McPherson jump shot

Kayla McPherson shoots a mid-range jump shot Tuesday night during Madison County's victory over St. Pius X

ATLANTA – The Madison County girls’ basketball team likes to play fast. It presses, sprints down court, drives the lane and crashes the boards. St. Pius doesn’t like to play fast, and it showed in their meeting Tuesday night.

The Golden Lions looked gassed just minutes into the contest while the Red Raiders ran up-and-down the court. Only a poor shooting performance by Madison County kept the game from getting too out of hand. Madison County defeated St. Pius X 63-41.

“We have three keys every game, tempo is one of the three,” said head coach Dan Lampe “We did a great job at it. We also did a great job on the boards I felt, which I feared against this team. We probably came out about even with them in boards.

“Tempo is huge for us. We know they want to play a slowdown style. We just want to go.”

Madison County (13-8, 3-1 Region 8-AAAA) shot just 38 percent from the field and 14 percent from three-point range. However, the game was never in doubt because of the Red Raiders’ defense which earned 19 steals, nine of which were made by Kayla McPherson, and grabbed 22 rebounds, with nine by McPherson. She added 29 points and seven assists to her totals.

The only time the game was ever close was in the middle of the first quarter when St. Pius X (14-4, 2-2 Region 8-AAAA) erased an 8-2 deficit to tie the game 10-10. The Red Raiders responded with a three pointer by Ella Chancey which was the beginning of a 16-4 run that ended with Madison County ahead 26-14. McPherson added the Red Raiders’ last nine points of the half and they lead 35-23 at halftime.

The poor shooting kept Madison County from building on its lead in the third quarter. The Red Raiders led 48-35 with just eight minutes left to play. Keia Cooper helped get Madison County out of its rut on offense when she drained back-to-back three pointers. Cooper finished the game with 12 points. Tayliah Darden’s put back extended the lead to 57-37. The Red Raiders controlled the clock the rest of the way and won 63-41.

Madison County ends the first round of region play tied for first place with Stephens County. The Red Raiders can take the lead Friday night when they host the Indians. Stephens County won the first matchup 87-75.

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