Madison Boys Basketball Ousted from MCT
Saturday, January 26, 2013 • 10:38pm
SUCCASUNNA, NJ - With 6:06 left in the third quarter, following a 7-2 spurt to start the second half, the Madison boys basketball team was down by just three points on the road at 14th seeded Roxbury High School in Succasunna, and very much alive to advance out of the Morris County Tournament preliminary round. But the 19th seeded Dodgers scored just seven more points the rest of the way, and Roxbury rolled to a 41-25 victory, on Saturday afternoon.
A three pointer by Madison captain Sean Haughey made the score 21-18, in favor of the home Gaels very early in the third. But after the Dodgers sank their first three shots from the field in the third, they went on to miss 11 of their next 13 shots from the floor and turned the ball over eight times. Roxbury made only 8-of-25 during that same stretch, but because of offensive rebounds coupled with Madison turnovers, the Gaels simply possessed the ball more.
"I thought that we weren't ready to play against that style of defense. We prepared for it in practice, but still Roxbury did a better job of executing what their game plan was than we did," Madison head coach Mike Radzieski said. "The things that we struggle with were very evident in this game. Like running our offense, making wise decisions, knowing your rolls, and we're going to continue to get better."
Perhaps the knockout blow came late in the third, with Madison still trying to stay in the game. A jumper by Devin Koep, brought the Dodgers within six, with just over two minutes to play in the period. However, the next one minute stretch took Madison out of the game. Gael point guard Ryan Kelley followed Koep's jumper with a pull-up of his own to put Madison down eight. He stole the ball on the ensuing possession, and was fouled while driving to the basket for a layup. It was called an intentional foul, meaning he got two shots, and Roxbury got the ball back. He sank both free throws, then nailed a three-pointer in the next possession, putting Roxbury up, 33-20.
Madison never recovered from that Roxbury run, as they scored only five points in the fourth quarter, and were unable to make the game close again.
"I felt like a lot of guys were falling apart at that point," Radzieski said. "Just making stupid plays. It's immaturity, and they don't understand that yet. [Haughey] is the only one who played varsity with us last year. Playing on JV is a good experience, but varsity is completely different."
The Dodgers had some trouble getting into an offensive flow right from the opening tap. A free throw by Haughey put them up 1-0, briefly, but Roxbury responded with a 9-0 run. Madison got a basket from Gavin Wallace later in the quarter and two additional free throws from Haughey early in the second to get within two of Roxbury. But once again, the Gaels responded with a run of their own, closing the half on a 10-4 run, going into the break ahead, 19-11.
Defensively, Madison played pretty well in the zone. Most of Roxbury's points came in transition plays, or on second chance points. Overall, the Dodgers held Roxbury to 43.5 percent from the floor.
"I thought we executed our game plan on that," Radzieski said. "We've been getting better with our zone and we decided to go with that, because we just beat Morristown-Beard using that same philosophy. We know that they have a lot of shooters, Mo-Beard had a lot of shooters, and we locked up Mo-Beard's shooters. They didn't kill us from outside today, it was just that they were very patient in their offense."
Haughey led all Dodgers with 12 points, while Koep added six for Madison. Kelley led all players with 15 points for Roxbury. Roxbury, which improved to 6-9 moves on to play third seeded Morristown in the tourney. Madison, with dropped to 5-10, is in action again on Monday at home against Chatham.