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Emphasis on defense pays off for Madison

December 24, 2012
Madison Senior High School

by  Scott Marion STLhighschoolsports.com



The Madison boys basketball team has scored 156 points in its last two points, which is enough to put a smile on the face of coach Jaime Cotto.

But what makes Cotto even happier is the 81 points Madison has allowed in those games, an 81-43 win over Sumner on Dec. 10 and a 75-38 victory over McCluer South-Berkeley. It's a sign that the Trojans are heeding their coach's call for improvement on defense.

"Our 2-3 zone has been very effective," Cotto said. "For this team to play well, we have to get the job on the defensive end and we have to be dominant in the paint area. In each of those games, we've done a good job of finding the big guys down low."

Against Berkeley, Madison had four players in double figures, led by Carvel Dixon with 13 points. Quincy Ware had 11 while Dijon Bryant and Johnny Meitzenheimer scored 10 apiece.

Deontay Starnes, a junior transfer from Granite City, had a team-high 17 points against Sumner while Bryant scored 16. Marquis Borney and Meitzenhimer added 13 and 10, respectively.

"It's been a team effort," Cotto said. "Starnes, Bryant and Dixon are the men in the middle and they've done a good job. Meitzenheimer doesn't have a lot of experience at point guard, but he's getting more confident with every game."

Solid play off the bench has added to the Trojans' depth.

"We were up by 18 at halftime against Berkeley and it pretty much stayed that way for a while in the second half," Cotto said. "But Dixon, (Tyvon) Powers and (Darrian) Crawford came in and we were able to extend our lead and blow the game open."

Borney, who leads the team in scoring at 17 points per game, was the only returning starter.

"He's still playing excellent defense, but now he's our go-to guy and he accepts the role," Cotto said. "He knows he has to be our main scorer and the other guys are getting some really good looks (at the basket) for him."

Madison (5-2) will play Mater Dei (5-5) at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Jacksonville Shootout at Illinois College.

"It's a nice gym and the kids are pumped about playing there," Cotto said. "Mater Dei got off to a slow start, but they've won four straight and we're looking forward to playing them.

"Last year they kind of took it to us (Mater Dei won 70-46), but in years past it's been pretty close and they may have beaten us by two or four points. (Brian) Perkes is a great coach, they always have some size and they shoot the ball well. It will be interesting to see what our zone can do against them.

"In the game before us (at 2 p.m.), Carrollton will play Auburn and we're in the Carrollton (Class 1A) regional this year. We'll get there a little early to scout them and I'm sure they'll stick around to watch us."

Madison is in the Carbondale Holiday Tournament and will play Carterville in a first-round game at 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 27 at SIU Arena. The tournament runs through Dec. 29.

On Jan. 5, the Trojans are in the Effingham St. Anthony Shootout and will play Robinson at 1 p.m.

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