It might be too early to call these Raiders the “comeback kids,” but Madison County is off to its best start in five years.
The Raiders (3-1) find themselves within one victory of matching last year’s season win total after scoring a huge 60-48 road win over Salem Tuesday.
“We haven’t accomplished anything yet,” coach Steve Crouse said. “But they’re starting to see the payoff.”
Madison County hopes that payoff continues Friday against Monroe Area when it shoots for a 4-1 start after a 4-21 season a year ago.
“That’s our next opponent and that’s what we talked about in the locker room,” Crouse said.
Of course, opponents might be talking about Patrick McCrary after Tuesday night’s game.
The Raider post player grabbed 24 rebounds and scored 17 points to lead upstart Madison County past the Seminoles.
“Pat was a man on the defensive boards,” Crouse said, noting the junior’s 18 defensive rebounds.
Madison County jumped out to a six-point advantage after a quarter, led by 10 at the half and withstood a third-quarter Salem run in winning its first region contest of the year. Madison County has now won three straight games after dropping its first game of the year to Brookwood, 67-61, back on Nov. 15.
McCrary’s 17 points were a season-high for the Raiders’ leading returning scorer from last year.
“When we got the ball inside to him, good things happened,” Crouse said.
T.J. McGuire came off the bench and added 11 points and Reterrium Davis scored 10 as the Raiders had at least three players reach double figures for the fourth-straight game.
“I challenge the guys all the time,” Crouse said. “We’ve got guys who can score.”
Seth Fleming also threw in eight points and Bradley Raines had six, including a dunk.
Defensively, Madison County held Salem to under 50 points, employing a man-to-man defense most of the night with an occasional 1-3-1 zone look.
“We work on defense everyday … Our man-to-man defense is improving,” Crouse said.
The coach’s only complaint? Twenty offensive boards by Salem. Crouse noted that his guys would be running some sprints for that in practice.
Madison County’s 3-1 start matches its best record after four games since the 2003-2004 Raiders started out 3-1.
However, that team dropped its next two games.
These Raiders want to continue what they’ve started.
Crouse said he’s looking forward to having Monroe Area coming to Danielsville this Friday.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Crouse said. “It’s going to a great game to have in our home gym on a Friday night.”
MADISON CO. 60, SALEM 48 MCHS 15 19 12 14 — 60
SHS 9 15 9 15 — 48 Scorers: McCrary 17, McGuire 11, Davis 10, Fleming 8, Raines 6, Smith 5, Griffeth 2, Sapp 1