Will MCHS’s huge win over Clarke Central serve notice to rest of region?
Madison County boys’ basketball coach Steve Crouse wants his team to fly under the radar, but that’s becoming increasingly difficult.
Especially after Tuesday night.
The Red Raiders beat perennially tough Clarke Central 69-63 in Athens to move to 16-3 and remain in the driver’s seat in the subregion at 4-0.
“Coaches talk, but I’m hoping we can still fly under the radar,” he said.
Madison County’s 16 wins tie it with the 2003-2004 team for the most victories by a Crouse-coached squad.
The Red Raiders shoot for a 17-3 start Friday when they host Habersham Central at 8:30 p.m.
Stan Maxwell led the Red Raiders Tuesday against Clarke Central with 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Trae Burton also finished with 12 points, while Bradley Raines added 11 and Patrick McCrary had 10.
Madison County trailed 38-32 in the third quarter, but answered with a 13-4 run, highlighted by two three-pointers by Burton to take a 45-42 lead.
Dominique Parrish, who came off the bench and scored nine points, later drilled a three-pointer with 2:22 left in the period to put Madison County up 48-47. The Red Raiders never trailed after that.
“To beat a team like that on their floor, that was huge for us,” Crouse said.
Madison County has now won 10 of its last 11 games. Crouse believes that the team’s mantra is playing a role in that success.
“We tell the guys to play hard, don’t pout, don’t quit and to have fun,” Crouse said.
With that mind, the Red Raiders go for their sixth-straight victory Friday when they play an improved Habersham Central.
“They’re fundamental … They’re basketball smart. Their coach does a great job,” Crouse said.
After facing Habersham Central, the Red Raiders start the subregion cycle over, playing Cedar Shoals Tuesday in Athens.
Madison County looks to continue to win and go about its business — minus any hype, of course.
“We tell them (the players) when we get on the court, let’s do our business on the court,” Crouse said.
•Madison Co. 76, Franklin Co. 69 2OT (Jan. 16): Madison County watched a double-digit lead evaporate and had to survive two overtimes but earned a season sweep of Franklin County with a 76-69 victory Saturday over the Lions.
“That took a lot out of us,” Crouse said.
Raines scored a season-high 27 points to lead Madison County to the victory, followed by McGuire who had 21. McCrary also reached double figures with 15 points and Maxwell added 10.
Crouse said winning a game in such close fashion gives his team a boost after having lost so many tight contests a year ago.
“The double overtime was good,” Crouse said. “It gave us a lot of confidence.”
•Madison Co. 74, Apalachee 51 (Jan. 15): Led by four scorers in double figures, Madison County routed Apalachee 74-51 Friday in Winder to win its third subregion game.
McCrary scored 15 points in the second half and finished with a team-high 20 points as Madison County avenged a couple of agonizing, narrow losses to the Wildcats last year.
“We’ll take it,” Crouse said. “It was a good win for us … It was nice to come in here and pull one out. We played well for 32 minutes.”
Maxwell added 17 points and eight rebounds as Madison County picked up its second-most lopsided victory of the season. Raines and Burton each finished with 11 points. Raines also had nine rebounds, while Burton had five steals.
Madison County started slow but used a big second quarter to pull away from Apalachee, outscoring the Wildcats 16-4 to end the first half and take a 38-20 lead into the locker room.
Crouse credited the bench for maintaining that edge, especially in the first half.
“We had to find a way to get our subs some minutes and they did,” Crouse said. “They didn’t hurt us … We finally won a second quarter.”