ALBANY -- Monroe's boys stuck to the same script that had kept them unbeaten this season.
Play close early, spurt to a bigger lead, maintain that lead and sprint to the finish.
Robert Arnold scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the first half and Monroe used an 8-0 run in the third quarter to cruise to a 69-55 win against scrappy Worth County on Tuesday night.
"That is a very deep, very athletic team over there that really gets after it," first-year Worth coach Arthur Davis said of Monroe. "We did not play a bad game. But it's going to take us a little while to get to their level. We are trying to get where they are at. We want to play like Monroe and Westover, but it's gonna take some time to do it."
Monroe, the Herald's No. 1 team, improved to 16-0 and 7-0 in 1-AAA play.
The Tornadoes clung to a 19-17 lead at the end of the first period and led only 39-31 at the half. Worth County (4-13, 1-5) got as close as seven points, 45-38 at the six minute mark of the third period, but the Tornadoes -- sparked by four points from Arnold and a roof-rattling slam by Brandon Johnson -- went up 53-38 and never looked back.
Monroe coach Marquis Davis, meanwhile, was more impressed by the defense in this win than anything else.
"Our defense has been very good all year," the Monroe coach said. "We played well defensively and we needed too."
Josh Alford led the Rams with 15 points, Jatavius Rockwell added 13 and point guard Dee Neither notched 15.
Carlos Brown, who knocked down three 3-pointers in the first half, followed Arnold with 11 points.
Monroe will entertain Peach County on Friday, while Worth County will host Cairo.
MONROE GIRLS 92, WORTH COUNTY 35:
You'd think most coaches, after reaching a season high in points and crushing an opponent by 57 points, would be happy.
Not Cheryl Cheeks.
The Lady Tornadoes' coach got a season-high 31 points from Lakeshia Jackson as five players scored in double figures, though the performance frustrated her.
"It's not about the points scored -- it's about playing the fundamentals of the game," Cheeks said after Monroe won its fifth out of the last six games to improve to 8-9 and 4-3 in region play. "We are still free-lancing way too much. We've been with this team for three years and it's about time we started playing the game the way it is meant to be played."
Monroe got 15 points from Jackson in the first period as Monroe raced to a 22-5 lead at the end of the period.
Monroe dropped in 10 three-pointers on the night as Herald Player of the Week Shenequa Young hit four of them enroute to an 18-point night and Vanshayla Johnson came off the bench with three more to finish with 11 points. Ashley Johnson chipped in 11 points and Destinee Collins added 10.
Worth (4-13, 1-5) was led by 15 points from Christie Smith and 10 from Kim Evans.