Following a soul-searching region loss to Loganville last week, Madison County didn’t exactly get the test it needed last Friday (Dec. 18) in a 55-point win against a well-overmatched Aquinas team.
No, that test comes Monday when the sixth-ranked Lady Raiders (8-3 overall, 4-1 in region play) face Class AAAA’s no. 8 team Northwest Whitfield (7-2) Monday in the opening round of the Deep South Classic.
“They’re solid all the way around,” coach Dan Lampe said. “They’re extremely fundamental.”
The tournament is at Brookwood High School. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.
Northwest Whitfield went 28-3 last year and reached the state quarterfinals.
Madison County’s first order of business in that game is to somehow stop 6’6” center, Quaneisha McCurty, who’s verbally committed to Louisville.
With 6’3” center Christy Robinson to compliment McCurty in the frontcourt, Madison County faces a huge obstacle in this opening-round game.
“Absolutely,” Lampe said. “It will be a good test for our posts and our help side, too.”
But Northwest Whitfield isn’t one-dimensional. The Bruins have outside shooters to accompany their inside attack.
“They have good three-point shooters,” Lampe said. “If you let them loose, they’ll light it up.”
The Lady Raiders and Bruins have one common opponent, Loganville.
Northwest Whitfield lost its season opener to the Lady Red Devils, 50-45 in overtime, while Loganville routed Madison County 64-47 in Danielsville Dec. 15.
Northwest Whitfield’s only other loss came to Parkview.
Madison County is coming of its 67-12 obliteration of Class A Aquinas over the weekend, but that victory offered little substance for Madison County to build on.
“We didn’t get anything out of that game really … We did what we were supposed to do,” coach Dan Lampe said.
Kayla Freeman scored 17 points to lead Madison County. Lauren Smith added 13.
If nothing else, the Aquinas game gave Madison County a chance to get back on the court after the Loganville loss.
“That was good,” Lampe said. “We had worked on some things in practice that we hadn’t tried in a game. So from halftime on, we worked on stuff we hadn’t done yet.”
Madison County’s game against Northwest Whitfield will be its fourth against a ranked foe this year. The Lady Raiders are 2-1 in its three previous games against ranked competition. Madison County also beat Salem 58-39 this year, which was unranked at the time, but has since risen to no. 7 in the Class AAAA poll.
Lampe said he enjoys Christmas tournaments because they allow his team to play schools from outside Madison County’s region and outside northeast Georgia.
He also hopes it can serve as a springboard for the 2010 portion of the schedule.
Madison County starts subregion play Jan. 8 following the holiday tournament.
The goal is for the Lady Raiders to be playing their best basketball by February when the 8-AAAA tournament starts.
Madison County is 19-3 during the month of February the last three seasons.
“We hope that tradition continues,” Lampe said. “We really haven’t hit our stride yet. We’ve seen glimmers.”