After allowing 65 plus points in two straight games Madison’s defense clamped down last week to take out Hillcrest and Idaho Falls.
The Cats beat Hillcrest 67-47 on Thursday at home.
Madison started the game on a 9-0 run and, despite a Hillcrest mid-quarter timeout, won the first quarter 21-7.
Madison extended their lead to 17 by the end of the first half then stretched it out to 20 by the end of the game.
Madison’s defensive intensity took the Knights by surprise.
“The coach from Hillcrest was like, ‘I did not expect your kids to play like this tonight,’” said Madison head coach Travis Schwab.
Tyson Lerwill stood out on the Madison defense taking four charges.
Taden King led the Bobcats with 17 points, Dawson Wills scored 13 points and three players scored eight points.
After losing 61-57 to Idaho Falls earlier in the season, Madison took it to the Tigers winning 68-55 Saturday.
“Our kids came and just got after it tonight,” Schwab said. We just came out and got after them defensively.”
Madison led 23-11 after the first quarter IF made a run but Madison still led 36-28 at halftime.
It was a third quarter lull that lost Madison their first game to Idaho Falls after leading at halftime and Schwab and his coaching staff didn’t want that to happen again so they talked to their team about it at halftime.
Madison outscored the Tigers by six in the third than mostly maintained that lead through the fourth quarter to win by 13.
Carson Downey held IF’s Keynion Clark to 12 poins after the Tiger star scored 30 on the Bobcats earlier this year.
“We decided to switch (our defensive assignments) up and put Cars on him tonight and he only had 12 tonight and he’s a heck of a player,” Schwab said. “He’s a nice nice player.”
Taden King led the Bobcats with 24 points, Dawson Wills scored 15 points and Mark Williams scored 12 points.
Schwab believes added defensive intensity what has helped his team improve defensively after a couple of tough games on that end of the court.
“I think we just took a little bit to come off of the Christmas break,” Schwab said. “Maybe too much Christmas fudge maybe too much eggnog. I don’t know. We talked to them about that because in our first to games after the Christmas break we gave up 65 and 69 so we told our boys, ‘hey, we’re not going to win a lot of games giving up high 60’s. We told them we have to stay under the 50 mark. Even tonight even though we gave up 55, I’m still proud of them. IF’s a very good team. They had won seven in a row, they were playing at home, they had beat us last time and they’re getting votes for a top 5 4A for team in the state. I was really happy for our kids and loved the defensive tenacity.”
Schwab said his team will likely go as their defense goes.
“If we can just become a little more consistent on the defensive side of the ball, we’re going to be pretty tough down the road,” Schwab said.
Madison’s next game is against Highland in Pocatello Friday.
“Highland’s always tough at Highland,” Schwab said. “Throw out the records and everything like that. They are tough at Highland. Highland is a very difficult place to win and we’ll need to be ready and sharp defensively and be able to execute because they’re really physical.”