MADISON — Spotting Old Orchard Beach an early 10-point lead wasn’t part of Madison’s game plan, but once the Bulldogs figured out the Seagulls’ zone defense, everything went according to plan.

Madison rallied from that early deficit to pull away in the second half of Wednesday’s Class C South boys basketball preliminary round game, earning a 56-39 win to advance to the regional quarterfinals. No. 7 Madison (10-9) will face No. 2 Winthrop (14-4). No. 10 Old Orchard Beach ends the season at 9-10.

“Just better ball movement in the second half, and we attacked it a lot more,” Madison coach Jason Furbush said of finding offensive flow against OOB’s zone defense. “The first half, we didn’t reverse the ball well, and they didn’t really have to move. When we started to make them move, we did a much better job.”

Most of Madison’s offense came on shots within a few feet of the basket. Big men Max Shibley (12 points) and Jacob Meader (10 points) scored 16 of their combined 22 points in the second half, and guard Sean Whalen gave the Bulldogs a spark slashing to the hoop for 16 points.

“Just getting the jitters out, and finally working as a team and playing how we know to play. That really started us going,” Shibley said.

Madison trailed 14-4 with 2:07 to play in the first quarter. After a timeout, the Bulldogs cut the Gulls lead to four, 14-10, before OOB pushed the lead back to nine points, 21-12, early in the second quarter. Madison outscored OOB 44-18 the rest of the way. Madison’s defense clamped down, and the Bulldogs forced 23 turnovers.

“These guys are great defensively when we play as a team. I think they were a little bit quicker than we thought they’d be out of the gate, and we adjusted to it,” Furbush said.

“We just knew we had to chip away at it. Two points here, two points there,” Shibley said.

Ian Regan led the Seagulls with 15 points.

TURNING POINT: Evan Bess hit a baseline three as the second quarter expired for Madison. The shot cut OOB’s lead to 23-22 at the half, and was the spark the Bulldogs needed. Bess’ three started a 15-0 Madison run that pushed the Bulldogs lead to 34-23 with 3:49 left in the third.

“Evan’s three is what got us going. It got the wind under our sails for sure,” Shibley said.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Shibley scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half, and pulled down four offensive rebounds. Shibley’s final offensive board came on a Bess free throw miss with 2:20 to play. Trailing 50-39, that effectively ended OOB’s comeback chances.

ON TO AUGUSTA: Madison will face No. 2 Winthrop in the regional quarterfinals. The Bulldogs and Ramblers split a pair of regular season games, each winning on the other’s court. Madison and Winthrop met for the regional title last season, with the Ramblers coming out on top.

“Tough team. Well-coached,” Furbush said of Winthrop. “They’re a tough matchup for anyone.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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