ONTARIO — Galion was determined to slow down Madison’s Tyler Tackett, so the rest of the Rams took matters into their own hands.
Jashawn Au and Jay Jones combined for 26 points and Madison pulled in the way in the second half of a 63-53 win over the Tigers in the 419 Challenge at the O-Rena.
Tackett, who was face-guarded much of the evening, added 14 points before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. The senior was coming off a 31-point effort in Friday’s 67-55 loss to Wooster.
“Tackett is going to see that. I think the last two games he is averaging right around 30,” Madison coach Tim Mergel said. “That’s where guys have to step up and we’re slowly but surely starting to get there and understand how to play the game.”
The Rams (2-5) led 30-26 at the half before coming to life in the third. Madison outscored Galion (2-5) 19-11 in the period to take a 49-37 lead into the fourth. Au scored seven points in period.
“We played with the lead and we played with a little bit of pressure with the lead,” Mergel said. “We’re starting to learn how to close a game out.”
Madison opened the fourth with a 7-0 run and took a 56-37 lead on Tackett’s offensive rebound and outback with 5:27 remaining, Galion cut it to 59-48 on a Gage Lackey dunk with 1:59 to playbut the Tigers would get no closer until Lackey drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“Turnover and selfishness have been the story of our season so far,” Galion coach Matt Valentine said. “The kids continue to work hard in practice and the effort has been there, but we’ve got to take care of the basketball.”
Lackey led the Tigers with 23 points. Isaiah Alsip added 17.
“I felt we were a little bit lazy on some possessions,” Mergel said of his team’s defensive effort. “Wooster was a more athletic team and we shut down dribble penetration on them. We got a little bit sloppy and got called for lots of fouls and I attribute lots of fouls to lots of laziness.
“Our energy level was just not very good at times, but we are getting better.”