The first two months weren’t kind to the Madison County girls’ basketball team, but recent victories have the Red Raiders poised to make another run at the Region 8-AAAA Championship.
The rebuilding effort has been described as “one step forward, two steps back” by head coach Dan Lampe. After a good showing at the Deep South Classic, a close region win over Oconee County (76-72) and a double-digit victory over Hart County (66-54), Lampe believes the team is going in the right direction again.
Madison County (11-7, 1-1 Region 8-AAAA) led Oconee County (7-9, 1-1 region) the entire game, but it was too close for comfort most of the time. Twenty offensive rebounds kept the Warriors in the game, especially in the third quarter when Oconee County erased a 13-point deficit to cut the score to four points (53-49). Madison County couldn’t pull away again but were able to defeat the Warriors 76-72.
“We gave them so many opportunities to get back in the game,” he said. “We had three opportunities to push them over the edge and we just didn’t rotate correctly. Our tempo was our biggest friend. Our biggest foe was boxing out again.
“We gave up 21 offensive rebounds, that’s unbelievable. I mean, who gives up 21 offensive boards in a 32-minute game?”
Kayla McPherson scored 46 points against the Warriors. She rounded out her night with eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals. Six of her steals led to points on fast break layups.
Tiffany Wilson added 13 points, but one point was more important than the others. With the Red Raiders clinging to a 75-72 lead with under 30 seconds on the clock, Wilson battled for an offensive rebound and drew a foul to go to the free throw line. Wilson made only one free throw, but one was enough to effectively put the game out of reach. She later deflected an Oconee County pass to prevent a late shot. Wilson played the final minutes with four fouls, one away from fouling out.
Against Hart County (8-7, 4-1 Region 8-AAA), the Red Raiders were only better for one quarter, but that’s all they needed. Madison County outscored the Bulldogs 19-9 in the second quarter after the first quarter ended in a 16-16 tie and it only outscored Hart County by two points (31-29) in the second half. The Red Raiders defeated Hart County 66-54.
Madison County can keep the momentum going tonight at home against North Oconee (12-5, 0-1 region). The Titans were the only team in the region to defeat Madison County last season. The Titans started the season 9-2, but since losing to Oconee County on December 19, they’re 3-2.