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Monroe girls knock off Herald No. 1 Randolph-Clay

Key Key Price leads Lady Tornadoes with 27 points

Monroe Super 6er Key Key Price is defended by Randolph-Clay star guard Brandi Buie during Saturday’s game. Price and the Lady Tornadoes handed The Herald No. 1 Lady Red Devils their first loss of the season. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

Monroe Super 6er Key Key Price is defended by Randolph-Clay star guard Brandi Buie during Saturday’s game. Price and the Lady Tornadoes handed The Herald No. 1 Lady Red Devils their first loss of the season. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)

ALBANY — Nearing the end of the first half, Monroe’s Key Key Price walked up the court slumped over trying to catch her breath.

Most of her shots had missed the mark, but The Herald Super 6er and star guard never ceased working on the offensive end.

Her relentless effort through fatigue earned her a game-high 27 points and helped the Lady Tornadoes knock off Herald No. 1 Randolph-Clay, 53-50, Saturday night at Monroe High School.

“I was exhausted, exhausted from their defense,” admitted Price, who dazzled the home crowd at the end of the third quarter with a corner shot while falling away with two defenders draped over her. “You can’t win a game with just jump shots. You have to attack the basket, get fouled and go to the free throw line.”

The Lady Red Devils (9-1), who suffered their first defeat of the season, didn’t have an answer for Price, but they did limit everyone else. After a quiet first half, 6-foot sophomore Kobi Thornton, also a Herald Super 6er, showed up in a big way in the final 16 minutes, blocking shot after shot and snatching away rebounds from the Tornadoes.

“She’s always a big factor because she gives us what she gives us as a dominant player,” Randolph-Clay head coach Jennifer Acree said.

Thornton finished with a team-high 21 points. Brandi Buie scored 19 points, and Kobi’s sister Brianna Thornton added eight points.

Despite trailing most of the game and coming up on the wrong end of some questionable calls, the Lady Red Devils had an opportunity to win the game in the final minute after Price put her team ahead 51-50 on the free throw line. After a missed shot from the perimeter, Thornton grabbed the offensive rebound but could not convert on the putback. A couple other attempts just in front of the rim also went for naught for the Lady Red Devils.

“There is no sense in dwelling on this loss even though we could have and should have won the game,” Acree said. “Monroe is excellent competition, and it’s important for us to play against teams of this caliber because it prepares us for our ultimate goal, which is a state championship.”

Still adjusting to life without a couple of starters, Monroe (11-4) has now won three straight games with Saturday’s victory taking the cake.

“I am hoping this will give us the motivation we need for the second half of the season,” Monroe head coach Cheryl Cheeks said. “I want them to know that we can still win without the players who are injured if they listen to the coaches and play our game.”

Cheeks acknowledged other players who have stepped up like Lynsey Washington, who contributed 17 points. Treasure Frazier added nine points.