TALL ORDER: Madison’s Matt Woolard (left) finds a sizeable obstacle — Jenings County’s 6-foot-9 center Brad Hunt — in his path during Friday’s Hoosier Hills Conference game in Madison as Madison’s Clark Vaughn (42) follows the play. Hunt led the Panthers with 22 points and eight rebounds as Jennings County handed Madison it’s first loss of the season 64-53. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
TALL ORDER: Madison’s Matt Woolard (left) finds a sizeable obstacle — Jenings County’s 6-foot-9 center Brad Hunt — in his path during Friday’s Hoosier Hills Conference game in Madison as Madison’s Clark Vaughn (42) follows the play. Hunt led the Panthers with 22 points and eight rebounds as Jennings County handed Madison it’s first loss of the season 64-53. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
Missed shots, mismatches and missing players presented hurdles Madison could not overcome Friday night in a 64-53 home loss to conference rival Jennings County.

Playing just its second game of the season, Madison opened the contest with great patience on offense. The Cubs made pass after pass before senior forward Matt Woolard went for a shot after nearly a minute had run off the clock.

Woolard's shot missed and Jennings County wasted no time in driving down the floor to quickly put up a shot.

That was the story of the first half of the game: Deliberate tempo from Madison, high energy from Jennings County and plenty of missed shots by both.

In the end, the bigger Panthers' style won out in the nine-point Hoosier Hills Conference win.

"We played against a team that was just more physical than we were. And when that happens we're in for a tough night, especially if we can't make shots," Madison coach Pat King said. "And we had trouble making shots early and they got the ball inside on us and it became a game of their bigs just completely dominating the first half."

The "bigs" for Jennings County were seniors Brad Hunt - who stands 6-foot-9 - and Tommy Taylor - who is 6-foot-3. Hunt, who is three inches taller than Madison's biggest player, led all scorers with 22 points and was able to snag eight rebounds.

In all, Jennings County grabbed 43 rebounds, 19 of which came on the offensive end and resulted in far too many second shots by the visitors. Sophomore Caleb Eder led the Panthers with 13 rebounds, his third consecutive game breaking the double-digit mark in that category.

King said some of Madison's issues could be resolved by strengthening the team's perimeter defense.

"If we can get more ball pressure, they can't look inside and have to turn their backs. It's kind of a package," he said.

Another big issue was the absence of sophomore guard Nick Macon, who did not play due to a health problem. Macon led Madison in scoring with 20 points in the team's season opener - almost one-third of the Cubs' total in a win over Southwestern.

King said the severity of Macon's injury is unknown and it is not clear how much time he will have to miss.

"Nick's got some health problems that we found out about today (Friday) at noon, so we were scrambling all afternoon trying to make some adjustments," King said. "Nick's got to get down to a doctor middle of the week and he'll get some more tests done and we'll find out if it's a short-term or if it's a long-term situation for him. Right now, he's just waiting on some doctor's reports he had taken today, some tests, and we've just got to wait him out."

Macon, the Cubs point guard, has the ability to speed up the Cubs' play - one of the reasons for Madison's slower tempo in the first half. Madison missed its first six shots of the game and did not score until 4:38 left in the first quarter when junior guard Landon Perry hit a 3-pointer. The Cubs made only three shots in the first period and got three more on free-throws.

Madison's intensity increased in the second half, when senior forward Ryan Thurston came out shooting to hit a 3-pointer just 14 seconds into the half and then put up nine straight points for the Cubs to begin the second half. Thurston led Madison with 16 points in the game.

King said the team made adjustments and came up with new sets that would create quicker looks in the second half. But Jennings County never relented in its up-tempo play.

Madison had a brief glimpse at a possible comeback when Jennings County's Hunt was whistled for his fourth foul and had to go to the bench with Madison down 15 points with just under four minutes to play.

Perry and Woolard went on a seven-point run for the Cubs, but that was as close as Madison would get as the rally stalled when the Cubs committed two straight turnovers.

King said now the team has to look at ways to learn to play and win without Macon on the floor.

"We've got to make some personnel changes and some role changes for the time being," he said. "Right now, short-term - hopefully it's short-term - see if we can get through the next two or three games so we can find out what his health situation is."

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Friday's Boys Game

at Madison

JENNINGS CO. 64, MADISON 53



JENNINGS CO. 17 10 21 16 - 64

MADISON 11 7 18 17 - 53



JENNINGS CO. (2-1) - (c)Hunt 22, (g)Sanders 15, Taylor 11, (f)Kirchner 5, (f)Eder 5, Mills 4, (g)Leach 2, McNamee 0, Scruggs 0, Woods 0, Euler 0.

MADISON (1-1) - (f)Thurston 16, (g)Perry 14, (f)Woolard 8, Vaughn 6, (g)Sauley 4, Hoffman 3, King 2, Wattenbarger 0, (c)Manaugh 0.



3-Point Goals - Jennings Co. 5-11 (Sanders 3, Eder 1, Kirchner 1), Madison 6-19 (Thurston 3, Perry 2, Sauley 1). Rebounds - Jennings Co. 43, Madison 29. Total Fouls - Jennings Co. 15, Madison 17. Free Throws - Jennings Co. 11-17 (64.7%), Madison 17-25 (68%). Fouled Out - None. Next Game - Jennings County hosts South Ripley tonight, Madison visits Providence tonight.