Madison Academy stuns Wildcats

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 6, 2006

Sumter County entered their 3A state championship game with a 27-1 record, but it’s safe to say the Wildcats had yet to see a shooting performance like Madison Academy’s in any of those 28 games.

The No. 2 Mustangs shot a blistering 57 percent from three-point range and ran away from the two-time defending champions in the middle two periods, opening up a 45-25 third quarter lead on their way to a 73-48 victory.

After the top-ranked Wildcats trailed 32-20 at the half, baskets by Sumter’s Patrick Delaine and Cameron Ezell and a free throw by Cordarro Law cut the lead to nine, 34-25. But the Wildcats would come no closer as the Mustangs scored the game’s next 11 points to take a commanding 20-point lead with 3:16 to play in the third quarter.

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A long three by Foster with 1:51 left in the period got the Wildcats within 47-32, but it was all Mustangs from there. Tyler Hanback’s three-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer capped a 7-0 run that took Madison into the fourth quarter with an insurmountable 54-32 lead. The Mustangs outscored Sumter County by a combined 44-22 in the second and third periods.

The Wildcats applied full-court pressure and launched a number of three-pointers in their attempt to get back into the game, but Madison cruised to the 25-point win and the 3A title.

Foster led the Wildcat effort with 22 points. Delaine joined him in double figures with 11, followed by Law and Ezell with 5 each, Cordarrin Wilson with 3, and Cornelius Ward with 2.

Law scored for Sumter off the opening tip for a 2-0 Wildcat lead only seven seconds in, but both teams came out of the gates tight. Madison was able to feed 6-11 sophomore center Bawa Muniru several times, but over the first four minutes one free throw by the Mustang big man and a Foster basket were the game’s only offense.

Both teams settled down, however, and went to the second quarter tied at 10. Madison scored the first 5 points of the period, but Foster answered with a three-point play at the 5:51 mark to narrow the gap back to 15-13. Ward had a chance to tie the game at 17 at the line, but missed the front end of a one-and-one and Madison responded immediately with eight straight points (six on a pair of threes) by Kerron Johnson, taking a 25-15 lead with 2:15 to play in the half.

A third consecutive Mustang three-pointer followed to stretch the lead to 13, and despite a Delaine basket the run continued to 15-2 and the lead to 32-17 before a Foster triple at the halftime buzzer sent the Wildcats into the locker room down by 12. The senior AHSAA All-Star finished the first half with 12 points and Delaine added 6, but the remaining Wildcats scored only the two points from Law’s opening basket and finished the half on shooting streaks of 0-for-9 from the field and 0-for-3 from the line.