SURROUNDED: Madison’s Landon Perry (from left) Carson Wattenbarger and Derek Manaugh triple team Columbus East’s Bryce Lienhoop during Friday’s game at Salm Gym (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
SURROUNDED: Madison’s Landon Perry (from left) Carson Wattenbarger and Derek Manaugh triple team Columbus East’s Bryce Lienhoop during Friday’s game at Salm Gym (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
Late in the first half of Madison's Hoosier Hills Conference boys basketball matchup with league runner-up Columbus East, coach Pat King's Cubs were living large.

Madison made 8-of-14 3-pointers in the opening half - including 5-of-6 in the second quarter - to bomb its way to a 29-22 lead over the much bigger Olympians.

But from that point on Madison's lights-out shooting from long range was lights off and the Olympians ouscored the Cubs 25-8 the rest of the first half and third quarter - including a devastating 16-2 run - en route to a 68-58 win over Madison at Salm Gym.

"It's the old cliché that if you live by the 3, you die by the 3," King said afterwards, shaking his head.

Madison followed up its 8-of-14 shooting in the first half with a 1-of-9 effort in the second half as the Olympians led by as many as 16 points before settling on the final 10-point win.

The Cubs and Olympians spent the first quarter feeling each other out with Columbus East leading 11-10 at the break. All of Madison's field goals came on 3-pointers by Nick Macon, Carson Wattenbarger and Landon Perry.

The second quarter saw Madison senior forward Ryan Thurston join in on the fun as he drained three 3-pointers to go with one more each by Macon and Perry in the first five minutes of the quarter.

When Wattenbarger scored on a layup with 1:37 left in the half and Tanner Sauley swiped the inbounds pass under the Madison basket for a second layup five seconds later, the Cubs held what would be their biggest lead of the night at 29-22 to force an East timeout.

"We had such a good first half," King said. "Twenty-four of our 29 points in the first half were 3s. Then we were 1-for-9 in the second half."

Coming out of the timeout, East extended its defense out to shut down Madison's outside game, giving the Cubs the option of driving to the basket against the Olympians' big front line or shooting a well-contested 3-pointer. It was an adjustment that changed the flow of the game and ultimately the outcome.

The Cubs went the final 1:32 of the first half and the first 1:01 of the third quarter without scoring while a Jesse Shea layup pulled East to within 29-24 at halftime and triggered a 16-2 Columbus run that put Madison behind 38-31 midway through the third and 47-37 by the close of that quarter.

"They're a good team and I can just guarantee that they talked at halftime about getting out on our shooters and getting our shooters out of their rhythm," King said. "They made us dribble and attack the basket and now you've got 5-10 guys attacking the basket with a 6-6 kid waiting on him ... they funneled us right to the middle. Now we have to make decisions. Do we pull up for the shot, do we make a second pass or do we drive it on them? They made adjustments and we just did not adjust to them."

Madison trailed by as much as 16 points in the fourth quarter but the Cubs kept battling back. Madison cut the Columbus cushion to nine six times in the fourth quarter and whittled it to as low as eight on two occasions but the Cubs could get no closer.

Every time Madison looked ready to cut the East lead into lower single digits, the Olympians went inside for a bucket, a layup or were fouled where they went 9-for-12 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter.

With the win East halted a three-game skid that had more to do with whom the Olympians played over that stretch - Class 3A No. 4 Brownstown Central, Class 4A No. 16 Ben Davis and Franklin Central - than how Columbus has played.

"We warned the kids that they'd lost three games but that those were three good teams," King said. "They're playing good basketball and they've gotten some kids healthy that they were playing without."

The loss ended a two-game win streak for Madison and left the Cubs at .500 (9-9) with two games to play in the regular season. King likes his squad's chances from here on out. Madison faces a couple of Class 2A squads - South Ripley and Switzerland County - to close out the regular season before playing schools its own size in the sectional.

"Our kids are playing hard - I mean they're playing just so hard," King said. "And the mistakes we are making are fixable and they're very coachable. It's not like it's what you see is what you get. These are things that can be fixed."

Thurston led the Cubs with 16 points while Macon added 14 and Perry had 13 as the three accounted for eight of Madison's nine 3-pointers.

East's 6-foot-6 junior forward Bryce Lienhoop led all scorers with 17 points while Nate Rich scored 15 and Shea added 14.

The Cubs travel to Versailles on Tuesday to face South Ripley.

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FRIDAY'S BOYS GAME

at Madison

COLUMBUS EAST 68, MADISON 58



COLUMBUS EAST 11 13 23 21 - 68

MADISON 10 19 8 21 - 58



COLUMBUS EAST (12-6, 6-1 HHC) - (f)Lienhoop 17, (g)Rich 15, Shea 14, (g)Taylor 8, Harris 6, (f)Jensen 4, Martindale 2, Umphress 2, (f)Thompson 0, Nolting 0.

MADISON (9-9, 2-5 HHC) - (f)Thurston 16, (g)Macon 14, (g)Perry 13, (f)Wattenbarger 8, Sauley 4, Manaugh 2, Huffman 1, (f)Woolard 0, King 0, Vaughn 0.



3-Point Goals - Columbus East 4 (Shea 2, Rich 1, Harris 1), Madison 9 (Thurston 3, Macon 3, Perry 2, Wattenbarger 1). Free Throws - Columbus East 18-27 (67%), Madison 13-18 (72%). Rebounds - Columbus East 30 (Lienhoop 10), Madison 25 Wattenbarger 7). Assists - Columbus East 12 (Taylor 4, Lienhoop 4), Madison 10 (Thurston 3). Total Fouls - Columbus East 16, Madison 19. Fouled Out - None. Turnovers - Columbus East 16, Madison 23. Steals - Columbus East 14 (Taylort 4, Lienhoop 4), Madison 9 Macon 3, Sauley 3). Next Game - Madison visits South Ripley Tuesday, Columbus East hosts Plainfield Friday.