Girls basketball: Wells leads Madison to first-round tourney win

FAIRFIELD — When Kylie Wells is on, so is the Madison High School girls basketball team.

Wells scored a game-high 17 points, Megan Phelps had seven and the No. 6 seeded Mohawks turned in a gritty performance with their 33-23 Division III sectional victory over No. 4 Clark Montessori on Thursday night at Fairfield Arena.

Madison (16-6) has won six in a row and moves on to face No. 5 Mariemont on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Fairfield.

“Kylie Wells. What do you say about Kylie Wells?” Mohawks coach Brian McGuire said of the junior forward who also pulled down eight rebounds. “We tried to keep the ball in her hands there in the second half.”

Not much went on during the early going, though, as both programs struggled to find the rim.

The Mohawks owned just a 4-2 lead after one quarter and took a 10-4 advantage into the locker room.

“We knew they had a good record, so we knew it was going to be a battle the whole way,” Wells said. “But it was a struggle in the beginning to get our shots to fall in a new gym. We ended up getting through and kept pushing and trying different things. We shut them down.”

Madison got some insurance by mounting its largest lead at 26-9 — the score heading into the fourth quarter.

“We just had to keep our composure and stay calm and not freak out and keep turning the ball over,” Wells said.

“I felt like we put in a lot of effort,” Phelps added. “We came here just wanting to win, and we were prepared.”

Senior Ella Campbell had five points and a game-high 10 boards for Madison, which staved off a chippy fourth-quarter showing by Clark Montessori.

“It was a good first win,” McGuire said. “You could tell by the way we played in the first half how the game was going to go. We were nervous. The other team was nervous.”

Clark Montessori fired only 2 of 21 (9.52%) from the floor in the first half, but McGuire said he figured that wasn’t going to last long.

“We beat a really good basketball team,” he said. “That’s a quick, athletic basketball team. They started hitting shots. I knew they would eventually start hitting some shots in the second half.”

The Cougars (18-2) supplied a full-court press during the final two quarters that gave the Mohawks some trouble.

“We were rushing down the floor, and we didn’t have to do that,” McGuire said. “We could have used up some clock. That is what we were trying to do. We’ve just got to get better at that.

“But doggone it, we got a win. Survive and advance. And we survived, and we’re going to advance.”

Sophomore Ava Dubose led Clark Montessori with eight points, while junior Luna Luca had seven.

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