MADISON — Historically, the Mt. Abram girls don’t play well in Madison. Even when the Roadrunners won their last state title, in the 2006-07 season, they lost by 25 there.

So things didn’t look to be any different Tuesday night, especially with the Roadrunners missing two starters. But Mt. Abram hung with the Bulldogs all night, and Madison had to fight to pull out a 37-29 decision.

Mt. Abram (9-8) was missing Annie Dexter (illness) and Tori Beane (ineligible). The Roadrunners had only eight players and went almost the entire game with the same five on the floor, subbing only when Miranda Smith fouled out with 3:24 left in the fourth quarter.

“Last year, I would say almost three times a game, ‘Show me some desire. Show me some heart,’ ” Mt. Abram coach Doug Lisherness said. “They showed me some desire, and they showed me some heart.

“We could have come over here under the circumstances and folded big-time, because Madison’s the type of team, when they get you down, they bury you. We definitely had some mistakes, but overall, they showed me a lot here tonight.”

It was the last home game for four Madison seniors, and it was also “Coaches vs. Cancer” night at the school, with both teams wearing pink warm-up shirts.

With all that emotion, the Bulldogs (14-3) were off their game early. Coach Al Veneziano thought they were a little too tentative shooting against Mt. Abram’s zone defense. In the first half, Madison forced 16 turnovers, but committed 14 and shot 29 percent from the floor. Still, the Bulldogs led 16-12 at the half.

The Bulldogs gave themselves some more space at the beginning of the second half. Led by Sam Bruce (18 points) and Lyndsay Weese (eight points, 12 rebounds), Madison reeled off nine straight points, capped by a 3-pointer by Alex Jarvais to make the score 25-12.

“We didn’t do a whole lot different,” Veneziano said. “We got a couple of steals and a couple of quick baskets, and I thought the kids actually relaxed and played a little bit in that period of time.”

With Mikayla Luce and Jill Howard handling Madison’s full-court press and Smith scoring inside, Mt. Abram rallied back. The Roadrunners were within 31-27 when Smith fouled out with 10 points and five rebounds.

“I thought when she fouled out, that was a big turning point,” Veneziano said. “She’s very strong inside. She’s a very tough player.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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