Mustangs storm the court

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campbell.atkins@madisonvillemeteor.com

In their first action of the 2017 season, the Madisonville basketball team posted an impressive record of 3-1 right out of the gates and won a tournament at West High School.

The Mustangs were tied for the best record with two other teams after round-robin play, but secured the title because they posted the most points over the weekend.

“We played some very solid basketball teams this weekend and each will compete for playoff spots in their respective districts,” said first-year Madisonville basketball coach Chris Reid. “Each of our opponents have also had weeks of practice and several games under their belts entering the weekend’s action, so it’s a good measuring stick to use moving forward.”

The high-tempo offense that Reid and his players hope to play in 2017 was tested in their very first game against Alvarado on Thursday. The Indians attempted to run about 40 seconds to a minute off the clock on each offensive possession and control the tempo. The Mustangs were holding onto a slim 32-31 lead entering the fourth, but amazingly shutout Alvarado in the fourth quarter with their press and ended the game on a 16-0 run.

Thursday also saw Madisonville take down Castleberry for their second win of the season on the same night. The Lions featured a similar style to Madisonville and kept an up-tempo offense throughout the duration of the game. However, the Mustangs proved to be the dangerous squad and easily took down Castleberry, 79-47.

The Mustangs were able to remain undefeated on the weekend with a 58-51 victory over Waco-Robinson on Saturday night of the West tournament. They kept it close with an effective half court matchup zone and a well-structured and patient half-court offense. A couple of marquee shooters kept Robinson in the game throughout.

The Mustangs concluded their tournament action and the season’s opening weekend with their first loss at the hands of Rice.

“Rice is a rising 3A program that has been part of the top-20 state rankings over the last two seasons,” said Reid. “It showed on Saturday.”

Madisonville got off to a slow start in the first quarter before hitting that second gear as the game went on. However, Rice showcased a complete four quarters of basketball and would never concede their early advantage. The Mustangs shot themselves in the foot with a whopping 33 team fouls, resulting in four players fouling out.

“In my nine seasons as an assistant or head coach, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a regulation game,” Rice said.

Despite the 78-69 loss to conclude the tournament, the Mustangs still left as champions and have a lot to look forward to as this season gathers steam. Reid highlighted seniors Tommy Holiday and Sam Bennett as two players that really stood out in the first few games of the season.

“(Holiday) finished strong down low, blocked shots, ran the floor and had two monster dunks in transition,” said Reid. “(Bennett) wasn’t as effective shooting early, but he did so much more than that. He ran the floor, scored in transition, played great defense, jumped passed and trapped well in our presses.”

The biggest concern entering the season for Madisonville was how late it started. With a very effective start at West in just a few games, it appears as if those concerns could be irrelevant real fast.

“A typical lag is to be expected with a quick transition from football to basketball, mostly in regard to rhythm, shooting and getting our legs under us” said Reid. “But the boys competed hard. As long as we keep doing that, we’ll continue to get into basketball shape day-by-day.”

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