The Madison-Plains girls basketball team showed a lot of the necessary qualities needed for a successful season during a Mid-State League Ohio Division tilt with visiting Bexley on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
The Golden Eagles showed heart, grit, determination, the ability to make shots and a desire to win. However the team is lacking in one key component — size — the visiting Lions exploited that lacking characteristic in a 61-53 triumph over coach Chris Laslo’s bunch.
Whenever Bexley needed a bucket, it went inside and took advantage of a younger, undersized Golden Eagles (0-2) squad that’s still searching for answers in the post.
“We’re trying to figure out who’s going to provide us with that spark inside,” Laslo said. “That’s why you saw us rotating so many people in there, those are key positions that we don’t have locked down yet. We’re trying to find out who wants to be in the four and the five spots.
“That’s going to be the problem down the road if we can’t figure it out, we’ve got to fight through it and be more intense in going at the glass. We can’t have anybody take a play off especially when the shot goes up.”
Bexley built a double-digit first half lead thanks to its play in the post. With bigger players controlling the offensive glass the Lions were able to get two, three and four chances to score routinely in the opening half.
Bexley’s advantage was at 27-18 when the two teams went to the locker room at halftime. Madison-Plains was still in the game thanks to the play of hot-shooting standouts Macy McCollister and Hayley Faulkner.
The Lions lead stood at 31-20 just seconds into the third quarter and the 11-point advantage stayed that way until Kaylin Dill drilled a 3-point basket to trim the deficit to 33-26.
From there a McCollister triple and a pair of free throws brought the team to 36-32. A McCollister steal and layup by Faulkner made it 36-34 and a McKayla Wilson layup tied it at 36-36 with 2:00 to play in the third.
McCollister scored the first basket of the fourth quarter and Madison-Plains High School led 40-38. A three-point make from the wing by Faulkner gave Plains what turned out to be its last lead at 43-42 with 6:20 to go in the game.
Bexley closed the game in a 19-8 run, with many of those points coming from the lane. Bexley grabbed offensive rebounds on five separate free throw misses and converted them into layups in the final eight minutes.
Laslo was encouraged by the effort his players gave, led by McCollister (28 points) and Faulkner (14) who combined to score 42 of the teams 53 points.
“They’re both tremendous players who play with heart, it doesn’t matter what the score is,” Laslo said. “We can be up by 30 or down by 30 and they’re going to give me their all.”
The Golden Eagles (1-0) finally opened up the season and do so in fine fashion by posting a 63-47 triumph at Northeastern on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
Hunter Butin scored a career-high 33 points in what was the first victory for interim coach Nathan Warner.
“It just felt great,” said Warner, who took over the Golden Eagles squad after the death of coach Jeff Spradlin. “The guys were just so excited to go out and play somebody else.
“The biggest thing was these guys played with so much heart and played so hard. We talked about execution and they really came out and played well.”
The Eagles were able to get out and pressure and turn many Northeastern turnovers into easy scores on the other end of the floor.
“We were able to get out and run and have fun,” Warner said. “Hunter had a big night offensively because his teammates were looking for him. We ran the floor well and Hunter had five or six layups himself.
“I’m just so proud of this bunch of guys.”