REXBURG- The top seeded Madison Bobcats built a double digit lead and then held off a hard charging Shelley Russet squad 70-64 during semi-final action at Madison High School on Thursday evening.
Early on it looked as if the entire game was going to be a nip-tuck affair as the squads traded blows during a highly entertaining first quarter.
Back-to-back treys by T.J. Stommell gave the Russets their only lead of the night at 1:55 of the first quarter but w combination of turnovers and cold shooting sent the Bobcats on a 13-0 run over the next six and a half minutes of game time, leading to a 25-13 advantage.
"In a league and an environment that is this tough to play in you absolutely have to value every possession," Shelley head coach Dave Hadley said. "We took too many I'll advised shots. Set poor screens which led to more difficult shots than we would like to get and then on the defensive end we gave up too many offensive rebounds."
Despite the Russets struggles, Shelley was able to mount a late half rally, keyed by treys from McKay Cannon and Christian Cather and heading to the locker room Shelley trailed by just 7 at 30-23.
Momentum garnered from that late push fizzled to start the third however as Madison sprinted to a fifteen point advantage before many fans had returned to their seats from the concession stand.
Again Shelley was asked to mount a charge, no small feat in Madison's gym but they did, eventually pulling to 68-64 with just under thirty seconds to play.
That was as close as they could get however as Madison connected on a pair of free throws to seal the win.
"As a coach you wonder why you have to get down by fifteen before you decide to start to play," Coach Hadley said. "From here on out we will have to sell out on every possession. To be a champion you have to do the little things and we will have to do all the little things from here on out if we want to get where we want to be."
Shelley will host Blackfoot on Saturday night at 7:00 in a loser out affair.
MADISON 70, SHELLEY 64
SHELLEY 13 10 9 32 - 64
MADISON 16 14 18 22 - 70
Shelley (64) - T.J. Stommel 9, Chad Leckington 7, Will Higham 3, Christian Cather 7, Kaden Michaelson 13, McKay Cannon 19, Christian Mendoza 6. FG: 20. FT: 16/23. 3-pointers (Stommel 3, Leckington, Cather 2, Cannon 2). Fouls: 16. Fouled out: (none).
Madison (70) - Kash Merrill 15, Spencer Williams 13, Brady Layton 2, Lyle Sutton 4, Ryker Pierce 19, Jakob Wilson 17. FG: 25. FT: 18/26. 3-pointers (Merrill 2). Fouls: 17. Fouled out: (none).