Girls basketball: Madison advances in Division III tourney

COVINGTON — Kylie Wells scored a game-high 19 points and Emily Webb had 10 to lead No. 9 seeded Madison to a 45-37 Division III sectional victory over No. 6 Milton-Union on Wednesday night at Covington.

“Before the game, we were a little nervous,” Wells said. “But I think we all worked together really well. Our offense started working, and we started to move the ball quicker.”

The Mohawks (18-6) have won four in a row and move on to face No. 3 Alter on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. at Covington. Madison hasn’t hit the 18-win mark in a season since going 24-3 and reaching the regional finals in 2012-2013.

Madison led 14-13 at the half and 29-21 after the third quarter before firing 10 of 13 at the free throw line to close it out in the fourth.

“I feel like in the second half we settled down a little bit,” Webb said. “We realized it’s just a game. It’s just another game. It’s an important game — it’s the most important game of the year thus far — but it’s just another basketball game. We’ve got to play like it’s just another basketball game.”

Milton-Union (18-6) was led by Kate Copp (13) and Ava Berberich (12) on offense.

Madison’s focus on holding Milton-Union leading scorer and junior Jenna Brumbaugh at bay worked — thanks to the defensive efforts of Malerie Bobbitt and Ally Crim. Brumbaugh, who averaged a Three Rivers Conference-best 17.6 points a game, made only four free throws.

“We have people step up each week,” Madison coach Tommy McGuire said. “… Malerie and Ally focused on defense and kept Brumbaugh out of it. They executed our game plan perfectly tonight.

“I’ve been trying to preach that for four years,” McGuire said of his players’ gritty defensive performance. “I call those winning plays. When you’re diving on the floor and you’re trying to poke the ball loose or if the ball comes off somebody’s hand, a rebound — we’ve got people flying for the ball.

“That’s what Madison girls basketball is. We’re a blue-collar program and a blue-collar community. We want to represent our community, and that’s how the girls have been playing. I love that, and the girls love that. Pain is temporary, but glory lasts forever.”

Franklin 56, Clinton Massie 39: Kensie Black had 24 points and Franklin outscored Clinton Massie in the fourth quarter 21-2 to pull away with a Division II sectional victory on Wednesday night.

Olivia Truesdell (10) and Addie Berry (8) also chipped in offensively for the Wildcats (9-14), who have won four out of their last five and face Purcell Marian on Monday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. at Loveland.

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