The basketball deities have forsaken the Madison County High School boys’ team.
At least that was one Raider player’s theory Tuesday after the team suffered another agonizing loss, falling 46-45 to Apalachee on the road.
“One of our guys, when we were getting on the bus, he said, ‘The basketball gods have not smiled upon us,’” coach Steve Crouse said. “I said I don’t know if there’s such a thing, but I said we’ve had our share of unfortunate losses.”
Apalachee’s Dillon Moon buried a game-winning three-pointer Tuesday with four seconds left in the latest chapter of Madison County’s heart-rendering season.
The Wildcats, who beat the Raiders 54-52 in the final seconds on Jan. 16, were just 1-of-13 from the three-point line up to that point.
“He’s a three-point shooter,” Crouse said of Moon, painfully recalling the game’s final moments. “Ice. He drops it. In the bottom.”
Madison County (7-16, 1-8) has now lost four subregion contests by three points or less and carries a nine-game losing streak into Friday’s regular season finale against Clarke Central. The Raiders then play Tuesday in the region tournament, though their foe has yet to be determined.
“It’s very, very frustrating,” Crouse said. “It’s very, very hard to get your kids motivated to play again when they know that they worked very hard to put themselves in a position to win the game, and fortune shines on your opponent.”
Madison County led Apalachee 19-9 after a quarter, but was outscored 22-5 in the second quarter and trailed 31-24. The Raiders cut Apalachee’s lead to one point entering into the fourth quarter and led 45-43 in the final minute.
Apalachee called two time outs on its last possession and then got the ball to a wide-open Moon, who delivered the game-winner.
The Raiders played sterling defense up to that point, surrendering just 15 points the entire second half.
“My guys played hard,” Crouse said. “They played their tail-ends off.”
But Madison County didn’t take advantage of its opportunities from the free throw line, hitting 8-of-15 attempts, and was nearly shut out from three-point range, hitting just 1-of-11 shots.
“It’s just so frustrating, you don’t know where to start,” Crouse said.
Crouse noted that this down-to-the-wire affair was broadcast live online by gspnradio.com
Those interested can go to that website to hear the game and its gripping final moments via podcast.
“I think I’ll pass,” Crouse said.
Weekend in Review
Fantastic first half isn’t enough against Winder
Madison County’s Reterrium Davis just couldn’t be stopped. The guard nailed a three-pointer with 40 seconds to go in the opening period. He opened the second quarter with another three and a foul for a four-point play, then he hit an improbable 15-foot bank shot with a Winder defender in his face, drawing another foul for a three-point play.
The senior closed out the regular season in style, with a 10-point barrage in about a three-minute span in the first half. The raucous Madison County student section cheered Davis and his teammates, who had the hot hand, too. Madison County poured in the threes in the first half against Winder Friday, draining six in the opening two periods.
But Winder adjusted at halftime, going to a full-court pressure defense that forced numerous Madison County turnovers. Madison County’s offense fell cold and Winder pulled ahead for good, 48-46, with 5:20 to go in the third quarter. The visiting Bulldoggs outscored the Raiders 42-18 in the second half.