MADISON — The Winthrop boys basketball team is peaking at just the right time. Enter Thursday night’s second quarter as Exhibit A.

The Class C South-leading Ramblers opened up a close game with a 21-2 run in the period, rolling off to a 73-46 win over Madison in a Mountain Valley Conference game at Veneziano’s Gym. Led by the inside presence of senior center Cam Wood and the perimeter shooting of Ryan Baird, Winthrop improved to 15-1 with its ninth straight win.

Wood finished with 23 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Ramblers, balancing his scoring effort across all four quarters. Baird scored eight of his 14 in the second quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers — the second of which came from the top of the key with 1:07 left before halftime to extend the Rambler lead to 46-21.

Winthrop turned a 22-17 game into a 38-17 lead midway through the second, scoring on six consecutive trips down the floor.

“We were moving the ball really good, getting into transition and doing the things we wanted to do,” Wood said. “We were playing the basketball we’re capable of playing. This time of the season, this close to playoffs, we don’t want to have to do work to get better. We want to be where we need to be.”

Sam Figueroa also finished in double figures with 16 points, 10 of those in the first 16 minutes.

The Ramblers shot 58.8 percent from the floor in the first half, including a 10 of 17 effort in the second quarter.

“I thought we went on a pretty impressive run,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said. “I think it was fueled by our defense, in terms of getting stops and getting defensive rebounds. I thought we ran our transition break, probably one of the best we’ve seen during that run. The ball hardly touched the floor.

Madison’s Jacob Meader (34) dives for the loose ball as Winthrop’s Gavin Perkins loses control Thursday in Madison.

“And the most important part is that we shot the ball well during that run.”

Four of the Winthrop baskets during the decisive run were second-chance points, something which frustrated Madison coach Jason Furbush, whose team dropped to 5-10.

“Anyone can clog the paint, take me away, we’ve got shooters that can shoot,” Wood said. “If they close down the shooters, we have bigs inside that can score. So no matter what, it’s like a lose-lose situation for the defense.”

“In the second quarter, they killed us on the boards and we kind of reverted back to old habits,” Furbush said. “We didn’t play as a team. Our offense went a lot of one-on-five. Obviously against a team like that, if you don’t defensive rebound, you’re not going to be in the game.

“They’re just too well-rounded.”

As a team, Winthrop outrebounded Madison by a 19-11 count in the first half. Those rebounds turned into easy buckets at the other end of the floor, as the Bulldogs went one-and-done on virtually every possession.

“I think that one of the areas where we’ve grown as a team from last year to this year is our guard play and our shooting ability,” MacArthur said. “That’s vital for being a big team, because we need to be able to stretch the floor. Obviously, Cam and Sam and Jevin (Smith), they garner a lot of attention down low. People usually sag, so we’re going to have some open looks on the perimeter.”

Justyn Stinson led led Madison with 20 points, including four 3-pointers.

Winthrop, though, was too much — even in a second half featuring some sloppy play and turnovers at both ends of the floor with the Ramblers well in control. Their largest lead of the game was 26 points early in the third quarter.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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