The sixth-seeded Madison Prep Chargers took a home court advantage, a size advantage and a numbers advantage into their first-round Class 2A girls basketball playoff game on Thursday night.
MPA capitalized on all three against to oust No. 27 French Settlement 62-31. The Chargers broke open a close game in the second quarter.
“I’m so proud of what my girls have done the past two years,” French Settlement coach Daniel Martin said, “but they (Madison Prep) are just so much bigger and so much more athletic than us that we had trouble seeing over their press. We wanted to control tempo, but they did a good job of making us play at their pace.”
The visitors hung tough through the first quarter, slowing down the tempo and trailing only 12-7 at the first quarter break.
The second quarter was a different story.
Madison Prep’s pressure defense produced turnovers and the points came in bunches. Guard Sherry Porter led the attack, scoring 11 points in the quarter, including a couple of baskets on coast to coast drives off turnovers.
The Lions gave up the ball six times in the quarter, including several during Madison Prep’s 13-0 run to end the half with a 34-13 lead.
“We wanted to come out like that from the opening whistle, but it didn’t work out that way,” Madison Prep coach Dwayne Hayes said. “Fortunately, we got it going in the second quarter, so we’ll take that and move on.”
The Chargers came at the Lions in waves, as Hayes substituted freely from the very beginning.
“That’s normal for us,” Hayes said. “I like to get them all in. You never know when you’ll need them.”
Madison Prep (28-4) had only two players in double figures, Porter with 15 and Alexis Augustus with 13, but displayed its depth with nine other players breaking into the scoring column.
“Sherry has been our leading scorer and Alexis has been very consistent,” Hayes said. “All of our players played hard, but I expect more. We had a big height advantage, but we didn’t utilize it like we should. We didn’t finish a lot of times, and we didn’t score as many points inside as I would like.”
After Porter opened the second half with the Chargers’ only 3-pointer of the night, French Settlement (18-13) had its best run and outscored MPA 14-11 in the third quarter.
Ashton Gill had three free throws and a 3-point basket, while Alyssa Wheat and Candace Ellis added three apiece.
Wheat finished with 12 points for the game and Gill with 10.
Madison Prep got its inside game going in the final quarter with Augustus and Dez’Manique Gaines, who had been quiet most of the night, each scored six points.