As Madison's girls proved at home last night, there's a big difference between being ranked No. 1 and No. 20.

In this case, it was nearly 40 points as the top-rated Warhawks drubbed 20th-ranked McLean, 75-38, to take sole possession of first place in the Great Falls District.

Unbeaten Madison, which won its first 11 games by an average margin of 54 points, improved to 4-0 in the district and 12-0 overall. The Highlanders, who had their five-game winning streak halted, dropped to 4-1 and 9-2.

Despite the lopsided score, McLean did prove a remedy for Madison Coach Pat Deegan's unusual problem: providing competiton and extra playing time for his starters.

"They were well-prepared for us," Deegan said. "They wouldn't let us run our half-court traps by running a very deliberate offense."

But for the first 10 minutes, McLean was unable to cope with Madison's trademark full-court press and suffocating man-to-man defense. The combination contributed to nine first-quarter turnovers by McLean that were converted into four easy transition baskets by the Warhawks.

"We've had so much success with our press that I've had to remind the girls that it's not designed to get steals, but to ignite our running game," Deegan said.

A steal by guard Denise Wojciech led to a follow-up basket by Renee Jaksch that began an 11-0 run as Madison broke to a 21-5 lead a minute into the second quarter.

The Highlanders managed to beat Madison's press for a short time to mount an 8-0 run and cut the deficit to 26-17 on Barbara King's two free throws with 3:37 left.

But the Warhawks answered with another 11-0 spurt as Windsor Coggeshell (16 points) hit two baskets to make it 37-17. King's layup at the buzzer cut Madison's halftime lead to 37-19.

For only the second time this season "we felt challenged," Wojciech said. "They were able to break our press sometimes and they got through our double-teams, which was good because we needed {practice} moving our feet." Mc (9-2) -- Evan 3, Fierce 2, Stoneburner 4, King 12, Bigger 7, Grawe 7, Webster 3. Totals 12 14 38. Ma (12-0) -- Wojciech 15, Freeman 16, Coggeshell 16, Bellamy 2, Jaksch 13, Stoner 2, Southworth 2, Benton 3, Mitchell 6. Totals 28 15 75.

Halftime: Madison, 37-19.

Three-point goals: Madison 3 (Freeman 2, Wojciech).