OFF THE BENCH: Madison coach Willie Humes works the sideline during the Cubs’ 66-63 overtime loss at Columbus East on Saturday. Humes said a couple of calls by officials late in the overtime hindered his team’s chances to win the game. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
OFF THE BENCH: Madison coach Willie Humes works the sideline during the Cubs’ 66-63 overtime loss at Columbus East on Saturday. Humes said a couple of calls by officials late in the overtime hindered his team’s chances to win the game. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
COLUMBUS - Madison's quest for a school-record sixth Hoosier Hills Conference girls basketball win ended Saturday in a disappointing 66-63 overtime loss at Columbus East.

In a game that neither team led by more than four points through four quarters of regulation and one four-minute overtime period, the outcome wasn't decided until the final play of the game.

And in the end it was a play that left Madison fans screaming and Lady Cubs coach Willie Humes chasing after the referees following the final horn.

"It was a horrible call, a horrible call. That's all I can say," a still upset Humes said several minutes later. "I mean I know you don't say bad things about the referees but that was a horrible call and he shouldn't be refereeing like that."

The "horrible" call to which Humes was referring transpired during a Madison time-out with 3.6 seconds left in overtime and the Cubs trailing 66-63. Humes was going over the final play in his huddle when a member of the officiating crew set the ball down near the Madison bench and signaled that he had begun his five-second count.

Madison scurried to break its huddle and beat the count. The inbounds pass went into junior Alex Thurnall but she dribbled the ball off her leg and time expired before the Cubs could get a shot off.

"He did not even say 'first call' to us or anything. I mean when you get first call you know you've got to get out of the huddle, but all he did is raise the ball up and say 'second, hot' and put it down in play," Humes said. "He didn't say first or nothing to us. I'm really upset about that. I don't care about losing but I don't want the referees to take the game away from us."

Madison was already facing a final play in which a 3-pointer or three-point play was a must just to tie the game and send it into a second overtime. Trailing 64-63, Madison had been forced to foul the Olympians' Courtney Hunter with 7.4 seconds left and the junior guard had hit both free throws to up the margin to three.

Ironically, the play that gave possession of the ball to East prior to that foul was perhaps as controversial as the final inbounds play as Olympians' coach Danny Brown was awarded a time-out on a loose ball that was rolling around on the floor in a scrum under the Madison basket.

"The ball rolls out and (the official) is looking this way and the ball's on the ground and he turns back around and calls time-out," Humes said, shrugging his shoulders in disbelief. "Now you tell me, if the ball is on the floor can you call time-out. It wasn't even a held ball. It was rolling on the floor when he called that time-out. That's horrible. That's horrible and I don't care if they don't like what I say about it. It was two horrible calls."

Up until the final seconds, the two teams had waged a hard-fought, physical game in which neither team had led by more than four points and there were four ties and four lead changes in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Tied 54-54 at the end of regulation, Madison ran a good portion of the final minute off the clock holding for a last shot before senior forward Cadie Povaleri drove into a double-team with 5.2 seconds left and Columbus East was awarded the held ball rather than a foul.

Povaleri scored first in the overtime - with 3:15 left - for a 56-54 Madison lead but East answered with a basket by Allyson Bunch and a bucket by Audrey Wetzel to take a 58-56 lead.

Whitney Wynn scored for Madison with 2:10 left in overtime to tie the game 58-58. Bunch countered with a 3-pointer just 15 seconds later to take a 61-58 lead and Wynn answered with a 3-pointer for Madison with 1:17 left to knot the game 61-61.

The final minute of overtime turned into even more of a grind as Mikala Lomax scored inside for East to lead 63-61 before Wynn was fouled on a second effort shot for Madison and hit 1-of-2 free throws with 47 seconds left.

Povaleri then fouled Bunch with 32 seconds left and the junior forward made 1-of-2 and Madison's Olivia Crozier went to the line with 13 seconds remaining and made 1-of-2 to leave Madison trailing 64-63 and set up the late scrum under the Madison basket that led to the East time-out.

Madison and East weren't just close on the scoreboard. Both teams turned the ball over 21 times but Madison out-rebounded Columbus 40-37 and had 16 steals to 12 by the O's.

However, Columbus East was 24-of-53 from the field for 45 percent and 14-of-18 at the foul line for 78 percent while Madison was 18-of-51 from the field for 35 percent and 23-of-37 at the foul line for 62 percent.

Povaleri led Madison with a game-high 21 points while Crozier added 17 and Hannah Cain scored 10. East also had three players in double figures as Bunch scored 20, Wetzel 15 and Hunter 13.

The win evens East's record at 8-8 overall and 3-3 in the HHC while Madison drops to 13-4 and wraps up its HHC slate at 5-2. The loss to East was Madison's 11th straight to the Olympians dating back to a 55-49 win in Madison on Jan. 19, 2002.

Humes, an assistant coach at East before taking the head job at Madison last year, said Saturday's loss was tough to take for a lot of reasons.

"This is the first time we could have won six games in the conference," Humes said. "We were trying to win that and I didn't want (the officials) to take the game away from the girls. Like I said, I don't care about losing. That didn't bother me as much as the calls did and the referees taking the game away from us."

While playing for a school-record sixth conference win is now behind the Cubs as is ending an 11-game skid to the O's, Humes said Class 3A No. 8 Madison still has plenty to play for - such as a third straight sectional crown and trying to advance farther than the team's final four finish in 2012.

"This is disappointing," Humes said. "But there's nothing we can do about it now but get ready for sectional."

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SATURDAY'S GIRLS GAME

at Columbus

COLUMBUS EAST 66,

3A No. 8 MADISON 63, OT



MADISON 20 10 15 9 9 - 63

COLUMBUS EAST 18 11 16 9 12 - 66



MADISON (13-4, 5-2 HHC) - (f)Povaleri 21, (c)Crozier 17, (g)Cain 10, Wynn 7, (g)Jones 4, (f)Hexoc 3, Thurnall 1, Bickers 0.

COLUMBUS EAST (8-8, 3-3 HHC) - (f)Bunch 20, (f)Wetzel 15, (g)Hunter 13, (f)Lomax 7, Bellinger 7, Loesch 4, (g)Macy 0, Ritenour 0.



3-Point Goals - Madison 4 (Povaleri 1, Jones 1, Cain 1, Wynn 1), Columbus East 4 (Bunch 2, Lomax 1, Bellinger 1). Free Throws - Madison 23-37 (62%), Columbus East 14-18 (78%). Total Fouls - 18, Columbus East 22. Fouled Out - Madison None, Columbus East (Wetzel, Bunch). Rebounds - Madison 40 (Crozier 11, Hecox 11), Columbus East 37 (Bunch 9). Assists - Madison 16 (Jones 8), Columbus East 14 (Hunter 4, Lomax 4). Steals - Madison 16 (Povaleri 4, Crozier 4), Columbus East 12 (Wetzel 3, Macy 3). Next Game - Madison hosts South Ripley Saturday, Columbus East visits Bloomington South Tuesday.