Zwolle High had history and tradition on its side going into Tuesday night’s Class B quarterfinal basketball game at Madison Prep Academy, but it wasn’t enough.
Madison Prep had Brandon Sampson and Jarell Martin, and that duo led the top-seeded Chargers to a 93-40 rout of No. 8 seed and two-time defending state champion Hawks.
Sampson led four Chargers in double figures with 28 points, while Martin heated up in the second half and tallied 18 as Madison Prep (40-6) into semifinal play for the second straight year. Madison Prep faced No. 4 Castor.
J.D. Montgomery scored 20 for Zwolle (31-12), which fell behind 12-0 early on, and trailed by double digits for most of the game. Zwolle struggled inside against the taller Chargers, and was forced to rely on outside shooting.
“I knew Zwolle would be challenged inside,” MPA coach Jeffery Jones said. “I think our guys did a great job handling their pressure, getting back on defense and making them earn every point.”
For Zwolle, winners of five of the past seven Class B state titles, the loss was its most lopsided in the playoffs. It also underscored a lack of size for a team that graduated all five starters from its 2012 title team.
“We shot way too many 3-pointers, and I think it was due to their size and length,” Zwolle coach Bradley McLaren said. “We’re not big at all, and they’re probably a foot taller at every position.”
Chad Williams, who finished with 15 points, connected on one of his three 3-pointers as Madison Prep took a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game. Sampson hit two free throws, and added a 3-pointer from the top of the key before Robertson replied with a 3-pointer.
Williams added another 3-pointer pushing the lead to 15-3, and the Hawks never got closer than 10 points again. Dedrick Freeman scored two of his 14 points, and Sampson hit a scoop shot in the lane as the Chargers led 21-9 after one quarter. In the second, Madison Prep made its first seven shots from the field, and built a 37-14 lead with three minutes left in the half. Robertson hit another 3-pointer, but Zwolle missed its final seven shots of the half, and trailed 42-17.
“We didn’t compete like we were supposed to, and you can attribute that to (Madison Prep),” said McLaren, who noted it was easy to . “I give them credit. They played their butts off, but knowing they were playing Zwolle, I think that‘s why they played their best game.”
Motivation for Madison Prep was assuredly not a problem playing Zwolle, a school that has won 14 state titles including a run of seven straight in the ‘90s. A third-year school that absorbed an 89-49 first round loss at Zwolle two years ago, Madison Prep saw the game as a measuring stick.
“A win like this is big because their program is established, and we’re still growing,” Jones said. “We lost to them by 40 two years ago. Our kids were definitely motivated to come out and see how much we’ve grown.”
The growth was apparent at the start of the third quarter when Madison Prep made its first 10 shots. A 42-17 halftime lead ballooned to 71-30 after three, and the Chargers were eventually able to rest their starters with three minutes left to play.
“They’re going to be very hard to beat because of their size,” Mclaren said. “I don’t see anyone else in Class B with the size and length to match up with them.”