MCHS girls await rematch with rival Clarke Central Fri.
Madison County’s victory over Apalachee Tuesday was rather ho-hum, but the news that followed it provided the highlight of the night.
Winder-Barrow upset Clarke Central 49-46, opening the door for Madison County to win the subregion title with a victory over the rival Lady Gladiators Friday and a win Tuesday over Habersham Central.
The good news spread fast.
Coach Dan Lampe knew the final score of that pivotal game without even having to make a phone call.
“They (the players) came running over and told me,” Lampe said. “I hadn’t heard yet … They were pumped. They were all ready to practice tonight (Tuesday) basically. That adds a lot of life to it.”
Madison County (18-5, 7-1), which beat Apalachee 69-49 Tuesday, faces Clarke Central (14-4, 6-1) Friday at 7 p.m. at home on senior night.
Though Tuesday proved to be a joyous occasion given the news in the subregion, Lampe’s feelings on the Lady Raiders’ actual victory over Apalachee wasn’t as enthusiastic.
The team shot poorly from the free throw line and committed one too many “sloppy” passes, according to Lampe.
“We just weren’t really focused this game,” he said. “I told my wife and the coaches, ‘This is the most frustrating 20-point win I’ll ever have I think.”
Still, Madison County found enough offense.
Apalachee’s defense was apparently designed to stop Kayla Freeman, Lampe said, and that left a lot of opportunities for the rest of the lineup.
Shantydra Arnold scored 22 points to lead Madison County, driving to the basket and hitting close-range jumpers in the paint for most of the night. Molly Glaze added 18 points, including four three-pointers.
“Anytime we threw it to Molly, she was wide-open,” Lampe said.
While his team’s performance wasn’t ideal, Lampe did say his group played with a lot of aggression.
“We played hard,” Lampe said. “We played really aggressive and hard. We just weren’t really focused.”
Now, Madison County can focus all its attention on the rematch with Clarke Central.
The Lady Gladiators won the first meeting 66-57 on Jan. 19 in overtime. Despite starting slow and shooting poorly in that first matchup, Madison County was able to push the game past regulation. Lampe said the Lady Raiders don’t need to alter their strategy from the first encounter with the Lady Gladiators, just sharpen their play.
“I’m not really sure our game plan is any different,” Lampe said. “We’ve just got to execute. Down-to-the wire, we’ve got to execute.
Lampe noted that it’s also important for his team to set the tone defensively.
“I feel we’ve got to pressure them more than they pressure us,” Lampe said. “I feel that we’ve got to be the aggressor.”
•Madison Co. 54, Winder-Barrow 46 (Jan. 29): Lauren Smith scored 17 points Friday night, including four big free throws late, as Madison County fended off Winder-Barrow, 54-46.
Kayla Freeman added 14 points as the Lady Raiders recorded another hard-earned victory over the upset-minded Lady Bulldoggs.
Arnold had nine points, including a big score under the basket with 59 seconds off a nice pass from Smith that put Madison County up 50-46.
Smith then converted four attempts at the free throw line in the last 30 seconds as Madison County won for the third straight time in the subregion since a frustrating Jan. 19 loss to Clarke Central.
The contest included eight lead changes. Six of them came in the second quarter as Madison County held a tenuous 26-25 edge at the half.
The Lady Raiders fell behind briefly, 29-26, in the opening minutes the third quarter before Glaze hit a three-pointer and later hit a free throw to tie the game at 30.
Madison County took the lead for good when Freeman hit a free throw with 3:03 left in the third quarter to put the Lady Raiders up 33-32, the start of a 9-2 Madison County run.