LONG REACH: Madison’s Scott King (33) reaches for a rebound in front of Columbus North’s Josh Speidel (32) during Friday’s game at Salm Gymnasium. The Cubs had only eight rebounds against the much taller Class 4A No. 5 Bull Dogs and lost 88-57. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
LONG REACH: Madison’s Scott King (33) reaches for a rebound in front of Columbus North’s Josh Speidel (32) during Friday’s game at Salm Gymnasium. The Cubs had only eight rebounds against the much taller Class 4A No. 5 Bull Dogs and lost 88-57. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Madison hung with Columbus North for a quarter and a half, but the Bull Dogs' combination of size and shooting was too much to overcome as the Cubs fell 88-57 Friday at home.

North, ranked fifth in the Associated Press Class 4A poll and seventh in the all-classes coaches poll, trotted out a roster with nine players at least 6-foot-4 including a trio of frontcourters who went 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8, 6-foot-8.

On top of that size was the dead-eye shooting. Six different players combined to go 12-for-17 from 3-point range, including three from 6-foot-8 junior Elliott Welmer.

All of those weapons were simply too much for the smaller Cubs although Madison played well enough to beat most teams. Madison trailed only 31-29 midway through the second quarter before the Bull Dogs took control and ran away to the win.

"Tall and talented. They are one of the best teams in the south. Right now, they might be the best team south of I-465," Madison coach Pat King said. "They beat Jeffersonville, they're now 13-1 and they're clicking on all cylinders."

Madison (6-6), which lost for just the second time since mid-December, matched North basket-for-basket through a frantic first quarter of the game.

While the Bull Dogs scored seemingly at will by either throwing over the top of the Madison defense into the post or shooting over it with 3-pointers, the Cubs were forced to get more creative to stay in the game.

Sophomores Nick Macon and Willie Huffman used their speed to slice through defenders to the basket, junior Matt Woolard used his short jumper with efficiency and junior Carson Wattenbarger continued his recent torrid streak with fadeaways and one nifty reverse layup in traffic.

North had several chances to pull away early but Madison reeled them in each time. After the Bull Dogs' Sawyer Glick hit a layup to put his team up 22-16 late in the first, Huffman and Macon answered with drives to the basket to pull the Cubs within two at the break.

Huffman even had a chance to put Madison ahead when his halfcourt heave at the buzzer banged off the back of the rim.

Welmer opened the second with a 3-pointer for North and the Bull Dogs went ahead 29-22 on back-to-back baskets by Evan Henry and Tori Jackson.

Madison stayed close and after falling behind 31-25, the Cubs made one final run. A Wattenbarger runner and two free throws by Ryan Thurston made it a two-point game at 31-29 with 3:06 left in the second.

It proved to be the Cubs' last gasp. North closed the first half on an 11-0 run, aided heavily by three Madison misses at the free-throw line on the front end of bonus opportunities. In the span of three minutes, the Bull Dogs pushed their lead out to 42-29 at intermission.

"The first 10, 12 minutes, it was a good game," King said. "I think they just wore us down. It's hard to practice against 6-8 people. But we played well. People see that it was a 30-point game and they're going to say, 'oh my,' but that's just the way it was. We played hard. If we hadn't played hard, it would have been much worse."

The lead never got under 13 again and North slowly pulled away. The Bull Dogs led 65-46 after three and 78-49 with 3:48 left in the game. The 31-point final margin was the largest of the game.

"They went to that 1-3-1 at the end to keep us from holding the ball and that's just good coaching.," King said. "I looked up with three minutes to go and they had 80 and I told the guys that they were going to try to score a hundred on them, we can't let that happen. We needed to slow it down and we did a good job of that."

Wattenbarger, who has averaged nearly 17 points a game over the past four games, led Madison with 16 points while Woolard scored 14 and Macon had nine.

King has been pleased with Wattenbarger's development and feels like when leading scorer Landon Perry returns from a knee injury, the Cubs could be a tough team to handle.

"(Wattenbarger) is really helping us a lot and his name keeps moving up on people's scouting reports and that's a good thing," King said. "And now when Landon returns in a few weeks we're going to have another weapon. We'll just ease him back in there and hopefully the month of February will be good for us."

North had five different players reach double figures led by Henry and Jackson who scored 20 points each. Josh Speidel, Paul Salee and Clint Cunningham scored 10 each.

Madison, which had won four out of five games before Friday, will try to return to its winning ways when it travels to Floyd Central tonight.

"We're not in any position where we can look too far ahead but hopefully we can keep this roll we've been on going," King said. "We have Floyd tomorrow and Silver Creek, North Harrison and Seymour coming up. Each will be a challenge but hopefully we can head into February playing well."


Friday's Boys Game

at Madison


NORTH 22 20 23 23 - 88

MADISON 20 9 17 11 - 57

NORTH (13-1) - (g)Henry 20, (c)Jackson 20, (f)Speidel 10, Salee 10, Cunningham 10, (f)Welmer 9, (g)Glick 7, Oren 2, Larson 0, Hilt 0, Francoeur 0.

MADISON (6-6) - (f)Wattenbarger 16, (c)Woolard 14, (g)Macon 9, (g)Huffman 8, (f)Thurston 6, King 4, Sauley 0, Vaughn 0, Tucker 0.

3-Point Goals - North 12 (Henry 3, Welmer 3, Salee 2, Cunningham 2, Glick 1, Jackson 1), Madison 3 (Macon 1, Woolard 1, Thurston 1). Turnovers - North 12, Madison 12. Total Fouls - North 16, Madison 15. Free Throws - North 2-7, Madison 10-17. Fouled Out - None. Next Game - North travels to Perry Meridian tonight. Madison travels to Floyd Central tonight.