NE Regional: Defending state champ Madison County holds off Hokes Bluff
by Mark Edwards
Feb 20, 2014 | 2001 views |  0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JACKSONVILLE -- Madison County's boys built an 18-point lead in the Northeast Regional on Thursday and watched as Hokes Bluff nearly chopped it all away.

The Tigers managed to hold on, however, for a 56-50 win in the Class 4A regional semifinals at Jacksonville State. Madison County (23-5), which won the 4A state title a year ago, will face Guntersville in Saturday's finals at 5:20 p.m.

Using a high-pressure, full-court attack, the Tigers went ahead 52-34 with 7:49 to play, but Hokes Bluff sliced it down to 10 points at 54-44 with 2:44 to play and got it to four at 54-50 with 16 seconds left.

That was as close as it got, as Hokes Bluff (27-6) fell in its first trip to the Northeast Regional.

"I thought we played really good in the first half and the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter, we turned the ball over and didn't finish the game," Madison County coach Bubba Webster said.

Hokes Bluff coach Greg Watkins said his team battled the pressure by using 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas, a Purdue signee, as part of the press break.

"But that puts him 85 feet from the rim," Watkins said, "so you pick your poison there."

Haas still managed 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocked shots, including 16 of his points and eight of his blocks after halftime.

"He's 10 inches taller than anybody else we had on the floor, but we battled him," Webster said.
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