Madison Prep used a late second-quarter surge to take control and went on to post a 56-46 win over St. Michael in the season opener for both squads.
Billed as a matchup between two of the state’s top high school prospects, Brandon Sampson of Madison Prep and Jacob Evans of St. Michael, it was Evans who had the better game.
Evans topped St. Michael with 23 points while Sampson was limited to 10. Instead, it was MPA sophomore Josh Anderson who stepped up as the difference-maker scoring a game-high 27.
“Josh has played in a lot of big games, a lot of high-level AAU,” MPA coach Jeff Jones said. “He’s used to playing with older guys, and he was excited about coming out here tonight Some of the older guys came out lackadaisical, but Josh was attacking from the beginning.”
St. Michael led 24-16 with 1:14 left in the first half, but faltered down the stretch. Madison Prep hit six free throws to go with a key steal, and the Chargers tied the score 24-24 at halftime.
After the score was tied 34-34 late in the third quarter, Madison Prep took a five-point lead into the fourth. St. Michael trailed by as many as seven points but cut the lead to four twice.
The last time came with 46 seconds left on Evans’ three-point play. Anderson hit two free throws, and then got a steal and a layup to put the game away.
“We needed to play a slow-paced game because we’re so short-benched,” St. Michael coach Drew Hart said. “The one thing that couldn’t happen did happen. We got into foul trouble.”
St. Michael committed 14 first-half fouls compared to just seven for Madison Prep. The Warriors were already past the double bonus in the final minute when Madison Prep hit six free throws helping tie the score at halftime.
St. Michael broke out to an 11-2 lead, and had the momentum early as it took a 16-11 lead after one quarter. Evans, who was 9 of 16 from the field, led the way with 10 points including two 3-pointers.
Madison Prep made just one of its first eight shots, and went on to shoot 28 percent (7 of 25) for the half. The Chargers got back into game by forcing nine turnovers, and taking advantage of their free throw chances.
Anderson’s drives to the basket also hurt St. Michael.
“We lost momentum in the second quarter when I had to put some kids in that have barely played junior varsity ball,” Hart said. “We knew we would struggle, but then we never got the momentum back.”
Anderson was a big reason the Warriors lost the momentum for good. Jones also credited Marquis Browder’s defensive ball pressure, and Christion Thompson play in the fourth quarter.
Thompson scored eight points. Sampson finished 3 of 11 from the field after fouling out with 3:48 to play.
“We knew St. Michael was a quality team,” Jones said. “We wanted to come over and play them on the road. We wanted to test our team right out of the gate. We definitely got that tonight.”