ALBANY — The Monroe Lady Tornadoes are used to speed and quickness given the region in which they play.
Monday night they dealt with size. Monday night they conquered size.
Despite a noticeable height disadvantage, the Lady Tornadoes took down the Dutchtown Lady Bulldogs at home 50-38 to claim a win in the second round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
When asked if a big team like Dutchtown changes the way Monroe runs its offense, guard Lynsey Washington bluntly answered, “No, sir, not at all.”
She finished with 12 points, while Key Key Price led all scorers with 18 points. Monroe’s biggest player, Cekeya Mack, added 11 points.
Although they still got the better of Dutchtown, the Lady Tornadoes did not cruise on offense the entire game. Anchored by 6-foot sophomore Kamera Harris, who had a game-high eight blocks before fouling out with no points, the Lady Bulldogs’ frontline did slow down Monroe in the first quarter, allowing them only 13 points.
But any legitimate No. 1 seed knows that relentlessness quickly pays off. The Lady Tornadoes used their defense to set up their offense, and, in a matter of time, the basket opened up for them.
“We weren’t intimated; we just knew we had to play our game,” Washington said. “We continued to listen to our coaches and played as a team.”
Whatever message the coaches gave paid dividends as Monroe came out in the second half on an 8-0 run.
“They didn’t do anything special that we don’t normally see,” Monroe head coach Cheryl Cheeks said. “It was just a point of us executing our gameplan. We missed a lot of free throws (Monday night) but we got to the basket. It is all about doing what you’ve been taught, which is attack the basket.”
Discipline was also a key component in the victory as Monroe trimmed its turnover count by five (15) from its last game. The Lady Bulldogs, meanwhile, had 19 turnovers.
“The game really wasn’t difficult, there was just a lack of execution,” Dutchtown head coach April Tate said. “We had a lot of opportunities and a lot of open shots that we didn’t make. We dealt with the pressure pretty well, but at times we had crucial turnovers.
“Hats off to Monroe (which) played a good game. We came down and did things that were necessary, but we did not play a complete 32-minute game.”
Janessa Murphy was Dutchtown’s leading scorer with 11 points. Tanacity Blue and Tiara Scott were right behind her with 10 and nine points, respectively.
“We still have a lot of work to do as far as executing and understanding situations,” Cheeks said.
The Lady Tornadoes have one day left of work to put in before they host their third playoff game Wednesday.