The Madison County girls’ basketball team has won nine-straight games and doesn’t feel like stopping now.
“We’d like to win eight more,” coach Dan Lampe said.
That, of course, is the magic number of victories needed for a state title.
But first thing’s first — getting past the region tournament, which starts Friday for Madison County (20-5, 9-1).
The Lady Raiders fended off Clarke Central, 55-51, over the weekend, earning the subregion title and a no. 1 seed for the region tournament.
That sets them up as sizable favorites to win their region tournament opener Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Winder-Barrow High School.
A year removed from a state final four run, Madison County starts postseason play against the winner of the play-in round between Rockdale County and Monroe Area.
Not that he’s underestimating the Lady Raiders’ first-round opponent, but playing a no. 4 seed in the opening round certainly helps Madison County’s chances, Lampe said.
“That’s all you can do for the regular season is just put yourself in the best situation you can going into it,” said Lampe, now 45-12 as Madison County’s coach. “We did it barely, but we did it. So I’m happy with that.”
One win secures a pass to state and puts the Lady Raiders in the region semifinals Feb. 17. The region championship is Feb. 20.
Madison County enters the tournament having not lost since Jan. 9.
Lampe called the team’s regular-season victory over Clarke Central “ugly,” but saw some merit in it, too.
With leading scorer Courtney Freeman limited due to foul trouble, other Lady Raiders had to carry Madison County to the subregion title.
Kayla Freeman scored 18 points and Lauren Smith added 17. Though Shantrydra Arnold scored just eight points, all of them came in the second half as Madison County overcame a six-point fourth quarter deficit.
Lampe said the team can’t be one-dimensional if it hopes to make a deep run in the state tournament.
“To go anywhere in the state, we can’t have just that one person to ride,” Lampe said. “Obviously, (Courtney’s) our go-to person. But we got to have all the auxiliary players and everybody stepping their game up.”
For now, the Lady Raiders have another 20-win season in hand and the hope that it will add to that total soon in the postseason.
“We’ve done all we can do for the regular season,” Lampe said.
Freeman named region MVP
Courtney Freeman named the region’s MVP for the regular season. She’ll also play in the Georgia Athletic Coaches’ Association all-star game in Savannah after the season. Kayla Freeman was named to the all-region team.