Monroe’s Daryl Anderson brings a lethal outside shot to the Tornadoes’ arsenal, which is led by Herald Super 6er Jabari McGhee and has the Nadas on top of the Fab 5 Poll.
Fab 5 Polls
1.) Monroe 4-0
2.) Westover 1-1
3.) Bainbridge 0-0
4.) Randolph-Clay 2-1
5.) Mitchell County 1-1
1.) Monroe 5-0
2.) Crisp 2-0
3.) Randolph-Clay 4-1
4.) Westover 2-3
5.) Mitchell County 0-2
ALBANY — Football is officially over for the teams in The Herald’s coverage area, and it’s time to unveil the first Fab 5 Polls for high school basketball.
There are two things you need to know about the Fab 5 Polls:
1) They will change.
2) They will change.
No one has jumped out to a better start than Monroe, and we’re talking both boys and girls. It’s all about the Nadas as the first poll is released.
Marquis Davis’ Tornadoes are off to a 4-0 start and No. 1 in the boys poll, and Cheryl Cheeks’ Lady Tornadoes are 5-0 and ranked No. 1 in the girls poll.
Monroe edged out city rival Westover for the top spot in the boys poll, but there is no point in arguing about who is No. 1 right now.
The two teams meet on Dec. 14 to resolve the question of early dominance.
Monroe returns Super 6er Jabari McGhee, but that’s not the only reason the Tornadoes are No. 1.
Davis has assembled a nice cast of players around McGhee, who can dominate a game, and the Tornadoes have shown balanced scoring and have played an unselfish brand of basketball that could take this team a long way. The Nadas are also playing lights-out defense after opening the season with a 28-0 run against city rival Dougherty.
They’ve won three more since and face Albany High at 7:30 tonight at AHS, and they travel to Crisp County on Friday to meet the team that beat Monroe in the region title game last year.
Westover is 1-1 after losing to Tift County’s all-star team on Saturday. Tift may win the Class AAAAAA state title. Monroe lost to Tift in a scrimmage, and it was a toss-up to pick either Monroe or Westover at No. 1 to start the season.
The Patriots return T.J. Cromer, who led them in scoring last season, but the biggest difference is the addition of young and physical players such as C.J. Davis, Kahlil Carter and Andre Kennedy. Coach Dallis Smith wants a better inside presence this season, and he has the horses to get it done. Westover advanced to the second round of the state playoffs last year and lost to a very physical team from Drew, which went on to play for the state title, and Smith would like to see his Patriots return to the Final Four after a two-year absence. Westover (1-1) plays host to Americus-Sumter at 7:30 tonight.
No Class AAAAA team in Southwest Georgia has won more games or has more tradition than Bainbridge, and Ricky McCullough should have another competitive team this season. The Bearcats begin the season ranked No. 3 in the Fab 5 poll, and open their season tonight at home against Class AAAAAA Colquitt County.
Randolph-Clay has a new coach in Michael Hoffpauir and debuts in the poll at No. 4 after making a statement on Saturday night in Camilla, where the Red Devils knocked off Mitchell County 58-55. Randolph-Clay has Gary McCrae back to lead a team that looks like the favorite in Region 1-A this year.
The Red Devils, who lost to Monroe, 70-43, in their opener, are 2-1 and travel to Baker County tonight.
Mitchell starts off at No. 5 in the poll. The Eagles return the core group from last year’s Elite 8 team, including Jermaine Hartsfield, a 6-5 post player who was a big part of last year’s state playoff run. Mitchell plays host to Lee County tonight, and will be home Friday for a big showdown with Calhoun County — the team the Eagles beat to win the Region 1-A title last year.
LADY TORNADOES HEADLINE GIRLS FAB 5: Monroe’s girls are the clear choice at No. 1 to open the polling season. They’re fast, they’re young and they’re hungry. Monroe made history last year by advancing to the Elite 8 round of the playoffs for the third time, and Cheryl Cheeks’ team looks like it could make a Final Four run this year.
Not only did the Lady Tornadoes return starters Key-Key Price and Davone Anduze, but freshmen Jomekia Morine and Cekaya Mack have given the team a new look and dimension. The Lady Tornadoes still play an unrelenting defense but have more talent on the court than in past seasons. They already own big wins against Dougherty, Randolph-Clay and Class AAAAAA Valdosta.
Monroe (5-0) plays at Albany High tonight and then faces Crisp County in Cordele Friday in a showdown between The Herald’s top two teams.
Crisp County is No. 2 in the poll, right behind Monroe’s red-hot team. The Lady Cougars have a new coach in Barrett Wilkes, who has the luxury of having 6-2 Nasheema Oliver back. Oliver, who is just a junior, led Crisp to the Final Four as a freshman and to the region title and the second round of the playoffs a year ago. The Lady Cougars are off to a 2-0 start and host a very tough Dougherty team that is on the bubble of being in the Fab 5 tonight before facing Monroe on Friday.
Randolph-Clay is off and running with a 4-1 record after making a statement Saturday with a big 66-45 win against Mitchell County. Kenekia Washington, Adrianna Blackmon and Kobi Thornton lead the way for a Red Devils team that could be the best since the Destiny Mitchell team of 2010. Randolph-Clay’s only loss was to Monroe, 60-53. The Lady Devils play at Baker County tonight.
Westover, which was last year’s No. 1 team in the Fab 5 poll for the entire season after winning its first 25 games, starts the new poll at No. 4. There’s a lot of young talent left to try to fill in the void of losing Herald Player of the Year DyTiesha Dunson. Mykesa Smith and Au’Breanna Moore lead the way for Lewis Smith’s team. The Lady Patriots host region rival Americus-Sumter tonight.
Mitchell County (0-2) returns A’Miracle Jones and Shonbreka Holton from last year’s Elite 8 team and begins the season as the fifth-ranked team in the poll after losing to Randolph-Clay .