ALBANY — With only four points in the third quarter, it was almost impossible for Cario’s boys basketball team to play any worse.
Yet, somehow the Syrupmakers did just that in the fourth, scoring two in the final stretch Tuesday against Herald No. 3 Monroe.
Monroe, which was itching to rebound from its mind-boggling blowout loss to Albany over the weekend, put the clamp on Cario’s offense with tight man defense before securing its 10th win of the season, 36-22, Tuesday night at home.
“Defense,” Monroe head coach Marquis Davis said frankly when asked what keyed the Tornadoes to the win. “I think that’s what we were missing the last two games against Dougherty (a narrow 32-20 win) and (that loss to) Albany.”
Tuesday night the Tornadoes (10-3) prevented easy baskets at the right time. Up 22-16 at the break, Monroe completely stymied Cario’s offensive schemes in the second half, allowing a measly six points.
Herald Super 6er Jabari McGhee led the Tornadoes with a game-high 13 points, while Daniel House scored 11 and fellow Super 6er Rantavious Gilbert added eight points.
“I just tried to play hard,” McGhee said. “We were coming off a loss so I just wanted to play hard.”
While the win was paramount for Monroe, the Tornadoes were not pleased with the low offensive output; they only scored 40 in a 53-40 loss to Albany.
“We are getting all the right looks we need, we just got to knock shots down,” McGhee said.
Davis, however, acknowledged the tempo of the game being the biggest factor.
“We are going to have to pick it up,” he said. “We only scored 36 points, but what is happening is everyone is slowing the game down against Monroe High School. That’s the strategy now — to slow the game down and make us play defense, so that’s what we have to get used to.”
CAIRO GIRLS 52, MONROE 47: For three quarters, the Lady Tornadoes led against Cario. But when the final quarter arrived and Cario came hard with a full-court press, Monroe turned the ball over before turning the game over to the Lady Syrupmakers.
Cario’s Dominique Davis led all scorers with 21 points, nine rebounds and four steals.
Chelsea Cox and Super 6er Sheniqua Young scored 11 points apiece for Monroe. Keshonda Price and Cessily Colwell had eight and seven points, respectively.
Monroe’s next challenges come against city rival Westover on Friday night as both teams face off vs. the Patriots at Darton College.