By DOUG DONNELLY
MADISON TOWNSHIP – Three times this season, Whiteford had a chance to beat the Madison Trojans with a shot in the games final seconds.
The Bobcats won two of those games, but cmae up just short in Tuesday’s Division 3 district quarterfinal at Madison, losing 41-39 when Madison made a layup at the buzzer to advance to the district semifinals.
“These kids never quit,” Whiteford coach Nick Abalos said. “That’s what made them so fun to coach this year. Madison executed in the end and we came up short.”
The Bobcats seemingly had Madison’s number this season. They went into Tuesday’s fourth quarter down three and stayed that way until sophomore Luke Rasor connected on a long-distance 3-pointer to tie the game with 48 seconds to go.
Madison got the ball back and worked the clock down to about 12 seconds when the Trojans drove to the basket. After a shot missed, Cole Giesige grabbed a hold of the rebound and drove from one end of the court to the other, going up with a shot with 4.4 seconds left. As the shot rimmed out, Giesige was whistled for a charging foul, giving the ball back to Madison.
“It was a tough call,” Abalos said. “I didn’t want to call a timeout in that situation because we had numbers and Cole was going straight to the basket.”
As a result of the foul, Madison had the ball with 4.4 seconds at the far end of the court. Madison coach Erik Thompson called timeout and set up a play, with Max Palpant throwing the ball inbounds to Madison’s 6-foot-7 senior Jordan Benson. Benson got the ball near halfcourt and found Theriot cutting to the basket.
“It’s a two and a half second play and we had four seconds to run it,” Thompson said. “The key was for Max to just throw it, to trust that Jordan would be there to catch it. That’s what we practice.”
Palpant was Madison’s quarterback the past two football seasons.
Theriot caught the ball under the basket and got rid of it quickly. The buzzer sounded before the ball hi the floor.
The basket was just the second field goal of the quarter and fourth of the second half for Madison, which was patient on nearly every possession of the half.
Benson finished with 14 points, including 10 in a dominating second quarter.
Whiteford finished the season 6-8, a big improvement of last season. Giesgie completed a fine junior season with 14 points. Rasor, a sophomore, finished with 12. The Bobcats don’t have a senior on its roster.
“I can’t wait to get to June where we can start our summer workouts,” Abalos said. “These kids are a lot of fun to coach and they gained a lot of confidence this year.”
Madison 41, Whiteford 39
WHITEFORD: Ruddy 2(1) 1-2 6, Joerin 0 1-2 1, Rasor 5(2) 0-1 12, Giesige 5(1) 3-5 14, Hillard 2 0-0 4, Andrews 1 0-0 2. Totals 15(4) 5-10 39.
MADISON: Burciaga 3(3) 1-2 10, Palpant 0 1-4 1, Benson 7 0-0 14, Neal 1 0-0 2, Roberts 3 2-2 8, Theriot 2 0-0 4, Regaldo 1 0-0 2. Totals 17(3) 4-8 41.