After watching back court mate Lauren Smith light-up the scoreboard last week, Shantydra Arnold decided to get in on the action, too.
The junior guard scored 22 points to spark Madison County’s 65-36 victory over Class AAAAA Newton County Saturday in its opener in the Northeast Georgia Invitational in Danielsville.
Arnold was on-target from mid-range and picked up her share of fast break points in her first 20-point performance of the year.
“She played just excellent defense and got a lot of turnovers and lay-ups,” coach Dan Lampe said.
Madison County — which has won 50 of its last 62 games dating back to the 2006-2007 season — was hardly challenged Saturday night.
The Lady Raiders led Newton County 24-5 after the first quarter and 46-13 at the half before emptying its bench in the third quarter.
“I would like to test their moxie a little and see what they would do in a tight ball game,” Lampe said.
Madison County, known for standout post players Courtney and Kayla Freeman, has been led by a guard offensively in its first two games. Lauren Smith, also a junior, scored 19 points in the opener against Brookwood and added 11 in the win over Newton County.
Lampe said Smith’s control of the tempo of the game at the point guard position is improving.
“Push it when it’s supposed to be pushed, pull back when it’s supposed to be pulled back, running plays, she’s really doing a good job of leading the team in that,” he said.
The Lady Raiders’ guard play is not a total surprise. Lampe thought this might be a big year for a backcourt that’s grown more experienced as 11th graders.
“Not a surprise, but definitely good to see,” he said. “You hope it comes along when it does. It was not a complete surprise.”
Part of that maturation has been improved shooting from the perimeter. Arnold hit one three-pointer and Smith drilled three three-pointers in the win over Newton County.
The pair accounted for six three pointers in Madison County’s victory over Brookwood Nov. 15.
“(We’re) getting some wide-open looks and Lauren and ‘Tydra are knocking them down,” Lampe said.
Of course, no one’s forgetting about Madison County’s ability to score in the frontcourt.
Courtney Freeman continued her standout work on the low block against Newton. The Appalachian State signee scored 15 points and grabbed 12 boards.
“She had a great night,” Lampe said.
Lampe noted that Freeman turned 80 percent of her offensive rebounds into points.
“So she had a high efficiency rating,” he said.
Kayla Freeman ran into foul trouble once again and was limited to eight points. But when she gets rolling, the Lady Raiders should be even more potent, Lampe said.
“She’s probably got the best mid-range jumper on our team,” he said.
Madison Co. 65, Newton Co. 36
NCHS 5 8 8 15 — 36
MCHS 24 22 17 2 — 65
Scorers: Arnold 22, C. Freeman 15, Smith 11, K. Freeman 8, Glaze 3, Peeples 2, Whieldon 2, Fleming 22