Coming into Tuesday night’s rematch against McDonogh 35, Madison Prep knew defending Roneagles guard Dejon Jarreau would be a tough task.
But the Chargers (21-4) thought handling its big men down low would be an even tougher task for McDonogh 35.
Madison Prep utilized its size advantage to cruise to a 71-53 win in a nondistrict game Wednesday night, handing McDonogh 35 its first loss in its new gym.
“Our coach told us we had the advantage down low, so we just wanted to force the ball into the post,” said Chargers forward Will Lloyd, who finished with a team-high 21 points and five rebounds.
“I just wanted come out and play hard, and I just thank God for allowing me to have a good game.”
Tuesday marked the second time Madison Prep, Class 2A’s No. 1 ranked team in the latest LHSAA power rankings, defeated the Roneagles (14-7) in the past two weeks.
After defeating McDonogh (35) 75-59 at home Jan. 15, Chargers coach Jeff Jones said he was proud of his team for beating the No. 2-ranked team in Class 4A for the second time in two weeks.
Along with Lloyd, Josh LeBlanc pounded the ball in the lane with 11 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
“They are a really good team. We are just happy to come in here and leave with a victory,” Jones said. “We knew after we beat them in our place a few weeks ago they would want this one bad tonight, but our guys did a good job of controlling the pace and responding whenever they made a run.”
Madison Prep grabbed control of Wednesday’s game early with its size on the inside and swarming defense, snatching a 21-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
After being held to two points in the first quarter, McDonogh 35 guard Dejon Jarreau started calling his number more often and scored a quick seven points to begin the second, but the Chargers defense started swarming the Roneagles star and his teammates struggled to pick up the slack.
Madison Prep forced McDonogh 35 into 11 first-half turnovers, which helped them take a 38-30 lead going into halftime.
Jarreau, a University of Massachusetts signee finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocks.
“We just couldn’t score in the end, and that was kind of indicative of the whole game,” McDonogh 35 coach Kevin Sanders said. “We couldn’t make a sustained run or be consistent in what we were doing tonight, which had a lot to do with their defense.”
While McDonogh 35 remained within arms reach for most of the second half, Madison Prep never allowed its lead to shrink any lower than eight points in the second half.
After a Jarreau layup cut the Chargers’ lead to 58-50 midway through the fourth quarter, Madison Prep ended the game on 13-3 run to extend its lead and take away any chance of a comeback.
After starting the season 13-3, Wednesday’s loss marked the Roneagles third loss in the past four games.
“With the schedule we play, you can’t win them all,” Sanders said. “I’d rather lose now right before district, rather than when it counts in the playoffs.”