The momentum in the Madison County-Clarke Central rivalry has shifted back to the Lady Gladiators for the time being.
Losers of three straight in this series, Clarke Central pulled out a 66-57 overtime victory Tuesday night to hand the Lady Raiders (14-5, 3-1) their first subregion loss.
The two teams play again Feb. 5 in Danielsville.
“We had a lot of missed opportunities,” coach Dan Lampe said. “I felt we should have won the game.”
Kayla Freeman led Madison County with 22 points while Shantydra Arnold added 20, but it wasn’t enough to deliver Madison County’s seventh-straight victory.
The Lady Raiders fell in a 10-2 hole early but rallied to take a 41-37 lead after three quarters. A free throw from Courtney Freeman with 14 seconds left in regulation knotted the game at 55. But Clarke Central dominated the extra period as Madison County managed just a pair of free throws.
“I thought we took our eyes off the ball there at the end … I felt down the stretch, we just didn’t execute,” Lampe said.
Madison County returns to subregion play Friday at home against Habersham Central and begins the second half of the 8-AAAA North schedule Tuesday against Cedar Shoals, a team that has its sights set on avenging a 58-54 loss to the Lady Raiders Jan. 8.
Though Madison County’s immediate attention is on getting back into the win column in subregion play in these next two games, the team at least knows it has another shot at the rival Lady Gladiators down the road.
“Like I told the girls, the good thing about the subregion is that you get everyone twice,” Lampe said.
Of course, that goes both ways.
Lampe notes that Cedar Shoals will be gunning for his team next Tuesday when the subregion rematches start.
“Cedar Shoals is saying the same thing we’re saying about Clarke Central,” he said.
•Madison Co. 78, Franklin Co. 49 (Jan. 16): Madison County outscored Franklin County 31-6 in the second quarter Saturday to earn season sweep over the Lady Lions with a 78-49 victory.
Lampe said the big second quarter was simply a result of better focus after a sloppy first quarter.
“We just circled the wagons and said, ‘let’s do our stuff,’” Lampe said.
Madison County beat Franklin County by a combined 56 points in two games this year.
The Lady Raiders got 23 points from Lauren Smith in the victory, including 12 points from the senior guard in the pivotal second quarter.
Freeman added 14 points on a night she was honored passing the 1,000-point mark for her career (Freeman actually reached that milestone a night earlier on the road against Apalachee).
“She’s just been a class act,” Lampe said. “She works hard and is just a team player. She’s exactly the kind of player you want to have on your team.”
•Madison Co. 63, Apalachee 47 (Jan. 15): Freeman scored 18 of her season-high 24 points in the second half Friday to lead slow-starting Madison County to a 63-47 subregion victory over Apalachee.
Freeman also grabbed 12 rebounds.
“That was huge,” Lampe said of Freeman’s performance. “I think that was a big confidence builder.”
Molly Glaze added 11 points.
Madison County needed a buzzer-beating basket from LeLe Sorrells to tie the game at 27 at the half.
The Lady Raiders had much more success against the Lady Wildcats’ defense in the second half, eventually putting Apalachee away in the fourth quarter.
Madison County started the final period with a 9-1 run to build a 55-40 lead.