DAWSON -- Jabari McGhee said: "I thought I was going to go deaf,'' and Rantavious Gilbert finished his sentence, saying, "It was so loud I couldn't hear anything on the court.''
Both of Monroe's big men were speaking softly now, tucked away in a quiet locker room, where you could almost hear a sigh of relief.
No need to raise their voices. They had already made more noise than anyone at Terrell County wanted to hear.
McGhee and Gilbert (or is it Gilbert and McGhee?) aren't just the straws that stir the drink for Monroe, they're the blender, the one that has whipped the Tornadoes into one of the best Class AAA teams in Georgia.
Just ask Terrell County, which have lost three games all year. Two of those are to the Herald No. 1 Tornadoes, who did it again Saturday night with a 52-46 comeback, right there in the Terrell County gym, where a deafening, standing-room-only crowd rocked the place all night.
But it was the Twin Tornadoes -- 6-foot-7 McGhee and 6-8 Gilbert -- who rocked this back-and-forth game back to the Tornadoes, who needed a detective and a seeing-eye dog to find the basket in the second quarter.
That's when the Tornadoes went 0-for-15 from the field. That's right OH-for 15, missing every shot they took in the second quarter, while Terrell County's Charles Brown was having target practice at the other end. Brown, who loves the torpedo metaphor when talking about the Greenwave, played the part well with one long-range 3 after another. He bagged three treys, scored nine of Terrell County's 13 points and ended the half with a monster 3 at the buzzer to lift the Greenwave to a 22-17 lead.
All of this occurred with Gilbert and McGhee on the bench, saddled in foul trouble, but when they came back the game was never the same.
"We made a run,'' Monroe coach Marquis Davis said. "They were a spark for us in the second half -- a major spark.''
Gilbert, who picked up two fouls in the first 75 seconds of the game, went inside immediately to start the second half with a drive and then on the next possession McGhee drove the lane and laced a pass to Gilbert, who had four points in less than a minute. Terrell County answered, but Gilbert snatched a rebound and had a put-back to keep it close, and Monroe was off and running.
Gilbert and McGhee combined to make 6 of 7 shots in the third, scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots as Monroe took over the game.
McGhee's drive with 2:50 left in the third lifted Monroe to a 31-30 lead, and guard Ted Hosley followed with a drive in traffic, before McGhee hit another drive to lift the Tornadoes to 35-31 cushion. Then Carlos Brown grabbed an offensive rebound, drove outside and busted his second 3-pointer of the night to make it a 38-32 game.
McGhee topped that play with his patented coast-to-coast move. If you follow Monroe, you've seen this a lot. McGhee grabs a defensive rebound and just flies down the court, spinning to the hoop for a crowd shaking basket. That's the way the quarter ended with McGhee's dive and 40-32 Monroe edge -- a 23-10 quarter that redefined the game.
"Coach told us at halftime that we needed to take it to the rack,'' said McGhee, who racked up seven points in the third and finished with nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks after fouling out with 3:38 left in the game.
They did. After getting blanked in the second quarter, Monroe went 10-for-15 in the third, and hit two of its first four shots in the fourth, a baseline jumper by Gilbert and a pretty drive by Hosley, who gave Monroe a 44-32 lead. The Tornadoes never looked back.
McGhee played less than a half. So did Gilbert, who finished with eight points, seven rebounds and five blocks. Hosley, who hit some big drives, led the way with 12 points -- all in the second half -- and Brown had a big game, leading the Tornadoes with 10 rebounds and two blocks. He hit a pair of 3's and finished with nine points.
"Carlos' shot wasn't falling so he did some other things to help us,'' Davis said. "This was a team effort. It was an up-and-down game with Terrell County. Anytime you play them it's going to be like that. The gym was packed, and it was an exciting game.''
Davis said his kids simply started slow.
"I think in the first half we were too timid, and they were a lot more aggressive,'' he said. "We came back. Our kids have a lot of heart.''
Terrell County (18-3), ranked No. 4 in the Class A state poll and No. 3 in The Herald, has gotten better and better all year, and looked ready to avenge the 60-46 loss at Monroe on Dec. 11, but the Tornadoes just beat them inside in the second half
Brown made five 3s and led the way with 21 points and Super 6er Terel Hall, who fouled out with 1:29 left, finished with eight points and six assists. Dekoven Ware, who is Terrell County's tallest starter at 6-feet, scored five points. Markez Dotson, a key member of the team, didn't play because of disciplinary reasons.
"They had a run in the third, but they're a little larger than us,'' Terrell County coach John Davis said afterward. "But I'm proud of our kids. It was an exciting game, good for the fans. But the way I look at it, this game will help us get ready for our region.''
MONROE GIRLS 62, TERRELL COUNTY 37:
Herald Super 6er Sheniqua Young made six of her first 10 3-point shots, finished the game with seven 3s and 29 points and Monroe romped.
"I was more open in this game,'' said Young, who scored 18 of Monroe's first 30 points and had 21 points at halftime. "And I was just making my shot. I was running from sideline to sideline and just getting open.''
Young also had three rebounds and four steals. Her personal record for 3s is eight in one game.
Monroe also had big nights from Davone Anduze (10 points, five steals) and Ashley Johnson (10 points and eight rebounds.). Terrell County (5-15) was led by sophomore Nydra Wright (12 points), Cortisha Schley (6 points) and Jalessa Richardson (6 points).