BIG WIN: Madison’s Hannah Cain (above, 34) gets a handshake from teammate Delanie Jones (5) while teammates Katie Hartman (11) and Alex Thurnall celebrate late in the Cubs’ win over Scottsburg. Jones (below) pushes the ball up the floor against the Warriorettes’ Jillian Romero. Madison won 79-68 in what could be a regional preview. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
BIG WIN: Madison’s Hannah Cain (above, 34) gets a handshake from teammate Delanie Jones (5) while teammates Katie Hartman (11) and Alex Thurnall celebrate late in the Cubs’ win over Scottsburg. Jones (below) pushes the ball up the floor against the Warriorettes’ Jillian Romero. Madison won 79-68 in what could be a regional preview. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Madison turned Tuesday's possible regional preview with Scottsburg into a blowout late, cruising to a 79-68 win at home in a matchup of ranked teams.

The Class 3A No. 8-ranked Lady Cubs, still smarting from a horrible shooting performance in a loss at Corydon on Saturday, had no problems against Scottsburg by hitting 61 percent of their shots from the floor.

That impressive showing allowed Madison to lead by as many as 13 late in the game before settling on the 11-point win.

"I told (Madison coach) Willie (Humes) that it was nice of him to figure out his shooting problems from Saturday," Scottsburg coach Donna Cheatham said. "They played well."

It was a far cry from two of the Cubs' last three games in which they shot worse than 30 percent in losses to Austin and Corydon.

Refocused and re-energized by a huge crowd at Salm Gym, Madison took the lead late in the first quarter and never trailed again.

"We came in on Monday and we said to ourselves that we were not going to have a loss like that again. We need to beat those teams," said sophomore Olivia Crozier. "This is a rivalry game for us and we had a big crowd. Even though it was cancer night, I think a lot of them came out to see us against Scottsburg. It really fired us up."

Madison honored cancer victims before the game and much of the large crowd wore pink in honor of the night. Scottsburg, however, seized the emotional momentum early, when back-to-back steals led to run-out baskets for Katie Wampler and Jullian Romero and an early 4-0 lead.

The Class 3A No. 15 Warriorettes (10-5) eventually led 7-2 before Madison found its footing. Much of that foundation came in the form of the 6-foot-1 Crozier, who scored 11 of her team-high 18 points in the first quarter.

Crozier, who has been turning heads all season, said she relished the chance to go toe-to-toe with the 6-foot-2 Wampler, considered by many to be one of the best post players in southeastern Indiana.

"Her being a senior and me being a sophomore I wanted to show her that I belonged and that I could be better than her," Crozier said. "I think I did."

Cheatham, who suffered just the 200th loss of her stellar 38-year career, came away impressed with the Madison star.

"She's got good instincts and she seems to know where the basket is at all times, even when her back is to the basket," Cheatham said. "Part of that is coaching but a lot of that is just pure talent. She's a very good player."

With Crozier and fellow post player Macky Hecox knocking down shots, Madison took a 16-13 lead on a Crozier three-point play with 30 seconds left in the first period an the Cubs capped the opening quarter with a 6-0 run to go ahead 18-13.

"We talked about that before the game, how if we fall behind we have to be mentally strong enough to come back," Humes said. "I don't need to panic. Just work hard and come back."

Scottsburg hung around and did not trail by more than seven until the fourth quarter. Time and time again the Warriorettes pulled to within a single possession only to have Madison answer with back-to-back baskets.

Scottsburg's last gasp came early in the fourth. After rallying from 12 down in the third, the Warriorettes tied the game 56-56 on an Ashley Elliot basket with 6:06 left in regulation.

But Whitney Wynn answered for Madison with a steal and a drive to the bucket and Hannah Cain repeated the feat moments later to push the lead back to four.

Those two steals and baskets kicked off a 17-4 Cub run that finally put the game away. Delanie Jones' two free throws with 1:24 left gave Madison its largest lead of the night at 73-60.

"We just don't have a lot of basketball smarts as a team," Cheatham said. "We just don't seem to understand that when we have the momentum to be able to continue it. We always seem to make the wrong pass or take the wrong shot. It's been our problem all season."

Taylor Means and Kelsey Smith each hit 3-pointers as Scottsburg inched closer in the final minutes but by then it was too late. Alex Thurnall capped the scoring for Madison with a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the 11-point win.

The Cubs were 31-for-51 (61 percent) from the floor, including 3-for-8 (38 percent) from 3-point range. But more impressive, Madison had 24 assists on its 31 field goals while turning the ball over 18 times.

Many of those assists came on drives to the basket that resulted in Cubs dishing off to the open man after sucking the defense to them. It was a facet of the game that Madison had been lacking recently but they returned to Tuesday.

"We've talked a lot about making that extra pass," Humes said. "If we can keep that up, I'll be real happy."

"We wanted to get back to the way we were playing earlier in the season," Crozier said. "I think we did that."

Crozier led five Cubs in double figures. Hecox had 14 points and five rebounds, Cadie Povaleri scored 13 points, had five rebounds, five assists and five steals, Wynn had 11 points, four assists, four rebounds and four steals, and Thurnall had 10 points.

Scottsburg, which was 24-for-53 (45 percent) from the field, got a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds from Elliot. Smith scored 18 points and had five assists and Wampler had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Both Wampler and Romero fouled out in the game for Scottsburg, taxing an already shallow Warriorette bench.

"We're just not as deep as Madison and it showed," Cheatham said. "Taylor (Means) is our fifth player but she is still coming back from injury and she's just not all the way back."

Both teams reached the regional round a year ago and Madison ended up winning the title, but Humes is not looking that far ahead his season. The Cub coach only has his sights on Saturday's conference road game at Columbus East.

Should the Lady Cubs knock off East they will become the first Madison basketball team - boys or girls - to win six Hoosier Hills Conference games in one season. The Cubs' only HHC loss came by 10 to Class 4A No. 2 Bedford North Lawrence last week.

"That's the game we want. We want to win that game and finish second in the conference without having to back in," said Humes, who coached at East prior to coming back home to Madison. "Plus I want to beat them bad. That's just some extra motivation."



at Madison

3A No. 8 MADISON 79, 3A No. 15 SCOTTSBURG 68

SCOTTSBURG 13 17 19 19 - 68

MADISON 18 16 20 25 - 79

SCOTTSBURG (10-5) - (g)Elliot 20, (g)Smith 18, (f)Wampler 15, Means 8, (g)Romero 7, (f)Bulington 0, Collins 0, Beverly 0.

MADISON (13-3) - (c)Crozier 18, (f)Hecox 14, (f)Povaleri 13, Wynn 11, Thurnall 10, (g)Cain 8, (g)Jones 4, Hartman 1, Bickers, Holland.

3-Point Goals - Scottsburg 7 (Smith 4, Means 2, Romero 1), Madison 3 (Thurnall 2, Cain 1). Rebounds - Scottsburg 33 (Elliot 10), Madison 29 (Crozier 9). Assists - Scottsburg 14 (Smith 5), Madison 24 (Povaleri 5). Turnovers - Scottsburg 21, Madison 18. Total Fouls - Scottsburg 19, Madison 17. Free Throws - Scottsburg 13-19, Madison 14-24. Fouled Out - Scottsburg: Romero, Wampler. Next Game - Scottsburg hosts Eastern (Pekin) Thursday. Madison visits Columbus East Saturday.