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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL --- WEEKLY PREP PEEK: R-C girls overtake Monroe as new No. 1

Randolph-Clay’s Brianna Thornton, left, chases a loose ball during Saturday’s Herald Fab 5 showdown between then-No. 1 Monroe and the No. 2 Lady Red Devils, who won to take over the top spot. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

Randolph-Clay’s Brianna Thornton, left, chases a loose ball during Saturday’s Herald Fab 5 showdown between then-No. 1 Monroe and the No. 2 Lady Red Devils, who won to take over the top spot. (joe.bellacomo@albanyherald.com)

ALBANY — The Randolph-Clay girls take over the No. 1 spot in The Herald’s Fab 5 Poll after their dramatic 56-54 overtime win against Monroe, which had been No. 1 since the first poll of the season.

The Lady Red Devils (11-2) lost on opening night to Monroe but have won 11 of 12 games since and beat Carrollton, which beat Monroe in a holiday tournament. Their only loss was by three points to state power Greater Atlanta Christian. R-C looks like a Class A state power with balance and talent everywhere with the best sister-sister act in Georgia. Kobi and Brianna Thornton can dominate inside while the Washington twin sisters — Whenekia and Kanekia — shoot and run the floor. Adriana Blackmon, a four-year starter, is the heart of the team, and it was her steal and drive in the final seconds that lifted R-C past Monroe this past Saturday.

This is Randolph-Clay’s best team since the Destiny Mitchell days (Blackmon was a freshman on that 2009-10 team), and coach Jennifer Acree believes this year’s team can be “special.”

Monroe’s girls (12-4) are No. 2. The Lady Tornadoes may not lose another game and end up in the Class AAAA Final Four, and Pelham, which lost to Monroe in OT over the break, is at No. 3 this week. Crisp County is No. 4, and Seminole County, which has lost to only Pelham and Randolph-Clay, moves into the fifth spot as Mitchell County drops out of the poll. Mitchell plays Seminole Friday in a huge Region 1-A South showdown.

Monroe’s Tornadoes stay atop the boys poll, and coach Marquis Davis is hoping two tough, three-point losses in Atlanta to Class AAAAAA Luella and Florida powerhouse Oakland Park Northeast will make his team better down the stretch. Monroe bounced back with two romps against Terrell County and Randolph-Clay over the weekend and has another big test on Saturday against No. 2 Westover in the Civic Center.

Westover (10-2) is perfect except for two losses to Monroe and has a big week, facing Worth tonight, Dougherty on Friday and Monroe on Saturday. Bainbridge moves up from No. 5 to No. 3 as both Randolph-Clay (7-7) and Mitchell County drop out of the poll. Both will have plenty of opportunities to get back in as region races heat up.

Albany High, which has improved dramatically, beat Mitchell, 50-47, to make its way into the poll, and Seminole County, which has been on the bubble, makes its debut in the poll at No. 5 with a 10-2 record and one of the youngest teams in SW Georgia.


NEW HERALD FAB 5 POLL:

Boys

1.) Monroe ....... 12-2

The Nadas bounced back from a pair of tough losses with back-to-back romps against Terrell County and Randolph-Clay. Next: vs. Worth County, 7:30 p.m. Friday.

2.)Westover ......10-2

After a long layoff, the Patriots had a 64-43 win against Terrell County on Saturday but now must face Worth, Dougherty and Monroe this week. Next: at Worth County, 7:30 p.m. today.

3.) Bainbridge ........ 7-3

The Bearcats move up to No. 3 with wins against Seminole County and Miller and look ready to make a run at another Region 1-AAAAA title. Next: vs. Harris County, 7:30 p.m. Friday.

4.) Albany ........ 7-5

The Indians have improved all season and knocked Mitchell County out of the Fab Five Poll with a 50-47 win this past Saturday. Next: vs. Americus-Sumter, 7:30 p.m. today.

5.) Seminole County ......10-2 The Indians have been on the bubble for a while and finally break into the Fab 5 with one of the best records in Southwest Georgia. Next: at Baker County, 7:30 p.m. today.

Girls

1.) Randolph-Clay .... 11-2

The Lady Red Devils have won 11 of 12 (falling to state power Greater Atlanta Christian in a tournament by three points) since losing on opening night to Monroe and take over the top spot after their 56-54 win against Monroe. Next: vs. Quitman, 6 p.m. today.

2.) Monroe ..... 12-4

Three holiday losses didn’t hurt as much as Saturday’s 56-54 loss to Randolph-Clay, which also beat the same Carrollton team that beat Monroe. Next: vs. Worth County, 6 p.m. Friday.

3.) Pelham ....... 9-2

The Lady Hornets lost to Monroe in OT and to AAAAAA Colquit County in a holiday tournament, but they have beaten everyone else convincingly. Next: vs. Berrien, 6 p.m. today.

4.) Crisp County .......7-3

The Lady Cougars have lost only to Monroe and Class AAAAAA Valdosta and Tift County and are right behind Monroe in the Region 1-AAAA race. Next: at Americus, 6 p.m. Friday.

5.) Seminole County .... 6-3

The Lady Indians have lost only to Pelham (twice) and Randolph-Clay and face a big test Friday against defending Region 1-A champ Mitchell County. Next: at Baker County, 6 p.m. today.


AREA SCHEDULE:

Today

6 p.m.

Americus-Sumter girls at Albany

Westover girls at Worth County

Calhoun County girls at Webster County

Seminole County girls at Baker County

Miller County girls at Mitchell County

Terrell County girls at Stewart

Berrien girls at Pelham

Quitman girls at Randolph-Clay

Calhoun County girls at Webster

Grace Christian girls at Emmanuel

6:30 p.m.

Stratford girls at DWS

Randolph Southern girls at Crisp Academy

Westwood girls at TAE

Stratford girls at DWS

SGA girls at Sherwood

7:30 p.m.

Americus-Sumter boys at Albany

Westover boys at Worth County

Berrien boys at Pelham

Miller County boys at Mitchell County

Terrell County boys at Stewart

Quitman boys at Randolph-Clay

Calhoun County boys at Webster County

Seminole County boys at Baker County

Calhoun County boys at Webster

Grace Christian boys at Emmanuel

8 p.m.

Stratford boys at DWS

Randolph Southern girls at Crisp Academy

Westwood boys at TAE

SGA boys at Sherwood

Thursday

6:30 p.m.

Valwood girls at SGA

8 p.m.

Valwood boys at SGA

Friday

6 p.m.

Dougherty girls at Westover

Albany High girls at Cairo

Worth County girls at Monroe

Americus-Sumter girls at Crisp County

Randolph-Clay girls at Calhoun County

Mitchell County girls at Seminole County

Pelham girls at Thomasville

Baker girls at Miller

Harris County girls at Bainbridge

6:30 p.m.

DWS girls at Southland

Crisp Academy girls at Highland

TAE girls at Brookwood

Grace Christian girls at Georgia Christian

Fullington girls at Randolph Southern

Westwood girls at Sherwood

Furtah girls at SGA

7 p.m.

Lee County girls at Hardaway

7:30 p.m.

Albany High boys at Cairo

Worth County boys at Monroe

Dougherty boys at Westover

Harris County boys at Bainbridge

Americus-Sumter boys at Crisp County

Randolph-Clay boys at Calhoun County

Mitchell County boys at Seminole County

Pelham boys at Thomasville

Baker boys at Miller

Furtah boys at SGA

8 p.m.

DWS boys at Southland

Crisp Academy girls at Highland

TAE boys at Brookwood

Grace Christian boys at Georgia Christian

Fullington boys at Randolph Southern

Westwood boys at Sherwood

8:30 p.m.

Lee County boys at Hardaway

Saturday

3 p.m.

Furtah Prep girls at DWS

4 p.m.

Albany girls vs. Dougherty at the Civic Center

4:30 p.m.

Furtah Prep boys at DWS

5:30 p.m.

Monroe girls vs. Westover at the Civic Center

6 p.m.

Americus-Sumter girls at Terrell County

Worth County girls at Baker County

Seminole girls at Stewart County

Randolph-Clay girls at Early County

Americus-Sumter girls at Terrell County

7 p.m.

Albany girls vs. Dougherty at the Civic Center

7:30 p.m.

Americus-Sumter boys at Terrell County

Worth County boys at Baker County

Seminole boys at Stewart County

Randolph-Clay boys at Early County

Americus-Sumter boys at Terrell County

8:30 p.m.

Monroe boys vs. Westover at the Civic Center


QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“I’m going to be more aggressive. That’s a promise. This is my senior year and we have dedicated the season to coach (Jesse) McLeod (who lost his battle with cancer last summer), so we are giving it everything. I know I have to be more aggressive, and I will. That’s a promise. You can write it down.”

--- Katrese Brown,

Seminole County senior on what motivated her and her team to a 66-41 win against Bainbridge


GAMES OF THE WEEK:

(Game times reflect girls game first, followed by the boys game)

Tonight:

Miller County at Mitchell County, 6 & 7:30 p.m.

Westwood at Terrell Academy, 6:30 & 8 p.m.

Stratford at Deerfield, 6:30 & 8 p.m.

Friday:

Dougherty at Westover, 6 & 7:30 p.m.

Mitchell County at Seminole County, 6 & 7:30 p.m.

Pelham at Thomasville, 6 & 7:30 p.m.

Randolph-Clay at Calhoun County, 6 & 7:30 p.m.

Deerfield at Southland, 6:30 & 8 p.m.

Saturday:

Albany vs. Dougherty, 4 & 7 p.m.

Westover vs. Monroe, 5:30 & 8:30 p.m.

At the Albany Civic Center


BY THE NUMBERS:

47:

Number of points Mitchell County’s boys turned around in 2 games against Valdosta. The Eagles lost by 24 points earlier in the year, and then beat Valdosta, 67-44, Friday for a 47-point turnaround.

9:

Number of blocked shots by Randolph-Clay’s Thornton sisters in their 56-54 win vs. Monroe. Kobi Thornton, a freshman, blocked six shots and had 11 rebounds and her sister Brianna, a sophomore, blocked three shots and had eight boards.