MADISON — Mistake-free basketball is one of the best ways to win in a battle of unbeaten teams.

The Madison girls basketball team was on the unfortunate side of that theory Thursday night against Boothbay.

Turnovers and Boothbay’s strong fourth-quarter play ultimately proved the difference as the Bulldogs fell 62-43 to the Seahawks in the Mountain Valley Conference showdown. Boothbay moves to 10-0 and the likely No. 1 seed in Class C South. Madison, which entered the game as the top team in the conference, drops to 9-1.

“I thought we battled all night,” Madison coach Al Veneziano said. “(Boothbay) is very big up front. We handled it a little bit, but we need to handle it a little bit better. We don’t see that (kind of) pressure a lot. There’s not a lot of teams with that size that can throw pressure like that.”

Boothbay’s press defense made its mark early, forcing 20 of the Bulldogs’ 31 turnovers in the first half.

“That’s what we try to do, that’s what we’ve done this year, that’s a big part of our approach to the game,” Boothbay coach Brian Blethen said. “We provide full-court pressure, but going into it, we knew we had to be disciplined, because (Madison) is a good team, an athletic, quick team.”

The Seahawks’ frontcourt combination of Page Brown and Faith Blethen proved to be a tough duo to defend. But Madison answered back with the shooting of guard Ashley Emery, who scored all 12 of her points, including two 3-pointers, in the first half. The Seahawks entered halftime with a 34-23 lead.

Madison fought back and outscored Boothbay in the third quarter by a 14-11 margin. Bulldogs center Lauren Hay stepped up, scoring nine of her 12 points in the quarter. She was aided by forward Brooke Ross, who provided a spark off the bench, scoring five points in the period and nine points in the second half.

“We were proud of (the third quarter play),” Veneziano said. “We’ve just got to keep working.”

Up 46-37 entering the fourth quarter, Boothbay kicked its offense into overdrive, outscoring Madison by a 16-4 margin, including a 10-0 run that lasted nearly half the quarter. Brown and Blethen once again provided the punch on offense, totaling 14 of the Seahawks’ 16 points in the fourth.

“We shifted our offensive alignment (in the fourth quarter),” Brian Blethen said. “We pretty much played transition basketball. We did that, for the most part, for most of the game, but then we shifted our alignment a little bit on the floor. I think that changed things up for us enough, just to give us a little spark, something different, something fresh. Then the girls just put it away.”

Brown finished with 26 points, while Blethen had 24.

The game will be the only time the teams will see each other during the regular season.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer


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