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Dora gets over hump
DORA — The
slow start, the bad losses and the losing streaks — all forgotten
now.Dora is going to the regional tournament. The Bulldogs knocked
off Brooks 61-51 to earn a spot at the Northwest Regional Tournament
at Wallace State-Hanceville. Dora will face Madison County at 10:30
“Before the season started, everybody thought, ‘Hey, Dora is going to be pretty good.’ As the season went along, they said, ‘Well, this team isn’t good at all.’ My guys didn’t quit and didn’t get down,” Dora coach Bart Payne said. “They could have listened to everybody else, but they didn’t. After we lost to Carbon Hill, some of our fans quit on us, but our guys continued to work hard “The season didn’t go exactly like we wanted it to go. I told them, ‘Don’t give up. There’s a lot of basketball yet to be played and we’ll start playing better at the right time.’ It’s all taking place now.”
Senior Kyle Chance, who had a team-high 17 points in Saturday’s win, said the team bounced back with some good practices leading into the area tournament.
“I believe we outworked everybody in the county these last two weeks. That really got us turned around,” Chance said. “We had a terrible start to the season. It was hard. When we lost to Carbon Hill, we thought about giving up because things were so tough. We just told ourselves we weren’t going to lose any more. We’ve been winning since then. All of us stepped up tonight. It was a total team effort.”
Dora earned a home sub-regional game after upsetting Haleyville in the area tournament championship game.
The Bulldogs continued their impressive run Friday night against Brooks.
The game was close throughout.
Dora led 13-12 after one quarter and 25-24 at the half. Dora held a 35-32 lead after three quarters.
The Bulldogs began to pull away in the fourth quarter. Dora led 46-39 at the five-minute mark only to have Brooks (17-12) make one final stand.
Tyler Cook knocked down a pair of shots and Tyler Corum connected on two free throws to cut the lead to 46-44 at the 4:01 mark.
That was as close as the Lions got.
Dora senior Chavis Williams changed the complexion of the game when he came up with a loose ball at half court and went the rest of the way for a one-handed dunk that put the Bulldogs over the top at the 2:40 mark.
Williams forced a turnover on the next Brooks’ possession and Lavertis Towns put back a Whit Wright miss seconds later for a 50-44 lead.
Dora (17-11) pushed its lead to 55-46 with 53 seconds left when Towns hit a floater in the lane as he was fouled. He completed the 3-point play and Dora hit its last six free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
Along with Chance’s 17 points, Towns added 15 and Wright put in 12. Terrance Reed added seven, Marquis Chapel had six and Williams scored four.
Wright played despite coming down sick on Thursday.
“We did this for the seniors. We worked so hard to get here and we finally made it,” Wright said, adding that the tough start to the season makes getting to the regional that much sweeter. “We were down. Not only was the team confused, but the community didn’t really come out the past couple of games. We showed them that we weren’t done when we won the area. Now our fans are going to Wallace.”
For Brooks, Caleb Graham led the way with 14 points, Blake Burns scored 12, Corum put in 11 and Cook added 10.
Payne said Dora’s size advantage played a role against a smaller Brooks team.
“We were able to pound the ball inside to Lavertis and Chavis and they were able to make shots. Whit was out there and was about to pass out, but he played the entire game hard,” Payne added. “That’s what you want out of your leaders. I’m so proud of my guys.”