The Mustangs improved to 11-2 overall on the season with back-to-back decisive wins over Diboll and Caldwell this week. Madisonville traveled to Huntington last night and will have the weekend off to prepare for their District schedule, which begins on Tuesday.
“I believe we’ve played one of the most competitive non-league schedules as any of the five teams in our District,” said Madisonville head coach Chris Reid. “Nearly every team on our schedule will be a potential playoff team in their respective Districts and possibly even compete for District Championships.”
The biggest story of there week came last Tuesday against Diboll, when senior Sam Bennett recorded a career-high 31 points in a 77-52 road victory over the Lumberjacks.
“Sam and I spent a lot of time strengthening his left hand last fall and scoring mid-range jump shots off the dribble,” said Reid. “I truly feel like that has been the biggest difference for him this year.”
This was the first time of Bennett’s career he posted 30 points or more in a single game. But this was no surprise for Reid, who challenged his player to do just that before the season even started.
“Coach told me that I was going to drop 30 this year and he was right,” said Bennett. “It’s good to get started with so much confidence and have that feeling heading into District play.”
The Mustangs stayed hot as their non-District slate winds down with a 64-43 win at home on Friday night. The firepower really began in the second half. Caldwell got off to a hot start in terms of controlling the tempo and limited Madisonville’s amount of shots.
“We got off to a very slow start in the first half,” said Reid. “At half, we talked about speeding up the game and putting up more shots. The boys responded well to the challenge, shots began to fall in the third and we rode the wave from there.”
Moments before the start of the second half, Reid challenged his players to up their score of 28 to 50 by the end of the third quarter. Madisonville reached their goal thanks to a 20-3 run out of the gates.
Tommy Holiday was once again a presence down low for the Mustangs and recorded 5 blocks in the victory.
“Part of what makes this defense effective is even when we press I stay down low, so if you break it you still need to break me,” said Holiday after the game. “We’re ready for District. That’s what we’ve been battling for all year.”
The wait is now over and the Mustangs can turn their attention to Athens on Tuesday night. This will be a road game, but Madisonville will host their following two District opponents. Mexia will come to town on Jan. 19 followed by Fairfield on Jan. 23.