Monroe star Jabari McGhee hit a buzzer beater to send Tuesday night's game against Albany into overtime and then scored five of his team's nine points in OT to lift the Tornadoes to a one-point win.
ALBANY — There were three Albany Indians between Monroe’s Jabari McGhee and the basket when he left his feet for Tuesday night’s buzzer beater to force overtime.
There might as well have been 300.
Nothing was going to stop McGhee.
“I had to make it,” McGhee said. “I knew I had to make the basket.”
The senior’s one-handed floater in the lane dropped through the bottom of the net as the clock hit zero to send the game into overtime, where McGhee and the Herald No. 1 Tornadoes held off Albany for a 65-64 victory.
The win kept Monroe undefeated at 6-0 overall and 4-0 in Region 1-AAAA, while Albany fell to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the region.
McGhee scored a career-high 33 points — 19 of which came in the second half and overtime — and grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds, and he left Albany coach Archie Chatmon shaking his head as he looked at the scorebook after the game.
“He was awesome. (Tuesday) night, he was the best player in South Georgia,” Chatmon said about McGhee, who scored five of Monroe’s nine points in OT. “My guys did a great job of contesting him and not fouling (on the final shot of regulation). He just made an unbelievable shot. He shot that ball over three people.”
The lead went back-and-forth throughout the game until Albany’s Malik Dungee-Ali had a chance to ice it with 12 seconds left when he stepped to the free throw line with a two-point lead.
Dungee-Ali missed both free throws, and Monroe point guard Johntavious Wallace pushed the ball up the court and flipped the ball to McGhee, who took two dribbles into the lane and put up the one-handed shot.
Monroe coach Marquis Davis had two timeouts in his pocket as Wallace was frantically bringing it up the court, but he elected to let it play out.
“I didn’t want to stop the momentum,” Davis said. “I just wanted to see if our guys could step up.”
The ball ended up exactly where it was supposed to.
“Absolutely (I wanted Jabari to get the ball), and his teammates know that,” Davis said. “We talked about that in practice. If we need a basket he is the guy for it.”
McGhee opened up the overtime period with a 3-point play, and the Tornadoes never trailed again. Albany’s Desmond Newberry hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of overtime to bring the Indians within one, but it was the only field goal Albany had in the final four minutes.
Four Albany players scored in double figures — Dungee-Ali (15 points), Tyler Cheese (15 points, 9 rebounds), Jamarcus Nunnally (14 points) and Emanuel Byrd (10 points, 9 rebounds).
The Indians are unranked in the Herald’s Fab 5 Poll, but McGhee said he wasn’t surprised by how close Tuesday’s game was.
“I wasn’t surprised by Albany,” McGhee said. “They have that kind of team. They have that kind of coaching staff. They fight.”
Monroe put up quite a fight, too.
“I told our guys that we hadn’t been tested yet,” Davis said. “This was our first test right here, against Albany High. It’s always a tough game for us. Albany has some great up-and-coming young guys. I hate to see them for the next three years.”
McGhee was the only Tornadoe to score in double figures. Keith Bowens added eight points, while Darien Anderson came off the bench to score seven points.
Price leads No. 1 Lady Tornadoes to victory, 59-48
ALBANY — The Monroe girls basketball team looked far from perfect Tuesday night after losing its top scorer to a knee injury.
But The Herald No. 1 Lady Tornadoes survived against city rival Albany High, 59-48, to keep their perfect record intact.
Monroe freshman phenom Jomekia Morine went down with a left knee injury four minutes into the game and spent the rest of the night on the end of the bench with an ice pack wrapped around her leg, but Key Key Price picked up the slack by scoring a game-high 22 points and grabbing five rebounds.
Lynsey Washington and Davone Anduze also scored nine and eight points, respectively, for the Lady Tornadoes, who improved to 6-0 and 4-0 in Region 1-AAAA. Morine nailed her only shot — a 3-pointer — before leaving the game.
Albany (1-5, 0-3) was led by Kairsha Jackson (12 points) and Briana Williams (11 points, 4 rebounds).
Monroe led by eight points at halftime, but Albany opened the second half on a 12-5 run to pull within one point with 3:23 remaining in the third quarter.
The Lady Tornadoes, however, answered with a 10-0 run and never led by less than eight points the rest of the game.