Lady Raiders take on Class AAAA’s no. 3 team, Mill Creek, Saturday
If coach Dan Lampe wanted his team to be tested over the holiday break, there could be perhaps no better rite-of-passage than going up against one the best teams in the state’s largest classification.
Madison County (8-2) takes on Mill Creek Saturday as part of the “Shoot for a Cure” tournament hosted by Grayson High School.
Lampe is fired up about his team’s opportunity to face a Final Four team from last year in Class AAAAA.
“Absolutely,” he said. “They were the preseason no. 1 going-in in Class AAAAA. I expect a great game.”
Madison County goes into the tournament coming off a hard-fought, 54-51 road win over Loganville.
“For the most part, good improvement all around,” Lampe said. “Just effort, defense, boxing out. Boxing out was huge tonight (Tuesday).”
Courtney Freeman led the effort with 22 points and notched a double-double with another big rebounding night.
“Courtney played huge tonight … every time we got it to her she scored or got fouled, it seemed,” Lampe said.
Kayla Freeman added 12 points and 12 boards and Shantydra Arnold scored 11 points, all coming in the second half.
Madison County employed a full-court press in the second half as it started separating from Loganville.
The Lady Raiders built a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter before letting the Lady Red Devils back into the game.
“But the girls fought back and played hard,” Lampe said.
Now the Lady Raiders look toward the holiday tournament.
While Mill Creek is on the slate, Madison County is certainly not overlooking tournament host, Grayson, which the Lady Raiders open with Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Grayson is off to a 4-1 start and Lampe said he’s heard that this team has improved mightily since summer ball.
“You wouldn’t even recognize them from this summer, how much they’ve improved,” he said. “So I’m expecting a good game out of them, also, being at (their) home and the crowd and their tournament and that kind of stuff. This should be good.”
Madison County, ranked eighth in the Class AAAA coaches’ poll, faces Mill Creek Saturday at 4 p.m.
Mill Creek is off to an 8-1 start with its only loss coming to Marietta (45-43). The Lady Hawks are ranked no. 3 in the latest Class AAAAA coaches’ poll.
“I like games that are really going to push our team,” Lampe said. “Win, lose or draw, it’s going to make us better coming into the end of the year.”
Mill Creek returns all its players from last year’s 27-2, state semifinals team, save for its point guard.
Lampe hopes his team can play that toward its advantage.
“They’ve got everybody back but their point guard,” Lampe said. “So their point guard was a big part of it. I’m wondering if we can’t get up on them and turn them over a little bit.”
Madison Co. 54, Loganville 51
MCHS 11 8 21 14 — 54
LHS 4 14 15 18 — 51
Leading scorers: C. Freeman 22, K. Freeman 12, Arnold 11
Weekend in Review
Lady Lions trump Lady Raiders with three-point shooting
A turbulent fourth quarter cost Madison County a long-awaited victory over an old foe.
Franklin County warmed up at the three-point line late Saturday, outscoring Madison County 31-13 in the fourth quarter, to surge past the Lady Raiders, 65-58, in Danielsville.
The Lady Lions trailed by as much as 11 points before rebounding to win the first game between the two border county foes in three years.
The two teams will meet again Jan. 17.
Franklin County — down 45-34 at the end of three periods — hit four threes in the final 5:17 and Madison County had trouble answering.
The final three gave Franklin County the lead for good at 56-53.
“Give them credit,” Madison County coach Dan Lampe said. “They came down and hit those clutch shots down at the end. Once they started dropping, they all seemed like they were dropping after that.”
The Lady Lions hit nine threes on the evening.
Lampe said that many of Franklin County’s open looks from three-point range in the first and fourth quarters came in transition.
“We didn’t get a hand up, some of them were totally uncontested,” Lampe said.
Transition defense is going to be stressed more after the encounter with the Lions.
“They’re a great team to have to play because it doesn’t as a region (game) and they’re a tough team and they’re a three-point shooting team,” Lampe said.
Courtney Freeman, who played the entire game against the Lady Lions, led Madison County with 25 points and it was Freeman who sparked a Madison County rally early on.
Franklin County led 25-15 with five minutes left in the half on the strength of five first-half three-pointers. But Freeman scored 10 points to close the half as Madison County jumped ahead, 29-27.
With Franklin County going cold at the three-point line in the third quarter, the Lady Raiders slowly started building a lead. Madison County capped the quarter with a jumper from Juvonna Fleming with just two seconds left to put the Lady Raiders ahead by 11.
But Madison County scored just one basket in the first 4:30 of the fourth quarter and the advantage quickly evaporated.
“We went a little bit cold and we lost the handle on a couple of ball and stuff and the momentum switched,” Lampe said.
Franklin County’s leading scorers, Ashley Harris and Kat Wynn, drilled back-to-back threes mid-way through the period to pull Franklin County within one point of Madison County, 47-46.
Brittney Wiley later hit a pair of free throws to put Franklin County ahead, 48-47.
Lampe was disappointed with the loss, but wasn’t deterred.
“It was a good game for us,” Lampe said. “The effort level really increased … Our effort stepped up huge.”
Kayla Freeman added 15 points in the loss and Lauren Smith finished with 10.
The Lady Raiders warmed-up for their showdown with Franklin County with a 71-45 stomping of Rockdale County Friday.
Courtney Freeman led the effort with 34 points in just three quarters of play as Madison County led 62-29 heading into the final quarter.
Lampe said Freeman played as hard as he’s ever seen the standout play in the games against Rockdale County and Franklin County.
“Courtney stepped it up the last two games and really has come out leading by example … When I grade her out, it has almost been perfect on both games,” Lampe said.
Kayla Freeman also had 15 points and Smith threw in 12.
Madison County jumped on the Lady Bulldogs early, building a 28-8 lead after one quarter.
FRANKLIN CO. 65, MADISON CO. 58
FCHS 20 7 7 31 — 65
MCHS 12 17 16 13 — 58
Scorers: C. Freeman 25, K. Freeman 15, Smith 10, Fleming 4, Arnold 2, Peeples 2
MADISON CO. 71, ROCKDALE CO. 45
RCHS 8 9 12 16 — 45
MCHS 28 14 20 9 — 71
Scorers: C. Freeman 34, K. Freeman 15, Smith 12, Peeples 7, Arnold 3