas Classic, Dougherty fell to then second-ranked Baldwin 50-46.

Both teams live and die by speed, defense, and pinpoint outside shooting. The pinpoint shooting from outside was not a factor Friday night for either team as Westover only made three 3-point shots (two by Kemari Leverette and one by Keshay Walton) and Dougherty hit only two (one from Elijah West and one from Kaleke Singletary-Jinks).

The Trojans led 26-23 at the half and in the third quarter neither team could not find the bottom of the basket. For more than three and a half minutes the teams raced up and down the court without a basket being made until Dougherty’s Singletary-Jinks swished a 3-pointer that gave the Trojans 34-27 advantage. The Patriots had several chances to tie or take the lead in the close game but missed some free throws and other opportunities until Anthony Milton tied the game with a basket underneath the basket with less than a minute to play.

With the game tied, the Trojans rushed down the court to attempt the winning shot, but the shot missed and Waters was fouled battling for the rebound. That gave Waters the opportunity to shoot a one and one. After a timeout, the freshman sank the first free throw and missed the second. Dougherty raced down the court as time expired and Kennard Norris threw up a shot at the buzzer, but it bounced off the rim, sealing the win for the Patriots.

Westover was led in scoring by Walton and Effrin Smith who each scored 12 points. Norris led the Trojans with 12 points, Lavonta Clyde scored nine, and Elijah West had seven.

The girls game was just as intense, but Westover made an even bigger comeback to win that game 49-47. Westover’s La’Daja Caldwell scored with 19 seconds left in the game to break a 47-47 tie and push the Lady Patriots to 9-4 on the season. The Lady Trojans fell to 9-5 on the season.

The Lady Trojans opened up with a 6-0 lead to start the game and led 17-7 after two 3-pointers from Kaylin Thompson and one from Shakeria Hallman, who was in her second game of the season after suffering an injury. The Lady Trojans stretched that lead to 14 points — leading 27-13 early in the quarter. But the Lady Patriot offense led by Rayven Thurston and Anaiya Donaldson came alive and outscored the Lady Trojans in both the third and fourth quarters to take the win.

Thurston led the Lady Patriots with 12 points and six blocked shots. She too is back after an injury before Christmas. Donaldson scored 11 for Westover and Lundyn Walker added nine. Thompson led Dougherty with 16 while Jacquelyn Buchanan added 11.

The Trojans will host Cairo Tuesday night at Dougherty High School while Westover will be on the road against Bainbridge.

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