“ ... We were fortunate to win our pool. I don’t know if it was a weak pool or we were just lucky, but we played well.” Madison boys basketball coach Pat King
“ ... We were fortunate to win our pool. I don’t know if it was a weak pool or we were just lucky, but we played well.” Madison boys basketball coach Pat King
The first frost is still nearly five months away, but Madison's boys basketball program is hard at work preparing for the 2013-14 season.

The Cubs went 2-1 in a tournament in Indianapolis over the weekend, knocking off perennial powers Cathedral and Mount Vernon (Fortville) along the way. Madison's tournament run ended with a loss to Lawrence North but it didn't diminish the Cubs' performance.

"This is our big tournament of the year. There are nearly 50 schools in it and all but three are 4A schools," Madison coach Pat King said. "The only non-4A schools are us, Bowman Academy and Park Tudor. Usually, we hope to get just one win out of it. But the kids just played really well."

Landon Perry led Madison's charge in the 52-45 win over Cathedral by hitting eight 3-pointers en route to a 28-point performance. Madison then knocked off Mount Vernon 61-55 in the second game.

The Cubs were also supposed to play Hamilton Heights but that school dropped out because of a seven-on-seven football tournament. As a result, Madison won its pool and advanced to the championship round.

"Cathedral finished second last year and beat Jeffersonville in the semistate," King said. "Mount Vernon was No. 1 in 3A and lost to Greensburg in the semistate. We were fortunate to win our pool. I don't know if it was a weak pool or we were just lucky, but we played well."

Madison faced Lawrence North in the opening round of the single-elimination tournament on Sunday and lost 63-50. But King said that winning now is not necessarily the end game of summer basketball.

"The fun part of it is working on individual skills and player improvement. And it's fun for us coaches because we get to work closer with the guys," King said. "We've been hitting it hard every day and the kids are having fun. They're really working hard and it's great to see."

King said the month of June is always the busiest month of the summer for his team. Not constrained by IHSAA practice rules, Madison has been practicing seven days of week and has played three tournaments so far.

"We've been in the gym every day except for Father's Day. That's been our only day off," King said. "But most days we're not even scrimmaging. We're working on shooting drills or passing drills. Three days a week we're in the weight room and I've been able to work with the new football coach (Patric Morrison) on a weight room schedule. It has worked out really well."

King said he's had 25 to 30 players in practice every day, so many that Madison actually fielded two varsity teams at its previous tournaments in Noblesville and East Central. At East Central, the Cubs finished second after falling to Scott High School out of Kentucky.

"The kids are eager to learn and even here at the end of the month they are still having fun," King said. "The kids aren't playing golf or swimming, they're in the gym practicing and that says a lot about their dedication. (Senior) Carson Wattenbarger competed in the golf state finals on Wednesday last week, he was in the gym on Thursday and played for us this weekend. He's one tired boy right now but it says a lot about him."

Madison, which is 20-9 so far this month, hosts Cloverdale and New Washington for an open scrimmage on Wednesday starting at 10 a.m. and then has one more tournament left this weekend when it competes at Greenfield. The Cubs will face Jac-Cen-Del, Southwestern (Shelby) and Cowan in pool play.

After this weekend, Madison will call it quits for the summer. There is a statewide moratorium Fourth of July weekend and after that, Madison's players began transiting to football practice so King will not get his team back until late October.

But the work the Cubs put in this month should pay off when the basketball season tips off in late November.

"I think the fans will be very pleased when they see the product that hits the court during the Turkey Shootout," King said. "The other coaches (in Indianapolis) were giving me a hard time. They kept saying that they had to began paying attention to Madison again. It was a nice compliment."