Monroe Super 6er Key Key Price is defended by Randolph-Clay star guard Brandi Buie during Saturday’s game. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — The Monroe girls’ big 53-50 victory over Randolph-Clay Saturday night shook up the rankings in this week’s Herald Fab 5 Basketball Poll.
It sent Randolph-Clay, the former No. 1, down to No. 5. Meanwhile, Monroe, which fell out of the poll last week after losing four straight games, moves back into this week’s rankings at No. 3, having won three in a row. Unbeaten Pelham takes over the top spot, while Dougherty moves up a spot to No. 2. Westover remains at No. 4.
On the boys side, Westover and Worth County remain Nos. 1 and 2 respectively, setting up a battle for first-place tonight in Region 1-AAAA between the two schools. Seminole County remains at No. 3 and Calhoun County, the area’s lone unbeaten team, remains at No. 4. Albany High, which had fell from the poll last week, re-enters at No. 5.
The big story of the weekend was Monroe upending the previously unbeaten Lady Red Devils Saturday night. Behind Herald Super 6er Key Key Price’s 27 points, the Lady Tornadoes topped Randolph-Clay in a game that seemed more fitting for the postseason than the first week of January. It capped a strong week for Monroe, which recorded its third straight win and perhaps its biggest so far this season.
“I am hoping this will give us the motivation we need for the second half of the season,” Monroe girls 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.”
But don’t sleep on Randolph-Clay, who fell to fifth. The Lady Red Devils still have to be considered one of the favorites to make a deep postseason run in Class A.
“There is no sense in dwelling on this loss, even though we could have and should have won the game,” Randolph-Clay girls coach Jennifer 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.”
A team with postseason aspirations is the Pelham Lady Hornets, who are 9-0 and the only undefeated girls team left in the area. Pelham has won its first nine games by an average of 36.4 points. They’ve had just one game – a 65-58 overtime win over Lowndes last Monday – where they won by less than 10.
“It was excellent to have a team push us to our limit just before we begin region play,” Pelham coach Antonia Tookes said after the victory over Lowndes. “I’m glad we passed the test.”
Dougherty’s Lady Trojans are another team to keep an eye on. Their only losses were to Monroe in the season opener and two defeats to a pair of Alabama powerhouses in a Christmas Tournament in Montgomery, Ala.
In addition, No. 4 Westover continues to play well. They meet Dougherty Friday night in a critical Region 1-AAAA contest.
Westover continues its hold on No. 1 on the boys side, pounding Terrell County Saturday night to improve to 10-2. No. 2 Worth County, which has won three straight since losing to Portal on Dec. 27, is the only unbeaten boys team in Region 1-AAAA play. That is why the Rams’ game tonight at Westover is big.
Seminole County continues to play well, topping Bainbridge Friday night. They were to have had a makeup game with Early County late last night.
Calhoun County improved to 10-0 on Saturday, rallying from 14 points down in the second half to top Dougherty 59-58 in a thriller Saturday night. It was the Cougars’ biggest win of the season.
“Our kids were inspired,” Calhoun County boys coach Marcus Shaw said. “They kept battling even though we didn’t play to our ability. They had heard the negativity about Calhoun County hadn’t really played anybody. I think this showed they can play through adversity.”
Albany High, which is 7-3, moves back into the Poll at No. 5. The Indians have won four of their last five.
Herald Fab 5 Basketball Polls
2) Worth County…………….11-2
3) Seminole County…………7-1
4) Calhoun County………….10-0
Albany Herald Fab 5 High School Basketball Poll
1) Westover (10-2) – The Patriots shook off their 14-day layoff by whipping Terrell County Saturday night. It’s back to Region 1-AAAA play for Westover.
Next: vs. Worth County, 7:30 p.m., tonight
2) Worth County (11-2) – The Rams have won three straight. They put their unbeaten Region 1-AAAA record on the line tonight when they travel to meet Westover in a key battle for first-place.
Next: at Westover, 7:30 p.m., tonight
3) Seminole County (7-1) – The Indians played a late game against Early County last night.
Next: vs. Baker County, 7:30 p.m., tonight
4) Calhoun County (10-0) – The Cougars are the area’s last unbeaten team after overcoming a 14-point second-half deficit to beat Dougherty Saturday night.
Next: vs. Webster County, 7:30 p.m., tonight
5) Albany (7-3) – The Indians have won four of their last five, including a nonregion victory over Mitchell County last Saturday.
Next: at Americus-Sumter, 7:30 p.m., tonight
1) Pelham (9-0) – Pelham is the last unbeaten girls team in the area.
Next: at Berrien, 6 p.m., tonight
2) Dougherty (9-3) – The Lady Trojans are anxious to show they can play with the best in the county. They get a chance to prove it this week, meeting Westover on Friday, then Albany on Saturday.
Next: vs. Westover, 6 p.m., Friday
3) Monroe (11-4) – The Lady Tornadoes have won three straight, including Saturday night’s toppling of former Herald No. 1 Randolph-Clay.
Next: at Worth County, 6 p.m., Friday
4) Westover (10-3) – The Lady Patriots have a big week, meeting Worth County tonight, then tackling Dougherty on Friday.
Next: vs. Worth County, 6 p.m., tonight
5) Randolph-Clay (9-1) – Despite their first loss of the year Saturday night, the Lady Red Devils are a team to still be reckoned with.
Next: at Quitman County, 6 p.m., tonight