Madison-Grant’s offense had no problem scoring on Friday night against the Blackford Bruins.
In fact, the Argylls recorded over 60 points for the eighth consecutive contest.
But while their offense was effective, their defense gave up a season-high in points, as the Argylls failed to contain Luke Brown and the Bruins’ high-powered attack in a 93-74 defeat.
Blackford shot 62 percent from the field (32-of-51), which included a scorching 14-of-27 from beyond the arc. And while Brown scored 35 points in three-and-a-half quarters, three of Blackford’s other four starters finished in double figures.
“You can’t hang this on our offense. We put up 74 points,” Madison-Grant Head Coach Brian Trout said. “You ought to win putting up 74 points. This goes on the defensive side of the floor.”
For most of the contest, Blackford’s offense was clicking on all cylinders, Conversely, Madison-Grant, though they scored 74 points, had trouble shooting inside the arc, knocking down just 22 of their 46 attempts.
The Argylls recorded a plethora of chances, but they missed far too many easy baskets, and the Bruins made them pay throughout the evening.
“We didn’t finish around the rim really well,” Trout said. “Every time we missed a shot at the rim, they came down and hit a three. They really made us pay for those misses. When you miss shots like that, it’s easy to get out in transition for the other team. That really hurt.”
Madison-Grant held the lead in the game’s early stages. After Blackford scored the first basket, a field goal from Grant Brown and a triple from Kaden Howell put the Argylls up 5-2. Lance Wilson scored six straight points to give Madison-Grant an 11-7 advantage a few minutes later, but after that, the Bruins took control.
Luke Brown scored his first basket on the Bruin’s ensuing possession, and a transition three from Cameron Elam off a Madison-Grant turnover put Blackford ahead for good, as the Bruins closed the opening quarter on a 16-4 run to take a 25-15.
Howell trimmed the Blackford advantage to eight on Madison-Grant’s opening possession of the second quarter, but that was as close as the Argylls would be the rest of the way.
“In the second quarter, we dribbled in place too much and didn’t go anywhere,” Trout said. “Our offense [got] stagnant.”
Blackford did an excellent job of collapsing into the post and jamming the three-point line, making it difficult for the Argylls to establish any kind of offensive consistency.
After doing a nice job of containing Brown in the first eight minutes, the junior star began to take over the game, finishing with nine more points before halftime to put the Bruins up 43-31.
The Bruins continued to score at will in the second half, holding their double-digit advantage until the final buzzer. While the Argylls made their shots as well, they could not put together a large enough run to claw back into the game.
“Against really good offensive basketball teams right now, we struggle to keep guys in front. Mississinewa has done it to us twice, and now Blackford did it to us tonight,” Trout said. “Other teams that we’ve played, we’ve defended pretty well overall, but they are not at the level of where Mississinewa and Blackford are at. That’s the bottom line.”
Along with Brown’s 35 points, Brandon Stroble scored 17, hitting five threes, Elam finished with 12, and Dalton Willmann added 11 in the Bruins’ victory.
Lance Wilson continued to be a bright spot for the Argylls, leading the team with 20 points on 50 percent shooting. It’s clear the junior forward is starting to find his niche out on the court, and his development has given the Argylls another solid scoring option as they prepare for the stretch run.
“He has shot the ball really well the last three weeks,” Trout said. “We even noticed it in practice before we saw it in a game. He’s been able to get into the paint and hit that pull up jumper. That has built his confidence. It makes us a little bit harder to guard.”
Howell finished the game with 16 points, while Grant Brown recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards.