CONFERENCE BATTLE: Madison’s Landon Perry (above, 11) and Tyler Manaugh swarm Floyd Central’s Zane Nichols (30) for a loose ball during Monday’s HHC game at home. The Cubs’ Carson Wattenbarger (below) battles with J.C. Kinnaird (11) for a rebound. Madison pulled away late to win 80-69 and keep its league title hopes alive. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
CONFERENCE BATTLE: Madison’s Landon Perry (above, 11) and Tyler Manaugh swarm Floyd Central’s Zane Nichols (30) for a loose ball during Monday’s HHC game at home. The Cubs’ Carson Wattenbarger (below) battles with J.C. Kinnaird (11) for a rebound. Madison pulled away late to win 80-69 and keep its league title hopes alive. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Nick Macon scored 27 points and Landon Perry had 21 as Class 3A No. 10 Madison held off Floyd Central 80-69 in boys basketball action Monday night at Salm Gymnasium.

Madison had four players reach double figures in scoring and needed every point against the upset-minded Highlanders. Floyd Central led by two early in the fourth quarter before Macon and Perry led a steady stream of Cubs to the free-throw line to salt away the win.

It was the second time in four days that the Cubs went down to the wire against a Hoosier Hills Conference opponent and the second time Madison escaped with the win.

"Escape is a good word but I'm very happy," Madison coach Pat King said. "It just shows you how even this conference is. (Floyd Central and Seymour) were the two teams, on paper, that were in the lower half and we're fighting to stay in the top half of the conference. It was down to the last two or three minutes."

Madison (12-3, 4-2 HHC) scored the first eight points of the game, led 15-3 early and 21-11 after the first quarter but the lead was far from secure. Floyd Central began knocking down shots and outscored the Cubs 26-17 in the second quarter to pull within 38-37 at halftime.

The Highlanders (3-13, 2-4 HHC) kept the onslaught going in the third quarter and eventually sprinted ahead by six with 4:20 left in the third. Floyd's defensive pressure, coupled with points in transition, allowed the Highlanders to dominate the middle 20 minutes of the game.

Tyler Manaugh ended the run with a basket for Madison that kick-started a 10-0 run that put the Cubs ahead by four late in the third. The lead was still three at the start of the final quarter but a Mike Lewis basket and a J.C. Kinnaird 3-pointer pushed Floyd back ahead by two (60-58) with 6:55 left to play.

The two teams played back-and-forth through the first six minutes of the fourth quarter before Madison got the break it needed.

After Lewis tied the game 64-64 with a pair of free throws with 3:44 to play, Perry hit a runner in the lane to put the Cubs ahead by two. The next time down the floor, Perry hit a 3-pointer just as Manaugh was being fouled under the basket. Perry's trey counted and Manaugh hit both free throws for a rare five-point possession and a 71-64 lead with 2:43 left.

The sequence essentially ended the game. Floyd Central got no closer than six the rest of the way and Madison stretched the lead out at the line. The Cubs hit 13 free throws in the fourth quarter - eight in the final minute - to pull away.

Madison won the game at the free-throw line despite getting outscored 26-0 in bench points and 34-14 in the paint. The Cubs were 29-of-39 from the line compared to 17-for-23 by Floyd and four Highlanders eventually fouled out.

"They like to play what I would call an ugly game," King said. "They want to speed you up, they're willing to foul, they play a lot of kids knowing they're going to foul. They make it a game of attrition. By the end of the third quarter and into the fourth, they're going to wear you down and get some steals. To our credit, we hung in there."

Manaugh was 9-of-10 from the line, Perry went 9-of-11 and Macon was 7-of-9. The free-throw shooting helped offset a 22-for-59 (37.3 percent) Madison performance from the floor, including 7-of-21 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc.

Manaugh finished with 17 points and four rebounds and Carson Wattenbarger had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Perry had seven rebounds and three assists and Macon had six assists and four rebounds.

Myles Ervin led Floyd Central with 26 points and Kinnaird scored 18. Madison outrebounded the Highlanders 45-38, but the Cubs also had 20 turnovers to Floyd's 21.

"My goodness we did some silly things late, and by our decision-makers," King said. "We had 20 turnovers and that's uncharacteristic but that's a credit to Floyd's defense. They forced us to do some strange things. We'll take a look at that and learn from that and it will definitely make us better.

"Somehow we took care of the ball late and came away with a well-deserved win. I thought the kids deserved this one."

The victory improved Madison to 4-2 in HHC play, its most conference wins since the 2006-07 season. The Cubs are still mathematically alive for their first conference title since 1998. New Albany (5-1) and Columbus East (4-1) lead the standings. Madison plays East next week. New Albany's final conference game is against Bedford North Lawrence (3-2) next week.

Madison is in the midst of its busiest stretch of games this season. Having already played three times in the past four days, the Cubs host Lawrenceburg on Thursday and Class 2A No. 18 Providence on Saturday afternoon for a total of five games in eight days. Both the Providence and Floyd games were rescheduled from earlier in the season.

"To the kids' credit we just played three games in four days with one practice. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we'll get in five days this week," King said. "We just told the kids to get home tonight, get your books done, drink a lot of water. We have to get back here Tuesday and Wednesday and practice."

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MONDAY'S BOYS GAME

at Madison

CLASS 3A No. 10 MADISON 80,

FLOYD CENTRAL 69



FLOYD CENTRAL 11 26 18 14 - 69

MADISON 21 17 20 22 - 80



FLOYD CENTRAL (3-13, 2-4 HHC) - (g)Ervin 26, Kinnaird 18, (g)Kimm 5, Apple 5, (f)Lewis 4, (c)Nichols 4, (f)Sturgeon 4, Simpson 3, Thomas 0, Crum 0, Beach 0.



MADISON (12-3, 4-2 HHC) - (g)Macon 27, (g)Perry 21, (c)Manaugh 17, (f)Wattenbarger 10, (f)Tucker 5, Weaver 0, Huffman 0, King 0, Sauley 0.



3-Point Goals - Floyd Central 6 (Kinnaird 3, Ervin 1, Simpson 1, Kimm 1), Madison 7 (Macon 4, Perry 2, Wattenbarger 1). Rebounds - Floyd Central 38 (Lewis 11), Madison 45 (Wattenbarger 13). Assists - Floyd Central 8 (Ervin 3, Kinnaird 3), Madison 14 (Macon 6). Turnovers - Floyd Central 21, Madison 20. Total Fouls - Floyd Central 27, Madison 19. Free Throws - Floyd Central 17-23, Madison 29-39. Fouled Out - Floyd Central: Kinnaird, Lewis, Nichols, Sturgeon. Next Game - Floyd Central visits Evansville Harrison Saturday. Madison hosts Lawrenceburg Thursday.