With a nice win over Habersham Central, Madison County is off to a 1-0 start in the subregion play.
But it might take some magic over the next three games to stay undefeated in the division.
The Raiders (7-7) face subregion foes Cedar Shoals (Friday), Winder-Barrow (Tuesday) and Apalachee (Jan. 16) over the next eight days.
“We’re underdogs for the next three games ... That’s OK. We’ve just got to embrace that and work hard,” coach Steve Crouse said.
But there’s always hope with good defense. Madison County held an opponent under the 50-point mark for the second time in three games Tuesday in winning its subregion opener over Habersham Central, 60-47.
“Defense is where we’re going to win or lose ball games,” Crouse said, whose team is in the middle of a seven-game road stretch.
Madison County’s defense held Habersham Central to just seven points in the second quarter as the Raiders took a six-point lead into the locker room.
Madison County then mixed in its 1-3-1 zone in the second half, which gave Habersham problems.
“I think that was a big difference for us,” Crouse said. “We showed them a different look and they were not comfortable trying to find a scorer.”
Madison County built on its lead in the second half, but a tough night at the free throw line (12-of-27) kept the Raiders from running away with this one.
Patrick McCrary led Madison County with 17 points and grabbed 13 boards. Eight of the junior’s points came in the fourth quarter.
“He really took over down low for us,” Crouse said.
Bradley Raines added 14 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and five assists. “Bradley had a good game,” Crouse said.
The Raiders finished with 18 assists, a statistic which Crouse was pleased to see.
“That’s what I like to see; I like to see us work the ball,” he said.
What he didn’t like to see — 18 turnovers.
Crouse said his team hasn’t protected the ball well recently, something that must change come Friday when Madison County faces a full-court pressure onslaught from Cedar Shoals.
“We must value the basketball,” he said. “That’s one thing that we haven’t done the past three-to-four games.”
Still, Crouse was pleased for the Raiders to have won their first subregion game.