January 21, 2008
Albany -- After struggling through all of last season, the Monroe girls basketball team is turning things around in a big way this year.
The Tornados are under new leadership, with a new game-plan, and are starting to give some old rivals new worries.
Monroe did not win a single game all of last season.
Head coach Cheryl Cheeks says, "We're working hard every day. We're stressing defense. Just trying to learn the game, and that's what we're teaching the girls: How to play the game."
The Lady Tornados are much improved this year, highlighted by a 49-47 overtime at Westover, something Monroe hadn't done in a long time.
Senior Dominique Gilbert says, "Not since I've been here, we haven't (beat them)."
Coach Cheeks adds, "I'm not worried about what they did in the past. I'm just trying to work on things that we need to work on for us to be successful."
The Tornados came up just short against top-ranked Terrell County from Class-A Saturday night, with a shot to win at the buzzer not falling true.
"It was a heartbreaker," says Cheeks, "but it was good for our morale."
Gilbert says, "They weren't expecting us to play like that. But it was easy. All we had to do was play like the coach told us to, and we almost accomplished our goal."
Sophomore Lakeisha Jackson says things are starting to come together under first year head coach Cheryl Cheeks.
"At first we played selfish," says Jackson, "but now we've come together as a team and learned how to pass the ball."
And the senior Gilbert says Monroe has high expectations for the remainder of the season.
"Be region champs," says Gilbert. "Do what we have to do. Nobody expects us to win, but we're making a big impact by what we're doing. Just working together."
Monroe is 4-7 overall, 2-2 in the region, and host rival Dougherty Tuesday at six o'clock.