The slow start by Madison High School’s boys basketball team Tuesday night may have been surprising. But what came next was stunning.
The Mohawks responded to a 20-9 deficit by going on a 31-1 run — that’s right, 31-1 — and thumped visiting Carlisle 60-41 for their ninth straight victory.
“Wow … I had no idea it was that long,” Madison coach Jeff Smith said of the decisive surge. “I watched us get down and I’m thinking, ‘We are going to lose the league tonight.’ But we showed great resilience.”
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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Valley View 40, Edgewood 34
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The Indians topped the Mohawks in overtime last month, but that seems like a long time ago now. Madison has been playing with junior center and Valley View transfer Levi McMonigle since Game 12, and Smith’s crew is 5-0 since he became eligible.
The Mohawks are 13-3 overall and 7-1 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division. Preble Shawnee (10-3, 6-1) routed Dixie 73-40 on Tuesday to remain a half game out of first place.
“We’re like the Dow Jones. We keep trending up,” Smith said. “But the cake’s not done. We’ve got baking to do.”
Mason Whiteman and Cameron Morgan both scored 12 points, while Matt Gomia and McMonigle each had 10, as Madison made nine 3-pointers and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Smith called a timeout with 7:00 left in the second period and the Mohawks trailing 19-9.
“I just said, ‘Guys, we are not playing Mohawk defense,’ ” Smith said. “My thought was, ‘Who are these guys? We are not defending.’ But our bench gave us a lift. Jake Munafo and Tristan Sipple generated a buzz defensively that we were lacking. Then I think everybody kind of got going.”
Carlisle got a Justin Flor free throw 25 seconds after that timeout to make it 20-9. Just over 10 minutes later, the visitors were down 40-21.
“There’s not much to think about,” Whiteman said of trailing by 11. “You’ve just got to keep working, keep grinding and rely on your teammates.”
Madison hit five treys in the second quarter, including three straight in a span of 89 seconds. Flor, who led the Indians with 19 points and is the SWBL’s top scorer, watched most of the period with two fouls.
Morgan’s 3-pointer in the final seconds sent the Mohawks into the break with a 30-21 lead. Madison then ran off the first 10 points of the third quarter to blow the game open.
“I really feel the first part of the third quarter was the difference because we were still in it at halftime,” Carlisle coach Don Ridinger said. “We struggled getting into anything, and they started really shooting the ball well and picked up their intensity.
“We play really well at times, and there’s times where we sort of lose our identity or our focus. We’ve won some really good games this year. We’ve just had these mental lapses that have really hurt us in a lot of the games we’ve lost.”
Flor grabbed eight rebounds and Johnathan Shepherd added 8 points for the Indians (6-9, 3-4). They’ve lost six of their last eight games.
Grant Whisman totaled 7 points, eight boards and five assists for Madison. McMonigle chipped in eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
Whiteman, a junior point guard, made the first double-digit offensive showing of his varsity career.
“He’s our playmaker, and when we get offense from him, that’s just icing on the cake,” Smith said. “He’s worked on his shot a lot in practice, and tonight you could tell he felt it pretty good. That just makes us a little harder to guard.”
Whiteman added six assists, five steals and four rebounds. A quarterback/cornerback for the Mohawks football team, he suffered a dislocated thumb on his right (shooting/throwing) hand in the Division V state semifinal against Wheelersburg.
“It’s very close to 100 percent. It’s a long process, though,” Whiteman said. “I’d say my role really is to distribute the ball to the other players, but tonight I was just hitting, so the guys kept getting me the ball.”
The Mohawks will be at Dixie on Friday, while Carlisle hosts Milton-Union. Five of Madison’s last six games are on the road, including its showdown with Preble Shawnee on Feb. 9.
CARLISLE (6-9, 3-4 SWBL Buckeye): Jake Moore 1 0 2, Cash Ridinger 3 0 7, Justin Flor 6 3 19, Johnathan Shepherd 3 0 8, Nolan Burney 2 1 5. Totals: 15-4-41
MADISON (13-3, 7-1 SWBL Buckeye): Mason Whiteman 5 0 12, Cameron Morgan 4 0 12, Matt Gomia 3 2 10, Grant Whisman 2 3 7, Levi McMonigle 2 6 10, Tristan Sipple 2 0 4, Ryan Duritsch 0 2 2, Jake Munafo 1 0 3. Totals: 19-13-60
3-pointers: C 7 (Flor 4, Shepherd 2, Ridinger), M 9 (Morgan 4, Whiteman 2, Gomia 2, Munafo)