Madison County’s usual culprits — turnovers, missed free throws and surrendering offensive boards — weren’t the overriding factor in the Raiders’ 69-57 loss to Winder-Barrow Tuesday.
“It was a lack of effort on our part,” coach Steve Crouse said.
The coach has been preaching strong practice habits all year, but said his team suffered through a poor practice heading into the Winder-Barrow game.
“We’re not good enough to just show up and beat people,” Crouse said. “We are good enough to beat people if we work hard every time we come into the gym. Hey, nobody likes to practice, but the great teams embrace it.”
With three tough games ahead, Madison County (7-9, 1-2) will refocus on preparation.
The Raiders face Apalachee Friday at home, Franklin County Saturday on the road and Clarke Central at home Tuesday.
“We are still capable of beating people,” Crouse said. “We can’t let them have their best night and (us have) our worst night.”
In the loss to Winder-Barrow, Madison County watched the Bulldoggs drill 5-of-9 three-point attempts and 8-of-18 shots from two-point range in the first half. Winder-Barrow led 33-18 at the break.
“They just shot lights out,” Crouse said. “We seem to give people a lot of shooting confidence lately.”
Crouse pulled his starters in the third quarter with his team down by 21 points, and the Madison County subs caught fire. The Raiders rallied to within five points of Winder-Barrow in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldoggs outscored them 12-5 down the stretch.
“They played really hard,” Crouse said. “They did a good job, but they just ran out of steam. And Winder is a really good team.”
Senior Ben Morris led Madison County’s second half charge, drilling six straight three-point attempts in a 19-point performance.
“Ben Morris had a great game,” Crouse said.
Seth Fleming added 10 points, but leading scorer Patrick McCrary was held to just eight.
Madison County came into the game following a 65-53 loss to Cedar Shoals Friday. Crouse said his group fought hard against the Jaguars, but didn’t see that same fire against the Bulldoggs.
“Our kids battled all the way through the entire Cedar game; we didn’t have that tonight (Tuesday),” Crouse said.
Weekend in review
Slow start dooms Raiders against Jaguars
ATHENS — Madison County overcame a tumultuous start Friday against Cedar Shoals but couldn’t complete the comeback in a 65-53 loss.
The Raiders trailed 17-0 just 3:12 into the contest, watching the Jaguars’ Casey Arnold score 12 points in that short span.
Arnold finished with 30 points.
Patrick McCrary led Madison County 18 points, but was held to just two in the second half as the Raiders suffered their first subregion loss.
Reterrium Davis added 14 points for Madison County.
The Raiders fought back admirably from their ice-cold start, cutting Cedar Shoals’ lead to just 27-23 with 2:20 in the first half.
But that’s as close as they would come.
Madison County shot 50 percent from two-point range but went just 2-of-16 from the three-point line. The Jaguars hit six three’s, but five of them came in the first half.
Cedar Shoals built a double-digit lead by halftime and led by 15 heading into the fourth quarter.
Madison County held a glimmer of hope late, pulling within nine points of Cedar Shoals with 2:37 left.
However, the Raiders went the next 1:23 without a basket.