The number jumped right off the stat sheet when coach Steve Crouse reviewed the game totals.
Madison County (2-1) forced 33 turnovers in a 64-58 win over Cross Creek Tuesday on the final night of the Northeast Georgia Shootout in Danielsville.
“Yes, the defense is improving,” said Crouse, whose team has forced an eye-catching 60 turnovers in its last two games.
The Raider defense stepped up when it had to in this one, especially late with four consecutive stops in the waning moments. That allowed Madison County to increase a three-point lead with 1:32 left to eight points with 24 seconds remaining.
The Raiders were also able to limit Cross Creek’s 6-6 forward Santoine Butler, a college prospect, to just seven points.
“We wanted to give a little more help to the inside game,” Crouse said of his team’s defensive strategy.
Offensively, four different players scored in double figures, with Seth Fleming leading the way with 15. He was followed by Patrick McCrary (12), Bradley Raines (11) and Reterrium Davis (10).
Fleming hit back-to-back three-pointers in the second quarter to help rally Madison County from a 25-15 deficit to its second win of the tournament.
The Raiders, who shot 41.9 percent from the floor, led by a point at halftime and traded leads with Cross Creek nine times in the second half before Fleming hit a pair of free throws with 4:54 left in the game to move Madison County ahead, 49-48.
Raines added a three-pointer 17 seconds later and Madison County didn’t look back.
The Raiders have now won twice in November. Madison County didn’t win its second game of the season last year until late January.
And for a program that’s struggled for wins the previous four seasons, Madison County has now won five times in its last 10 games dating back to last year.
While Crouse was happy his team earned the victory, it was far from a perfect effort. He noted that his team turned the ball over 23 times.
“It wasn’t pretty,” he said. “In fact, it was pretty ugly ... But we got some easy transition baskets, we made some stops and hit our free throws.”
Free throws were a big part of the fourth quarter.
Madison County drained six of its final eight attempts to salt away the victory. The Raiders hit 16-of-25 on the night, while Cross Creek attempted only 13.
“That’s a stat I like to look at,” Crouse said. “When we make more free throws than they shot.”
Madison County will now shoot for a 3-1 start taking on Salem Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Conyers. The Raiders lost to the Seminoles, 69-60, last year.