Madison's game with Herndon began with a glitch when the public address announcer had problems with the tape of the national anthem, but the top-ranked Warhawks quickly put their game in fast forward and routed the 15th-ranked Hornets, 91-48, last night in Vienna.
It was a typical night for this talented Madison girls team, which employed a trapping man-to-man defense and scored gobs of points off turnovers.
The Warhawks (14-0, 6-0 Great Falls District) led by 12 points after one period, by 23 at halftime and by 32 after three quarters.
Madison's only vulnerability seems to be when an opponent is able to break its tenacious press. That's when opponents score easy layups and post impressive field goal percentages, evidenced by Herndon's five-of-eight first-quarter shooting.
But as Herndon Coach Laura Beaver pointed out: "We scored on the press when we broke it, but we probably gave away 15 points for every two we scored."
The only question that remains then for this awesome club, which has been winning by an average of 50 points and has six players averaging in double figures, is whether or not it can be beaten.
"No," said Beaver. "But I didn't think anybody could beat them last year, either," referring to defending state champion Robinson's upset of the Warhawks. "But this team is a little deeper and a little bigger."
Indeed, it's difficult for a team to contend with Madison's starting five players, who are basically all forwards with the skills of guards. "We're blessed with versatility across the board," said Madison Coach Pat Deegan. "We have good equal height and they can all do different things."
The Warhawks started the game by converting their first four shots and forcing the Hornets into three straight turnovers to take an 8-0 lead.
Jackie Freeman (16 points) scored on a jumper eight seconds into the contest, followed by a turnaround jumper in the lane by Renee Jaksch (16). Denise Wojciech (14) then hit from the baseline and Jaksch scored again from six feet.
Madison forced six more turnovers and extended its lead to 18-2 before Herndon's Dana Bowman (12) made two three-pointers to cut the lead to 14. But the Hornets would turn over the ball three more times in the first quarter and nine in the second to let the Warhawks roll.