AUGUSTA — Winthrop is all about defense, and Winthrop’s defense is all about helping the helper.

Second-seeded Winthrop’s defense did more than its fair share in Monday’s Class C South quarterfinal, holding No. 7 Madison scoreless for three minutes in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 49-38 win.

Cam Wood led Winthrop’s balanced scoring with 12 points while Jared McLaughlin, Sam Figueroa and Nate LeBlanc added 10 points apiece. Sean Whalen and Evan Bess led Madison with 10 points apiece.

“We just prepared really well for Madison and we executed what we needed to execute today,” said McLaughlin, who led the Ramblers with four steals.

The Ramblers (15-4) will face No. 6 Boothbay in the semifinals at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Madison ends its season at 10-10.

A pair of free throws by Bess pulled the Bulldogs within 37-32 with four minutes left. Winthrop answered with an 11-0 run, sparked by a McLaughlin 3-pointer, and led 48-32 before Zach Belanger ended Madison’s drought with 3-pointer with a minute left.


“We talked about in the huddle before that the way we were going to win this game was to get into our roots, buckling down and playing Winthrop defense,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said. “We showed flashes of it, but that’s how we wanted to end the game, with what we do best.”

“We got it to within five a few times. We just couldn’t get over that hump,” Madison coach Jason Furbush added. “We didn’t hit shots that we normally hit. They did a great job defensively.”

The teams split their two regular-season meetings. Winthrop won in Madison, 61-46, on Jan. 10. Madison won, 55-43, in Winthrop.

“This was a lot like the first game we played them. We didn’t get to the rim well,” Furbush said. “They didn’t have Jared the second game (due to a concussion), so that made a difference. He’s a better defender than he probably is a scorer, and he’s a pretty good scorer.”

McLaughlin, Figueroa and Wood started strong, accounting for four, five and six points, respectively, as Winthrop made seven of its eight shots in the first quarter. Madison made just two of eight, but seven turnovers kept the Ramblers from building more than a 15-6 lead.

“That’s kind of been the story all season long, and we’ve just got to find a way to minimize those,” MacArthur said. “But, you know, move on. We can’t harp on our turnovers. We’ve got to make sure we shoot high-percentage shots and when we get them, we’ve got to knock them down.”


Turnovers continued to plague them well into the second quarter, so they managed to take just three shots and were scoreless until LeBlanc hit a 3-pointer with 2:40 left in the half.

Madison got as close as 18-15 on an Eric Wescott basket before Wood’s hoop sent the Ramblers into the locker room with a five-point lead.

The Ramblers took much better care of the ball in the second half with just three turnovers, and they started the half with an 8-0 run for a 28-15 lead. But they’re shots stopped falling in the third quarter (1-for-9). Eight of their 10 points in the period came from the foul line.

A Jacob Meader hoop ended Winthrop’s run and sparked an 8-2 quarter-ending run for Madison to pull within 30-23.

“I would just call it help the helper,” MacArthur said. “It’s five guys always helping out each other. One guy moves, another guy behind them moves, another guy behind them moves. It’s string theory. It’s a lot of timing. It’s a lot of awareness. It’s a lot of synergy.”

“At first, it’s very complicated but once we start working as a team, we get really good,” McLaughlin said.

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