CAIRO -- The Dougherty Trojans overcame an early 11-point deficit Saturday night to defeat the Cairo Syrupmakers 67-59 to win the Region 1-AAAA tournament in Cairo.
Kurt Bland ignited the Trojans' comeback in the second half with three thunderous dunks.
With his team trailing 37-36, Bland began his high-wire act with a coast-to-coast one-hand slam that drew a foul and brought Dougherty fans to their feet.
Bland's second crowd-rocking slam came at the end of the third quarter.
With the score deadlocked at 46-46, Bland read a Cairo pass and stole it near mid-court. He took the turnover, drove to the basket and delivered another dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.
Bland's final dunk of the game stamped Dougherty's victory as he followed up a miss by one of his teammates with a thunderous two-hand slam in a fourth quarter in which Dougherty outscored Cairo 19-11.
Cairo started the game on fire, roaring out to a 9-2 lead behind a three-point play by Clifford Hammonds. He scored seven points and Sadarian Williams added nine points in leading the Syrupmakers to a 21-16 first-quarter lead.
The lead ballooned to 32-21 in the second as Cairo got into a nice rythym offensively.
The run began when Hammonds drove into the lane early in the second quarter and fed a nice pass to Uriah Herrington. Herrington went up for the dunk and was fouled.
As hot as Cairo was at the beginning of the second quarter, Dougherty was just as hot to end the quarter.
Eddie Holsey drained the first of his three three-pointers and drew Dougherty within five, 32-27.
The Trojans eventually closed the gap to 34-32 at intermission.
Dougherty's momentum carried over into the second half as Bland's first dunk sparked the Trojans' 14-4 run to start the half, leading to a 46-38 lead.
Cairo responded, however, behind the sharp shooting of Hammonds.
After Williams hit a basket, Hammonds reeled off six straight points to tie the game 46-46.
But Dougherty's tenacious pressure on defense forced numerous turnovers down the stretch by the Syrupmakers.
The Trojans also hit the clutch shot when it mattered most.
With Dougherty leading 54-53, Reginald Woodson launched a long-range three-pointer, increasing his team's lead to four.
The Syrupmakers never got closer.
Dougherty's Joshua Hunter capped the Trojans' victory with a slam dunk, bringing the bench to its feet.
Hammonds led the Syrupmakers with 17 points, while Williams added 15. Herrington also added 15 for the Syrupmakers, along with several huge blocks.
Woodson paced Dougherty's offense with 21 points, while Holsey chipped in 11 points.
Crisp County won the boys' third place game by a score of 76-63 over the Ware County Gators.
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