Impressive wins for WolfPack basketball

Christina Gordon, Sports Editor

After a three-game losing streak earlier this month, the Madison College men’s basketball team has won two games and impressed their coach with their play.

The latest win for the Madison College Men’s Basketball team was huge.  Madison College beat Rock Valley College, 78-72, on Jan. 29 and moved to one win above .500 in conference play.

“From start to finish they were zoned in,” said Madison College coach Jamal Palmer.

“It was huge. It was an important game, and it was a game that we felt like we needed to get.  We needed to make up for the earlier loss.  We felt like we could go out there and beat them, and we went out there and did it.  It was a big win.” 

Down by nine at half Madison College went on to outscored Rock Valley, 46-31, in the second half. 

“We were down by nine at half, but we knew that we missed two layups at the rim, it could have been like a six-point game,” Palmer said.  “At the same time, we knew that they made some shots where we forgot to guard the guy in the corner, so it was a lot closer than that.  So, for it to be nine points at the half we felt like we had them.” 

Defensively Madison College was able to stop Rock Valley and that was something that Palmer wanted to do.

“We started out playing a two-jump defense,” he said. “We played a 1-2-2 zone to start the game. Once they figured it out and started to beat us on the inside, we then started playing a 2-3 zone. And after they figured it out, we were like ‘let’s play man’ and our guys were on board and they locked up, and locked into their man.”

Madison College had been emphasizing different defenses in practice, and it payed off.

“In practice we knew we were going to play some 2-3 and some 1-2-2, but we practiced more on not letting No. 15 and No. 5 shoot up the three’s, but at the same time guard all the other guys.  Keeping them in front of you and containing them.  We went in there with a game plan and the guys executed it to the T,” Palmer said.

Freshman Jason Williams lead the team with 21 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Sophomore Davion Washington was close behind Williams with 20 points of his own from off the bench. 

Four days earlier, Madison College avenged a loss from earlier in the season when it beat Joliet Junior College, 85-81. The difference from the last time was the number of players that Madison College had available. The first time the two teams played Madison College only had six players. 

“We were more at full strength, the first time we played them we didn’t have three of our players that was a big difference,” Palmer said.

Down at half with a score of 43-38, Madison College used a big second half to win the game by four points.

“They really dug in as a team to get the win,” Palmer said.

Madison College won the second half, 47-38, but didn’t take the lead till three minutes left in the game when freshman Marcus Kartes hit a three pointer to put the home team up by one.  Once they had the lead Madison College didn’t look back.  Sophomore Earl Lewis hit two late free throws to secure the win with nine seconds left.

Madison College had four players with 10 or more points.  Williams led the team in scoring with 20 points, while also having five rebounds and two blocks.  Lewis was close behind with 19 points of his own.  Washington had 14 points, while Kartes had 11 to round off the scoring. 

On Jan. 22, Madison College played in state rival Milwaukee Area Technical College, losing 108-89.  Milwaukee is ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA Division II polls.

Madison College was down by 19 points at half, with the score of 58-39. 

Madison College had six players score 10 or more points.  Sophomore Shamar Newman and Washington both scored 17 to lead Madison College. Lewis and freshman Amire Williams-Stribling both had 14, while Williams had 13 and Kartes had 12 to round off scoring. 

On Jan. 18, Madison College faced unbeaten Triton College, and lost 94-79. Triton got out to a fast start in the first half and Madison College found itself trailing by 24 points at halftime.

Madison College had four players in double digits for scoring.  Williams lead the team with 18 points, six rebounds, three assists, and one steal.  Kartes and Lewis both had 17 points of their own.  Newman had 13 points along with three rebounds, three assists and two steals. 

Madison College has its last regular season home game on Feb. 5, when it plays Wilbur Wright College.  Madison College then has three away game to finish off the regular season.