Nobody was quite sure of the historical data beyond this: It had been a very long time since Carlisle High School’s girls basketball team last defeated Madison.
The Indians ended that drought Saturday afternoon behind the play of senior center Alexis Back, who tallied 10 points and 12 rebounds in a 32-28 triumph.
“The seniors before us — Alexis Murphy and Jess Allen and Ally Campbell — definitely did leave a legacy to beat Madison, and we wanted to give it to them,” Back said. “It’s also a nice senior gift for us.”
Kelsey Minton had eight points, Ashley Baker grabbed 11 boards and Calli Whaley made 3 of 4 foul shots in the last 44.6 seconds for Carlisle, which moved to 9-5 overall and 4-3 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division.
The remarkable thing about the win? A month ago, Madison hammered the Indians 56-19.
“It’s been at least 10 years and probably longer since we beat Madison, so it was pretty emotional for our girls to do that, to understand that,” Carlisle coach Randy Glover said.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get kids motivated to want to work hard. Today, they saw what hard work and a little determination and confidence will do for you.”
The Mohawks lost the hard way. They trailed most of the game, then ran off 11 straight points to grab a 28-25 lead with 3:46 left.
They didn’t score again, slipping to 7-7, 5-2.
“We got the lead late in the game and didn’t have the poise to expand it,” Madison coach John Rossi said. “I’m going to give Randy credit. His kids were prepared and ready to go.
“It’s their Super Bowl. We try to tell our kids every day that we’ve got a big target on our back. We’re extremely young, but we’re 14 games in now. We can’t continue to use that as an excuse.”
Kaitlin Taylor’s two free throws with 2:24 left brought the hosts within 28-27, and Minton followed with a driving layup just over a minute later. Whaley’s three charity tosses completed the scoring.
“Minton drove right down the gut and made the layup, and you could just see it falling apart from there,” Rossi said. “Our defense was not very good today.”
Kelli Bush scored seven points for the Mohawks, who shot 23.1 percent from the field against Carlisle’s zone defense and missed all 13 of their shots beyond the arc.
The Indians shot 26.3 percent from the floor and made 12 of 26 free throws (Madison was 4 of 7 at the line). Carlisle had 24 turnovers.
“If we play together and give everything we have, we know that we can beat anybody,” Back said. “We could’ve given a lot more effort the first time we played Madison. Coach Glover brought that out in us, and we brought it out in each other.”
Said Glover, “Madison is still a staple in our league. John Rossi is working very hard with those girls, and he’s got the teams we want to be like. He’s made us step up our game. That’s why our girls are happy today. That’s why they’re proud.”
Taylor grabbed eight rebounds for Carlisle, which visits Monroe on Tuesday. The Mohawks will host Preble Shawnee on Thursday.