Stirring comeback powers Mohawks past Carlisle

Madison High School’s girls basketball team had to dig deep to snatch a memorable victory Saturday afternoon.

Really, really deep.

The Mohawks overcame a scoring drought of nearly 13 minutes and a 21-3 deficit to stun visiting Carlisle 29-26, clinching at least a share of the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division championship.

“It’s so hard to be down at the beginning. You just get so low on yourself,” Madison junior guard Katy Canter said. “But when you really want something, you’ll come back and get it. A fire just lit in us, and we went out and got it. We want to be league champs.”

Canter tallied 14 points for the Mohawks, while Kelli Bush collected 13 points and 11 rebounds. That duo combined for all 24 of Madison’s second-half points.

The Indians’ Brittany Isaacs scored in the lane with 5:36 left in the second period, giving CHS that 21-3 advantage (it was 21-5 at halftime).

Carlisle didn’t convert another field goal the rest of the day and got blanked 16-0 in the third quarter. The Indians were 5 of 14 at the free-throw line after intermission and misfired on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game like that,” Mohawks coach Brian McGuire said. “What a great effort in the second half, especially defensively. I always talk to my girls about playing with desperate energy. In the first half, we didn’t have that.

“When we went in the locker room, we really didn’t panic. We wanted to get out and deny everything, make them dribble the ball, be in their face and make sure we were in front of them the whole way down the court. We thought we’d start wearing them down, and we did.”

Indeed, Madison picked up the pace dramatically in the second half. When the score was 21-3, defeat seemed like a certainty.

“A lot of us just thought it was going to be over,” Canter said. “We were like, ‘Oh, one loss against us.’ Then we went into the locker room at halftime and we were like, ‘No, we don’t want that. We don’t want to lose.’ We really picked up the intensity. Our defensive game was crazy.”

MaKenzie Cotton’s eight points paced Carlisle, which fell to 9-4 overall and 3-4 in the SWBL. The Mohawks are 11-4, 9-0, and have won 10 of their last 11 games.

Indians coach Randy Glover said his team just needed one shot to fall in the second half.

“If we have one of those shots go down, I think it relaxes us back to the point where OK, we’re moving again,” Glover said. “There’s a winning tradition here at Madison. They’re used to winning these games, and that helps. We’ve been continuing to try to breed that at Carlisle.

“My girls have fought all season long. I will not argue or be upset with the effort that they’ve given in every ballgame that we’ve played. I love every one of them in there. It’s not that they wanted to end up on the short end of the stick. We just didn’t execute well enough at the end.”

Madison played most of the second half without Ally Hoskins, who went down with an ankle injury at the 5:35 mark in the third quarter. Hoskins and Hunter Whiteman started the game as the Mohawks’ leading scorers with 7.9 averages.

McGuire had special praise for the second-half performances of Canter and Bush.

“Katy’s the one that makes everything go in our offense,” he said. “Our team recognized that we had a little bit of a mismatch inside and really did a great job getting the ball in to Kelli.

“If you’re going to have a team that’s going to win a league championship, you’re going to have games like this. You’ve got to be able to win tough games like this. To be honest, playing Miami Valley and Bethel-Tate and Valley View and Edgewood got us ready to play games in the league.”

Regan Haney and Haley Canter both garnered five rebounds for Madison. Hoskins was limited to two points and three boards.

Kaitlin Taylor had five points and nine caroms for the Indians, who committed 22 turnovers. Kelsey Minton added six points, while Ashley Baker chipped in seven rebounds.

Said Glover, “There’s ups and downs in every season. I think we played our best half in the first half, and I think we played our worst half in the second.”

Carlisle dropped a 28-26 decision to the visiting Mohawks on Dec. 13. The Indians’ four losses have come by a total of 16 points.

“This is the way the SWBL Buckeye Division has gone from Day 1 to today,” Glover said. “There are no easy ones. Madison has been able to end up on the positive end of a lot of tough, battled games.”

Carlisle will travel to Lockland on Tuesday. Madison will host Carroll on Thursday.

Carlisle 17-4-0-5—26

Madison 3-2-16-8—29

CARLISLE (9-4, 3-4): Kaitlin Taylor 2 1 5; Miranda Weist 1 1 3; Kelsey Minton 1 3 6; MaKenzie Cotton 3 0 8; Ashley Baker 1 0 2; Brittany Isaacs 1 0 2. Totals: 9-5-26.

MADISON (11-4, 9-0): Ally Hoskins 1 0 2; Katy Canter 3 7 14; Kelli Bush 4 5 13. Totals: 8-12-29.

3-pters: C 3 (Cotton 2, K. Minton), M 1 (K. Canter)