MACON BUCKETS: Madison’s Nick Macon slices to the basket over Silver Creek defenders Gabe Bauer (32) and Zach Davidson during Friday’s game. Macon had 14 points and fellow Cub Carson Wattenbarger scored 24 but Madison lost 61-54. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
MACON BUCKETS: Madison’s Nick Macon slices to the basket over Silver Creek defenders Gabe Bauer (32) and Zach Davidson during Friday’s game. Macon had 14 points and fellow Cub Carson Wattenbarger scored 24 but Madison lost 61-54. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Madison couldn't sustain the momentum from a hot-shooting first half and suffered just its third loss in the last eight games, 61-54 to Silver Creek on Friday at home.

The Cubs shot nearly 70 percent from the floor (11-for-16) and got 18 points by Carson Wattenbarger in the first half to build an eight-point lead at the half.

But as hot as Madison was in the first 16 minutes, the Cubs were that cold in the second. Wattenbarger was held to just six points in the final two quarters and Madison hit only 9-of-23 (39.1 percent) over that span as the Dragons pulled away for the win.

"We shot 68 percent in the first half and you're not going to do that for a whole game, unless you're Columbus North," Madison coach Pat King said. "They made adjustments. They made Carson do different things to get open and he got caught standing as he got more tired. And nobody else stepped up. We got shots for the other kids. They just didn't go."

Wattenbarger sank nearly every shot he took in an impressive first-half performance. The 6-foot-3 junior wing was 7-for-8 from the floor, including 4-for-4 from the 3-point arc, as Madison built its largest lead of the game, 30-19 midway through the second quarter.

But it wasn't just Wattenbarger doing damage. Ryan Thurston knocked down a 3-pointer in the second quarter, Willie Huffman had six points and Nick Macon scored five as the Cubs took a 32-24 lead into the half.

Silver Creek (5-10) switched to an aggressive man-to-man defense in the second half aimed primarily at stopping Wattenbarger. The move worked when the Cubs had trouble finding the basket and the Dragons began chipping away.

"We prepared to face the 1-2-2 zone and then they switched to a man-to-man on us," King said. "It shouldn't have bothered us. All we've faced all month is man-to-man. But it bothered us tonight."

Thurston's layup to open the third quarter put Madison up 10 (34-24) but the Cubs struggled through the rest of the quarter to score. Silver Creek, meanwhile, got six-straight points by Zach Davidson and closed the gap to two (41-39) on a Shae Durham 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Brooks Howell knocked down a trey to open the fourth and give Creek its first lead since the opening minutes of the game. The two teams traded baskets over the next few minutes before a Matt Woolard layup tied the game for Madison at 51-51 with 1:58 left in regulation.

Gabe Bauer banked in a 3-pointer on Creek's next possession to give the Dragons the lead for good. The Cubs (7-7) had several chances to tie or take the lead over the next two minutes but missed on nearly every one.

On the other side of the floor Silver Creek cleaned up at the free-throw line, hitting eight freebies in the final minute and 10-of-14 in the fourth quarter alone.

Durham's two free throws with 36 seconds left put the Dragons up seven at 58-51, but Macon answered immediately with a 3-pointer to cut the lead back to four. It proved to be Madison's final basket of the game as the Cubs missed three 3-pointers in the final 20 seconds of the game.

"We had our chances down the stretch, we just couldn't get the big shot," King said. "And give Silver Creek credit. They hit their free throws and got a ton in the fourth quarter. Of course they also scored 22 points in the fourth quarter which is unacceptable."

Wattenbarger finished the game with a career-high 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting and sophomores Nick Macon and Willie Huffman had 14 and nine points, respectively, but the Cubs were hard-pressed to get scoring from anyone else. Thurston finished with five and Woolard, who scored 24 points against Floyd Central, had only the two.

"I don't think Matt was as aggressive tonight as he was last week," King said. "But Matt is a catch-and-shoot kind of guy and I thought Silver Creek did a good job of getting in front of Nick and Willie and playing aggressive. Matt got the ball but with a guy in front of him, he was content to pass back out."

Madison finished the game over 50 percent from the floor (20-of-39) and had an impressive 16 assists on 20 field goals, led by Macon's eight. Both teams grabbed 24 rebounds and the Cubs had only four more turnovers, 12 to eight.

The big difference in the game was at the foul line where the Dragon hit more than twice as many free throws as did Madison. Silver Creek was 16-for-21 overall to the Cubs' 7-of-11.

Durham led Silver Creek with 20 points while Davidson and Bauer had 10 points each. The Dragons were 45 percent (19-for-42) from the floor for the game, but 11-for-18 (61.1 percent) in the second half.

The victory was Silver Creek's second impressive win of the week after starting the season with 10 losses in its first 13 games. The Dragons knocked off Class 2A No. 4 Providence 37-32 on Tuesday.

"Silver Creek is a young team and in a lot of ways, they're a lot like us," King said. "They've had a good week and we'll see if they are able to sustain it. We've had a good month but now we have to try to get back to where we were."

Madison visits North Harrison tonight.



at Madison


SILVER CREEK 13 11 15 22 - 61

MADISON 17 15 9 13 - 54

SILVER CREEK (5-10) - (g)Durham 20, (f)Davidson 10, (f)Bauer 10, (g)Barnett 7, Howell 6, Taylor 4, Garr 4, (c)Steele 0, DeHate 0, Reed 0.

MADISON (7-7) - (f)Wattenbarger 24, (g)Macon 14, (g)Huffman 9, (f)Thurston 5, (c)Woolard 2, King 0, Sauley 0.

3-Point Goals - Silver Creek 7 (Durham 3, Howell 2, Davidson 1, Bauer 1), Madison 7 (Wattenbarger 4, Macon 2, Thurston 1). Rebounds - Silver Creek 24 (Taylor 5), Madison 24 (Macon 5, Woolard 5). Assists - Silver Creek 8 (Davidson 3), Madison 16 (Macon 8). Turnovers - Silver Creek 8, Madison 12. Total Fouls - Silver Creek 14, Madison 18. Free Throws - Silver Creek 16-21, Madison 7-11. Fouled Out - None. Next Game - Silver Creek hosts Salem Friday. Madison visits North Harison tonight.