Coming off of a big 76-65 win over East Rockingham County on Tuesday, Madison County’s meeting with Clarke County — a team that’s always physical and fundamental — had all the makings of a trap game, especially as a Bull Run District opener. The Mountaineers might have come out a bit slow in the first, but a 16-0 run from the second quarter into the third paved the way to a 58-48 win to maintain their perfect record at 6-0.
“I don’t think we came out with the right energy today and when you’re coming off a big game like we had with East Rockingham on Tuesday, I can see how it’s hard to get up for the next one,” said Madison coach Ben Breeden. “You expect things like that to happen as a coach. I thought we played well in spurts but we need to play with energy all the way thought every night.”
With the game knotted up at 17-17 after the first quarter, Madison actually fell into a 24-19 hole early the second half as the Eagles kept the Mountaineers from getting up and down the floor and slowed down the pace of the game. But when Gaines Swink knocked down a 3-pointer, it was the start of a 10-0 run to close out the half and send the Mountaineers into the break with a 29-24 lead.
“Shots weren’t falling early and so the best options came from getting on the offensive boards and we got multiple rebounds and added possessions that helped a lot,” Breeden said.
Despite the break, Madison came out in the third quarter and got a 3-pointer from Elijah Lewis and then three straight points from Dre Twyman to make it 35-24. After another Lewis trey, Madison went up 38-26 and the Mountaineers were able to take a 12-point lead into the fourth.
“Coach told us we had to play with more energy and step our game up at halftime,” Lewis said. “We came out trying to do that. They played man-to-man early and then switched to a zone so we had to adjust to that but we were able to.”
Madison claimed 54-38 lead late in the fourth quarter and kept Clarke from fouling its way back into the contest. Both teams chose to play their benches late and there the Eagles were able to make it a 10-point contest, but never anything closer.
On the night, five different Mountaineers finished with eight or more points. Lewis and Twyman led the way with 12 points each. Kobi Alexander chipped in nine. Isiah Smith and Isaiah Breckenridge both finished with eight points.
Madison (6-0, 1-0) hosts Rapphanock on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.