ALBANY — It’s fitting that the Monroe girls basketball team is called the Lady Tornadoes given its run-like-the-wind style of play.
The Lady Tornadoes’ high-tempo offense proved to be a success again as they defeated Lee County, 67-52, Saturday night at the second and final day of the DOCO Thanksgiving Shootout at Westover High School.
The win keeps Monroe unbeaten at 4-0, while Lee County drops to 2-2 on the year.
Monroe’s Key Key Price poured in 21 points to lead all scorers. Her teammates Cekeya Mack and freshman Erica Hayes had 18 and 10 points, respectively. Jomekia Morine finished with seven points.
“Playing disciplined and listening to the coaches really helped me play (well),” Price said. “Team ball and tenacious defense — that’s what we do.”
It may be what they do, but it was not what they did to start the game as Lee County jumped ahead early. The Lady Trojans delivered the first whirlwind punch by attacking the basket in an attempt to beat Monroe at its own game.
“We started the way I have coached them to play,” said Lee County head coach Tondra Davis, whose team scored eight of the first 10 points. “Our defense was strong in the beginning, and then we made sure we were getting back when they were in transition.”
But what started off well gradually became ineffective as the Lady Tornadoes settled down and took the game into their hands.
“They started doing what is asked of them,” Monroe head coach Cheryl Cheeks said of her players. “We have a game plan, and as long as we stick to it we will be OK.”
The Lady Tornadoes were that and more once they became the aggressors. A series of fastbreak points enabled Monroe to take the lead toward the latter part of the second quarter and maintain the lead for the game’s duration.
“That’s their game, to get and go quickly, and we are not as fast as them,” Davis said. “We got tired and trying to get other kids to come in (for the starters) wasn’t working out.”
To make matters worse Lee County was no match for Monroe when it came to rebounding the ball. Several of Monroe’s second-half points came off second-chance scoring.
“(Price) stepped up (Saturday), put (the team) on her shoulders, drove to the basket and that’s how we got most of our inside points,” Cheeks explained.
Despite a gradual wearing down Lee County never gave up its fight. Katherine McConnell, who led the Lady Trojans with 13 points, tried to keep the game within reach with some timely baskets. Kayla Cooper did her part as well, scoring 12 points, while Desja Johnson contributed 11 points.
DOUGHERTY GIRLS 56, EARLY COUNTY 51: Led by Tynicia McCoy’s 31 points, the Early County Lady Bobcats certainly put the Dougherty coaching staff on the edge of their seats, but the valiant effort was not enough to overtake the Lady Trojans.
Ra’Keta Shelton had a team-high 26 points, and Amber Ward scored 17 of her own for Dougherty. Takiya Davis finished with seven points and Dominique Anderson completed Dougherty’s scoring with six points.
The Lady Trojans are now 3-1 on the year, with their only defeat coming to unbeaten Monroe.
McCoy did not get much help scoring as she was the only player from her team to score in double figures. Latoya Eaford had six points, while Ieshia Lee and Dorian White each had five points.
THOMAS COUNTY CENTRAL GIRLS 57, ALBANY 35: Albany endured its second loss in as many days, falling to Thomas County Central by 22 points.
Erica Harvey led the Lady Jackets with 13 points and Kaeci Guyton had 10 points. Ashley O’Neal and Keyonna Hampton scored six points apiece.
The Lady Indians’ leading scorer was Julyssa Brown with 15 points. Alondra Calhoun was second in scoring with eight points.