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Prep Notebook: With two more wins, Monroe can clinch the Region 1-AAAA title

Westover players Mike Green (1), Timothy White (3), Cameron Wallace (24), Alec Williams (14) and Khalil Carson (34) know the Patriots can’t afford any more losses if they want to still win the Region 1-AAAA title. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)

Westover players Mike Green (1), Timothy White (3), Cameron Wallace (24), Alec Williams (14) and Khalil Carson (34) know the Patriots can’t afford any more losses if they want to still win the Region 1-AAAA title. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)

ALBANY — Monroe High School girls basketball coach Cheryl Cheeks has mentioned the ramifications of this weekend’s games with Dougherty and Crisp County.

However, her team won’t be dwelling on the fact that they could clinch the Region 1-AAAA regular-season title with a pair of victories this weekend. And with the regular-season title comes the right to host the Region 1-AAAA tournament that begins on Feb. 10.

“We’ve talked about it some, and they understand what they have to do to clinch it,” Cheeks said. “But we can’t overlook anybody.”

The Lady Tornadoes meet Dougherty at 4 p.m. today at Darton State College, then travel to Cordele on Saturday to meet second-place Crisp County. Monroe defeated Dougherty by 17 in its first game of the season on Nov. 23 before topping Crisp County 55-50 on Dec. 6.

However, a lot has happened since those two victories. While the Lady Tornadoes would like to clinch the title this weekend, Cheeks wants her team to improve for the stretch run.

“When you look at the points, it looks like we’ve been doing well,” she said. “But there is a lot of stuff we’re teaching in the gym that we’re not doing.”

NO SEPARATION: Westover boys coach Dallis Smith figured there would be some separation between the top boys teams in the Region 1-AAAA standings. But heading into tonight’s games, just three games separate first-place Worth County from fifth-place Monroe with two weeks left in the regular season.

In the middle is Crisp County, Westover and Albany.

“Every game is important … you better come in and play every game like it depends on you going to postseason,” Smith said.

The way the region tournament is set up, the top two finishers in the regular season get byes and don’t have to play until the semifinals. It also means the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds get automatic berths in the state tournament. That’s why Smith knows this week is especially critical. The Patriots currently trail second-place Crisp County by a half-game. Westover meets Albany tonight at 8:30 p.m. at Darton, then hosts Crisp Tuesday night.

“I thought there would be some separation by now, but it hasn’t worked out,” Smith said. “The race is up in the air. It’s going to be interesting.”

BIG WEEKEND FOR LEE COUNTY: The Trojans haven’t made the state tournament since 2007 and they could have a chance to be back in the postseason. However, they play critical games this weekend against Thomas County Central and Harris County in their final two home games of the season.

Lee has already beaten Thomas County Central once this season, scoring a 57-49 win on Jan. 14.

IMPRESSIVE STREAKS: The Pelham girls have been impressive in starting the season 16-0. However, the Pelham boys have a streak of their own to brag about. The Hornets have won nine straight since their loss to Warner Robins on Dec. 28. Pelham’s only two other losses have been to Herald No. 1 Seminole County.