Madison’s Harper Watson (right, 12) launches a shot over Salem’s Olivia Weber during Saturday’s game. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Madison’s Harper Watson (right, 12) launches a shot over Salem’s Olivia Weber during Saturday’s game. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Inconsistency has plagued Madison’s girls basketball all season and nowhere more evident than on Saturday.

Madison outscored Class 3A No. 2 Salem by seven over the first, second and fourth quarters, but a disastrous third quarter proved to be the difference as the Lions walked away with a 68-59 win at Salm Gym.

The Cubs (3-2) committed eight turnovers in the decisive third and were outscored 21-4 over that stretch. For Madison coach Sonja Bowyer, the game was both a sign of how far her team has come, and how far it still has to go.

“As I told them, three of the four quarters we proved that we can play with, if not better, than the second team in the state,” Bowyer said. “They proved how good they can be and that’s a good thing. But we still have to make up for those mental errors.”

After a back-and-forth first quarter that saw Salem take a 15-13 lead after eight minutes, Madison dominated the second, using a patient approach on offense and an aggressive defense to eventually build a seven-point lead and take a 32-26 lead into halftime.

But all of that momentum was squandered in the third quarter. Rushing on offense led to unforced turnovers and over-aggressiveness on defense allowed Salem shooters wide-open shots from the outside.

The result was a 21-4 rout by the Lions who hit four 3-pointers in the quarter and seemingly turned every Madison miscue into points.

Salem (8-0) took a 47-36 lead into the fourth period and led by as many as 14 (57-43) with 4:03 to play when the Cubs began chipping away to get within one basket of making the game interesting in the end.

Jade Nutley started the comeback with a basket and Lundun Perry and Daesja Jay each drilled 3-pointers as the Cubs pulled to within nine. A turnover led to a Taylor Lynch basket and Madison cut the lead to 60-53 with 1:39 to go.

Salem’s Hope Tomlinson aided Madison’s comeback by hitting just one of two free throws on the other end, but the Cubs once again turned the ball over and another free throw by Callie Backherms pushed the lead to nine.

Another Madison turnover and two free throw by Karly Sweeney with 52 seconds to go all but ended the comeback.

“(Salem) pressed us nearly the entire time and we broke it the entire game, other than the third quarter,” Bowyer said. “Hat’s off to them, they’re a great team. They’ve got good shooters, good drivers, good guards and they know how to play the game. We knew what kind of team we were going up against, but we also showed what kind of team that we can be. We get four quarters together, it’s a ballgame.”

Nutley, the Cubs’ 6-foot-1 junior all-star candidate, faced double teams all night but still managed to scored 17 points and pull down 12 rebounds while dishing out four assists. Perry had 15 points while Jay came off the bench to score 11.

Salem put five players in double figures with Tomlinson’s 15 points leading the way. Sweeney scored 14 points, Backherms had 13 and Natalie Noel and Abigail Ratts had 11 points each for the Lions, who then moved up to No. 1 in the ICGSA Poll issued Sunday night.

Both teams shot similar percentages from the floor with Salem hitting 45% (20-of-44) and Madison 41% (20-of-49) and each committed 19 turnovers. The Lions’ seven 3-pointers — to just three by the Cubs — and a 21-16 advantage in free throws were the difference.

Madison’s next game is the annual Turkey Shootout on Wednesday against rival Southwestern. The Rebels come into the game red-hot, having won five in a row.

Rebels win 5th-straight

Southwestern ran its win streak to five games with a 52-41 win at South Dearborn in girls basketball on Saturday.

The Rebels, who haven’t lost since their season-opener, led just 26-24 at halftime, but blew open the game with a 14-4 third-quarter run. Southwestern then held on from there.

Ellie Foley, Bella Marcum and Isabel Brooks each scored 11 points to lead Southwestern while Ashton Goode scored 10.

Southwestern, now 5-1 on the season, is off to its best start since the 2011-12 campaign. The Rebels host Madison in the annual Turkey Shootout on Wednesday.

Pacers score two wins

Switzerland County girls basketball picked up a pair of wins over the weekend.

The Pacers traveled to Rising Sun on Friday and scored a 56-22 non-conference win. Switzerland then knocked off Franklin County 51-41 at home on Saturday.

Josie Meyer scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Pacers’ win over Rising Sun. Kyah Chase added a career-high of her own with 14 points, eight rebounds and four steals and Jessie Duvall had nine points and six rebounds. Maddie Duvall and Jaden Harrell each added seven points and Keirstan Oeffinger had three points. Harrell also had 12 rebounds.

Senior Aleiah Thomas returned from injury to score 11 points and grab six rebounds in the Pacers’ win over Franklin County. Jessie Duvall had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists, Chase had eight points and six rebounds, Maddie Duvall had seven points and five rebounds, Meyer had six points, Oeffinger scored five and Harrell had four points and five rebounds.

Switzerland, now 4-1 on the season, hosts sectional foe North Decatur on Wednesday.

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Saturday's Girls Game

3A No. 2 SALEM 68, MADISON 59



SALEM 15 11 21 21 — 68

MADISON 13 19 4 23 — 59



SALEM (8-0) — H. Tomlinson 15, Sweeney 14, Backherms 13, Noel 11, Ratts 11, Nice 2, Weber 2, M. Tomlinson 0.

MADISON (3-2) — Nutley 17, Perry 15, Jay 11, Lynch 8, Young 5, Dyer 2, Eades 1, Watson 0.



3-Point Goals — Salem 7 (Backherms 3, Sweeney 2, Noel 1, H. Tomlinson 1), Madison 3 (Jay 2, Perry 1). Rebounds — Salem 32 (Nice 10), Madison 26 (Nutley 12). Assists — Salem 15 (Sweeney 4), Madison 11 (Nutley 4). Turnovers — Salem 19, Madison 19. Total Fouls — Salem 18, Madison 24. Free Throws — Salem 21-32, Madison 16-21. Fouled Out — Salem: H. Tomlinson. Madison: Perry, Young.