Down double digits early in the first quarter, down seven points in the third quarter to a team they had lost to earlier this season, the Madison Warhawks never panicked. Instead, they responded each time they were faced with adversity against the Herndon Hornets Tuesday night in a do-or-die first round regional playoff game. The result was a hard-earned 58-50 victory.
Madison, the defending Class Six Regional Champions, were knocked on their heels early by the Hornets. Herndon led 18-10 after one quarter, able to get out in transition and fueled by red-hot senior swingman Corey Myers. Coach Kevin Roller then went to a 1-3-1 defense and the Warhawks were able to hold the Hornets to four second quarter points, knotting the game at 22 by halftime.
“It was really our defense that brought us back into it,” senior forward Johnny Hecht said. “That 1-3-1 can be pretty deadly–we learned that one last year during the Regional Tournament.”
But Herndon made some adjustments and came out in the second half ready to play. The Hornets went on an 11-0 run, charging up their fans who made the trek to Vienna and forging to a 39-32 lead. But a technical foul received as the Hornets were celebrating their run seemed to shift momentum back to the Warhawks. Madison managed to cut the deficit to 44-41 after three, with Aaron Darab lobbing an in-bounds pass to John Finney for a basket with just .3 seconds left on the clock.
“That tip-in by Finney at the end of the third was huge,” Hecht said.
Finney added two more baskets early in the fourth quarter and the Warhawks started to again hold the Hornets in check offensively. They forged to the lead, with Hecht delivering a key basket on a drive to put the Warhawks ahead 51-48 with just under three minutes left in the game. Herndon could only muster two free throws by center Joel Varone the rest of the way, Madison made its free throws, and that was that.
Hecht led Madison (15-9), which advances in the tourney to face Cedar Run regular season champ Patriot this evening, with 15 points. Darab had 11 points and five assists, while junior guard Aaron Thompson contributed 13 points and six rebounds off the bench. Damon Koskovich and AJ Arnolie also played well off the bench for the Warhawks–Madison’s bench out-scored Herndon’s 24-4 on the evening.
Myers had a great game for Herndon with 18 points and seven rebounds. The Hornets, who played hard but proved unable to duplicate last year’s surprise run to states, also got 11 from sophomore guard Quentin Hart.
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: Snead 1-1, Hart 1-4, Rehnstrom 1-4, Myers 0-2, Smith 0-1, Cole 0-1|
|Threes: Darab 0-4, Hugie 0-1, Finney 0-1|