WHITE CASTLE — White Castle High used a first-quarter blitz to set the tone against Madison Prep. Then the Bulldogs never let the Chargers find a comfort zone in their Class 1A regional-round playoff game Monday night.
Sixth-seeded WCHS forced eight turnovers in the game’s first four minutes, and went on to rout No. 11 Madison Prep 55-28.
White Castle (21-11) built an 18-3 cushion after one quarter. Madison Prep (26-8) was never able to get the lead under 10 points the rest of the game.
Bulldogs guards Blessing Franklin and Shylar O’Bear were unstoppable on both ends of the floor.
Franklin had 19 points including four 3-pointers, and O’Bear slashed her way to 16.
“It was huge,” White Castle coach Tammy Pierce said of the first-quarter run. “We wanted to make a statement from the opening tip. Once we get ahead and can implement our defense, it’s tough. We wanted to make them come from behind.”
Madison Prep was led by Sherry Porter and Kennedy Moore, who scored nine points apiece.
But the Chargers had 27 turnovers and failed to capitalize on chances at the free-throw line.
MPA made 8 of 28 free throws for the game while WCHS was 15 of 20.
“We never established an offensive rhythm from start to finish, and that was unusual,” said MPA coach Dwayne Hayes, who called the performance one of the Chargers’ worst of the year.
“When our better players play hard, the other kids feed off of them. Tonight it wasn’t enough.”
The win moves White Castle into quarterfinal play where it awaits the winner between Grand Lake and District 8-1A rival West St. John. The Bulldogs split a pair of regular season games with WSJ.
Against MPA, White Castle played with a chip on its shoulder, and wasted no time asserting itself.
“There were things said from game to game,” Pierce said. “Things like, ‘We don’t know how to finish. We have one good game and then come back sluggish.’ Now we’ve put together two games in a row, and I only see us getting better.”
The Bulldogs made 4 of 6 from the field in the game‘s first four minutes. Madison Prep had eight turnovers, and got off only two shots as it trailed 9-1. Four points from O’Bear and a 3-pointer by Franklin made it 18-3 heading to the second quarter.
The Bulldogs cooled off in the second quarter, but made 6 of 8 free throws to take a 26-10 lead at halftime.
The lead grew to 39-16 late in the third quarter as MPA continued to struggle with the White Castle defense. The Bulldogs’ largest lead came at 52-22 with 2:40 left to play.
“We got a scouting report, and we followed it to a tee,” Pierce said. “The girls did everything we wanted, and played extra hard. We pulled together as a team.”