And this one wasn’t decided until the final horn sounded.
Carbon Hill put up a potential game-tying shot with two seconds left on the clock. Daniel Woodard got an open look at the basket, but the shot rolled around the rim and skimmed out giving Dora the 4A, Area 8 Tournament title with a 64-61 win.
Next up for the Bulldogs is a home sub-regional playoff game against Bibb County set for 7 p.m. Friday. The winner advances to the Central Regional Tournament in Montgomery.
Monday’s game was in stark contrast to the last meeting between the Bulldogs. In the semifinals of the Walker County Tournament, Dora coughed up an 11-point, fourth-quarter lead to Carbon Hill.
On Monday, Dora trailed by two points entering the fourth quarter, but made up the deficit and took the lead for good midway through the quarter.
Dora and Carbon Hill have split their four meetings this season.
“I guess you can say it’s redemption,” Dora senior Caleb May said. “We had a hard loss (at county), but we came out on top this time. This was a big win. I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates.
“We’ve been preparing for this game for the last couple of weeks and we just came out and played.”
“This is a big win right here,” Dora senior DeAngelo Pendleton said. “Now we get to play at home. We will have a big home crowd. That will help us out a lot.”
Carbon Hill didn’t go down without a fight on Monday.
Dora’s Kaleil James made a free throw with 14.8 seconds left to put Dora on top 64-61. The second free throw missed the mark with Dora picking up the rebound.
After missing a shot, a Dora turnover gave Carbon Hill the ball with the clock running out. Carbon Hill got an outlet pass to Woodard who caught the ball and backed up a step to shoot an uncontested 3-pointer.
The shot just missed the mark and Woodard was unable to put up another attempt before the horn sounded.
“We had to battle to the end. Carbon Hill has a lot of pride. They’ve been to Birmingham the last couple of years so they aren’t going to quit,” Dora coach Michael Bridges said.
Fifth-ranked Carbon Hill led 48-46 going into the final quarter.
Dora wasted no time taking the lead with Kenton Petties connecting on a 3-pointer and a layup. May then came up with a loose ball and a basket for a 53-48 lead. A DeAngelo Pendleton free throw with 4:47 left capped an 8-0 Dora run.
Carbon Hill stayed close thanks to a 3-point play from Gerald Smith. Later in the quarter, Carbon Hill got as close as one point at 57-56 following a Woodard 3-pointer from the wing with 2:06 left.
Dora (18-7) went 4 of 5 from the free throw line down the home stretch with Petties and May each knocking down a pair and James making one. Dora made 9 of 12 free throws in the final quarter.
A Devonta Gosha layup put Dora up 61-57 with 1:05 left. Smith made two free throws for Carbon Hill to make the score 61-59 with 46 seconds remaining. After a pair of May free throws for Dora, Smith made a layup with 18 seconds left to cut Dora’s lead to 63-61.
Carbon Hill got no closer.
Dora jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and led 19-12 after the opening quarter. Dora led by as many as 11 points at 27-16, but Carbon Hill cut the gap to 39-34 at the half.
Carbon Hill took its first lead with 3:39 left in the third quarter when Garrett Kirkland took a long outlet pass and knocked down a 3-pointer for a 43-41 lead. Dora’s Pendleton converted a 3-point play seconds later to give Dora a 44-43 advantage. Carbon Hill led 48-46 after three quarters.
Pendleton led Dora with 17 points. Deointe Smith added 12 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks, May finished with 10 points, Petties added nine points, Devonta Gosha put in eight, James added six and Austin Johnson had two.
Kirkland connected on four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points for Carbon Hill (21-9), but he didn’t score in the final quarter. Smith added 17,Chandler Gann had eight points and Jon Bray had six. Both Stevie Simerly and Isaac Slaton each had two points.
“This was a hard-fought game,” Carbon Hill Robert Epps. “I think the difference was their ability to make us turn the ball over. We had too many turnovers. I think we play better when we play better competition. It’s just the way this team is.”
Next up for Carbon Hill is a sub-regional road game at Calera on Friday.
Calera knocked off Bibb County 60-55 in overtime on the road in the Class 4A, Area 7 Tournament final on Monday.
Epps likes his teams chances going to Calera on Friday.
“I don’t think we will be uptight or anything. All season long we’ve been able to bounce back and play well after a loss,” Epps said.