SCRAMBLE: Madison’s Olivia Crozier passes the ball to teammate Hannah Cain (right) after ripping it away from New Washington’s Caroline Ricks (left) during Tuesday’s game at New Washington. The Class 3A No. 8 Lady Cubs needed a big fourth quarter to pull away for the 53-44 win, the team’s seventh-straight. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
SCRAMBLE: Madison’s Olivia Crozier passes the ball to teammate Hannah Cain (right) after ripping it away from New Washington’s Caroline Ricks (left) during Tuesday’s game at New Washington. The Class 3A No. 8 Lady Cubs needed a big fourth quarter to pull away for the 53-44 win, the team’s seventh-straight. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
NEW WASHINGTON - Madison found itself in a fight it never expected and only a big fourth-quarter run staved off upset in the Lady Cubs' 53-44 win at New Washington on Tuesday.

Madison, ranked eighth in Class 3A, struggled for three quarters against the Class A No. 11 Mustangs and trailed as late as 6:34 left in the game. But the Cubs kicked into high gear in the stretch and ripped off a 15-4 run to escape with the win.

It wasn't a pretty win but it also wasn't unexpected for Madison coach Willie Humes, whose team remained unbeaten on the season at 7-0.

"We got a little big-head there thinking we're pretty good but we can't do that. We have a bulls-eye on our back and it's getting bigger than it was," Humes said. "Everywhere we go people are going to try to beat us and we've got to be on our toes from the beginning to the end. But we're going to get there."

Madison's largest lead of the first three quarters was just four points as the Cubs struggled against New Washington's zone defense.

The Mustangs (6-2) showed no signs of intimidation and took the game right to the bigger Cubs by controlling the tempo. New Washington led 25-22 at halftime while forcing 13 Madison turnovers and putting four Cubs in foul trouble.

Humes addressed the Cubs' problems at halftime and while Madison stopped turning the ball over - it had only three miscues in the second half - it still couldn't pull away from the pesky Mustangs.

Olivia Crozier and Hannah Cain each had buckets and Alex Thurnall completed a three-point play to power Madison to a 7-0 run to open the third quarter and put the Cubs ahead 29-25.

But New Washington's Caroline Ricks, a strong 5-foot-11 post player, got all of those points back with three-straight baskets of her own to put the Mustangs back on top 31-29.

The two teams exchanged baskets for the rest of the quarter and Madison still trailed 36-35 and the end pf the third thanks to a Thurnall 3-pointer with 25 seconds left.

Crozier tied the game with a free throw early in the fourth quarter but Coari Robertson answered with a short jumper to give New Washington their final lead of the game at 38-36 with 6:34 left.

Cain started Madison's big run with a 3-pointer to put the Cubs on top for good and Whitney Wynn followed with a steal and a basket. Crozier had two free throws and a basket to complete a quick 9-0 run and a 45-38 lead.

Ashley Johnson, who was the best player on the floor in the second half, then hit a pair of pull-up jumpers to pull New Washington to within 45-42 with 2:04 left.

But the rest of the game belonged to Madison as Cain hit another 3-pointer and later added two free throws. Wynn and Emily Holland each had a free throw to cap the 16-4 run with 21 seconds left.

Johnson added another basket with nine seconds left and Wynn closed out the game with a free throw for the final margin.

Despite serious foul trouble Madison had no players foul out. The Cubs finished with just 16 turnovers but shot only 38 percent (18-for-47) from the floor. Madison was also just 6-of-20 (30 percent) from 3-point range against the Mustangs' zone and 11-for-20 (55 percent) from the foul line.

Cain led Madison with 16 points and five assists while Crozier had 13 and Thurnall 11. Crozier, who is averaging double-digits in rebounding this year, managed just four boards.

New Washington meanwhile shot nearly 50 percent (19-for-39) from the floor but was undone by 21 turnovers and a 3-for-9 performance at the free-throw line.

Johnson led the Mustangs with 15 points and Ricks had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Humes admitted that some of his players may have overlooked New Washington, especially considering that Madison is in the midst of a string of games against Hoosier Hills Conference opponents. The Cubs played Floyd Central and Jeffersonville last week and will face Seymour on Saturday.

"I think some of them (the players) did overlook them especially considering that it was a 1A school," Humes said. "But we can't do that against anybody. New Washington is a good team and they have some nice players. We can't afford to take anybody lightly."

The 7-0 start for Madison matches the 1979-80 squad for the third-best start in the program's history. The 1995-96 team opened the year 8-0 and the 1992-93 team began 9-0.

If this edition of the Cubs is going to break that mark they will have to do it against HHC opponents. Madison hosts Seymour (4-3) on Saturday, travels to Jennings County (4-3) on Dec. 13 and hosts Class 4A No. 4 Bedford North Lawrence (6-0) on Dec. 15.

"We've got some tough games coming up but we're only looking ahead to Seymour," Humes said. "We'll get back to practice tomorrow and start preparing for the Owls."

---

TUESDAY'S GIRLS GAME

at New Washington

3A No. 8 MADISON 53, 1A No. 11 NEW WASHINGTON 44



MADISON 12 10 13 18 - 53

NEW WASHINGTON 10 15 11 8 - 44



MADISON (7-0) - (g)Cain 15, (c)Crozier 13, (g)Thurnall 11, (f)Povaleri 8, Wynn 5, Holland 1, (f)Hecox 0, Bickers 0.

NEW WASHINGTON (6-2) - (g)Johnson 15, (c)Ricks 13, (f)Amick 6, (g)Sarver 6, (f)Abbott 2, Robertson 2, James 0.



3-Point Goals - Madison 6 (Cain 3, Thurnall 2, Povaleri 1), New Washington 3 (Amick 1, Sarver 1). Rebounds - Madison 25 (Povaleri 4, Thurnall 4, Wynn 4, Crozier 4), New Washington 32 (Ricks 9). Assists - Madison 16 (Cain 5), New Washington 9 (Amick 3, Johnson 3). Turnovers - Madison 16, New Washington 21. Total Fouls - Madison 14, New Washington 15. Free Throws - Madison 11-20, New Washington 3-9. Fouled Out - None. Next Game - Madison hosts Seymour Saturday. New Washington visits Southwestern Thursday.