Hey... just one man's opinion here, but if I have a dough ball that's still rising I consider it to be immature. No surprise to me that the dough that kept growing and growing was the best one. My feeling is that when the dough is just about to collapse on its own, or does collapse when its container is tapped..... its ready! For me this provides the best texture and flavor, but it does take much more practice to work with dough in this state.
Try letting a sacrificial doughball rise until it falls. Note how long it took, and what temperatures you were working with. Next time use your dough ball just a little earlier than "ground zero" and see if you like it.