When it comes to the game of basketball, there are some nights where everything goes right. The game-plan is solid, the offense is clicking, and the defense is making stops.
On other nights, everything goes wrong.
For the Alexandria Tigers on Saturday evening in the sectional 39, they could not have asked for a better performance.
And that, in turn, ended the Madison-Grant Argylls’ 2018-2019 season.
Alexandria controlled the game in all facets from the start, building a double-digit lead early and never relinquishing it in a 66-30 triumph over the Argylls, winning their first sectional championship in 20 years in the process.
The Tigers had the game well in hand by the end of the quarter, scoring 14 straight at one point and shooting 8-for-16 from the floor to take a 19-4 lead into the second frame. Madison-Grant, on the other hand, shot just 1-for-9 while turning the ball over four times.
“We just didn’t handle the stage very well,” Madison-Grant Head Coach Brian Trout said. “You could see the nerves. We were dropping passes. A couple of rebounds us we had in our hands, and we just lost [them.] That’s just nerves. Alec came out and punched us in the mouth to start out with and we never recovered. We just never got up off the mat and really challenged them. You just have to give all the credit to them.”
While their offense cooled down in the second quarter, the Tigers’ defense continued to play at a high level, allowing just three Madison-Grant field goals while building a 33-12 halftime lead. Madison-Grant shot just four-for-23 in the opening 16 minutes of game action.
“We just guarded the crap out of them,” Alexandria Head Coach Marty Carroll said. “If they’re going to hit shots, they were going to hit contested shots. We tried to switch on all screens with them. Our two teams are a lot alike in the fact that we play four guards, and so we felt like any of our four kids could guard any of their four kids, and that’s how we approached it.”
The Tigers never let their foot off the gas in the second half, building a 50-17 lead at the end of the third quarter before cruising to the 33-point triumph.
Madison-Grant’s offense never got on track, shooting just 28 percent from the field (12-for-43) and just 12 percent (2-for-15) from the perimeter.
“They missed shots, and that turned into missed shots,” Carroll said. “We were playing relaxed and comfortable, and we hit shots. It was our night.”
Shooting guard Brennan Morehead led the Tigers with 22 points, while center Nick Williams came away with 17 points and seven points. He was all over the floor, scoring points in the paint, as well as from the three-point line.
“He can shoot it,” Carroll said of Williams. “He’s had a rough way to go. I’ve been all over him all year. Tonight, he played really well and gave us what I thought he had given us all year.”
Rylan Metz scored only five points, but recorded 10 rebounds and seven assists as well.
Sophomore Lance Wilson played admirably, leading the Argylls with 10 points on four-for-seven shooting from the field. Issac Cooper finished with five points and seven rebounds, while Wyatt Rudy and Kaden Howell each added four points.
While Alexandria moves on to the regional round, Rudy, Cooper, Dillon Sneed, and Hayden Retherford, and Isaac Cooper each played their final game in an Argyll uniform. Trout thanked them all for their accomplishments and their contributions to the Madison-Grant boys basketball program.
“It goes back into junior high. Those guys: Wyatt, Dillon, Hayden, and Isaac, they’ve been around all that time,” Trout said. “Hayden, Wyatt, and Dillon, they all go out as sectional champions. They were all on the ’17 team. That’s something they get to take with them that’s obviously never going to be taken away from them. Isaac came back this year, and…it was a blessing to have him back in the program for a lot of reasons. He did us a lot of good.”
“It’s never easy taking that uniform off the last time. It’s never easy for coaches telling those guys goodbye. There’s been countless hours, joys, heartaches, all of those kinds of things with all four of those guys. They will be missed greatly.”
The Argylls finish the season with a 13-12 record.