The Madison County girls’ basketball team may be close to getting that all-important swagger back.
The Lady Raiders are now 10-4 as they enter the most crucial portion of the regular season, the subregion schedule, which starts Friday.
“I have a feeling that we’ll put it all together here shortly,” coach Dan Lampe said.
The last three weeks have been a bit hit-or-miss for the defending Region 8-AAAA champions.
Madison County lost decisively in its last region game (Dec. 15 against Loganville), beat a vastly overmatched Aquinas team (Dec. 18), fell to ranked Northwest Whitfield (Dec. 28) and whipped a weak Grayson team (Dec. 29).
Madison County then survived a two-overtime nail-biter to beat Brookwood (Dec. 30) — avenging a loss earlier this season — and Lampe hopes that’s the victory that kick-starts this team heading into 8-AAAA divisional play Friday at home against Cedar Shoals.
“Oh, yeah,” Lampe said. “Hopefully it will get us some momentum going into subregion play.”
Lauren Smith led the effort against Brookwood with 19 points and 10 steals, following seven-steal performances against both Northwest Whitfield and Grayson.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a three-game total of 24 steals,” Lampe said. “That’s amazing.”
Kayla Freeman scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds before fouling out with four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Shantyrda Arnold added 13 points and Molly Glaze had 12.
Madison County trailed by 10 points with three minutes left in regulation before rallying to tie. Madison County then squandered a five-point lead with 30 seconds remaining in the first overtime — committing two crucial turnovers — before pulling away in the second overtime.
Madison County went to a four-guard lineup with just one post after Freeman fouled out, while Brookwood kept two post players on the floor.
The Lady Raiders effectively exploited that mismatch by instructing whichever guard ended up being covered by a post to drive to the basket. More often than not, it was Molly Glaze, who scored 10 of her 12 points in either the fourth quarter or overtime.
“Molly penetrated well and scored layup after layup,” Lampe said.
Lampe also praised the defensive efforts of Juvonna Fleming, who shut down Brookwood’s top scorer.
“Juvonna was just all over her,” Lampe said.
Now, the Lady Raiders turn to subregion play.
The higher Madison County finishes this year in Region 8-AAAA North (the Lady Raiders won the division last year), the better position the Lady Raiders will be come February when the Region 8-AAAA tournament starts.
Madison County starts the subregion slate against a Cedar Shoals team that is off to a 9-4 start under new coach Harry Bufford.
“I know they’re extremely athletic,” Lampe said. “They didn’t lose anybody and they gained a couple of freshmen who are getting huge minutes.”
Without a Tuesday game this week, Madison County has focused all its attention towards Cedar Shoals as the Lady Raiders try to get off to a hot start in the 2010 portion of the schedule.
“It’s good that we got these four days to go in the Cedar game for sure,” Lampe said.