Jabari McGhee and Monroe used a big second half to beat Worth County on Friday to stay unbeaten in region play.
ALBANY — They give high school basketball coaches exactly 10 minutes during halftime to talk to their players.
Monroe’s Marquis Davis used every second of it Friday night against Worth County.
“It took him that long to tell us what we were doing wrong,” Monroe senior and Herald Super 6er Jabari McGhee said.
Davis’ postgame speech was considerably shorter.
McGhee and The Herald No. 1 Tornadoes responded to Davis’ halftime talk, opened the second half with a 14-2 run and turned a relatively close game at the half into a 66-41 Region 1-AAAA win.
“I thought we were dragging in the first half, and I said that in the second half we needed to pay more attention to detail,” Davis said. “They had two post guys, and we have about five. In the second half we came right out and went inside.”
Monroe post players McGhee and Tim White powered the Tornadoes’ second-half surge and lifted Monroe to a 23-point lead midway through the third quarter.
And the Tornadoes (13-2, 7-0), who have now won three straight after losing back-to-back games in Atlanta, never looked back.
“If we are sluggish, we just have to tell them to pick it up some,” said McGhee, who also spoke to his teammates during halftime. “We just have to keep going and keep going harder. It wasn’t going to be a two-point game.”
Worth County (7-8, 2-5) cut Monroe’s lead to as few as three points midway through the second quarter and trailed by 11 going into halftime, but the Rams were overwhelmed by the Tornadoes’ defense and inside presence in the second half.
“They are a very good team, and they proved it (Friday) night,” said Worth County coach Arthur Davis, whose Rams have lost five region games in a row after starting out with two straight wins. “Early on we were handling their pressure, but then we started making mistakes. When we made mistakes, they capitalized on them.”
McGhee (15 points, seven rebounds) and White (12 points, 13 rebounds) led Monroe despite sitting out for most of the second half. Hakeem Porter and Darien Anderson each added nine points for the Tornadoes, who grabbed a 9-7 lead on a White jumper with 5:20 left in the first quarter and never trailed again.
The Tornadoes led by as many as 10 points early in the second quarter, but Worth County went on a 9-2 run midway through the period to cut Monroe’s lead to 21-18.
Monroe closed the second half on an 11-3 run thanks to a couple of one-handed, rim-rattling dunks from McGhee on a pair of fast breaks, which both came from Worth County turnovers.
“Defense is our push,” McGhee said. “If we play well on defense, then our offense is going to come through. We have scorers, but we just need to get the momentum going on defense.”
The Rams, who play again today at Baker County, were led by Timothy Gaint’s eight points, while Justin Green scored seven and Brandon Moore and Nick Burley each scored six.
Monroe plays again tonight in the Albany Civic Center against city rival Westover and will try to go 3-0 against the Herald No. 2 Patriots this season.
MONROE GIRLS 62, WORTH COUNTY 26: Herald Super 6er Key Key Price dropped in 12 points to lead the Lady Tornadoes to an easy Region 1-AAAA victory Friday night.
Herald No. 2 Monroe, which led 29-6 at halftime, improved to 13-4 overall and 7-0 in the region, while Worth County dropped to 1-13 overall and 0-6 in the region.
Paige Cox added 11 points for the Lady Tornadoes, who were able to bounce back from last Saturday’s 56-54 loss to Herald No. 1 Randolph-Clay.
Kristavia Milton scored 12 points to lead the Lady Rams, who have lost six in a row since defeating Baker County — their next opponent — 50-40.