By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
The Indians were able to overcome some inconsistent free throw shooting to defeat Clark County in double overtime earlier this week.
Against No. 14 Montgomery County (3-0) on Friday, however, missed opportunities at the line cost Madison Central.
The Indians missed their final six free throws, allowing Montgomery County to rally for a 64-62 victory in Richmond. Bryan Wallace hit a 20-footer with just more than a second left and Central was unable to get off a would-be game-tying shot on the final possession.
“We missed our free throws,” Central coach Allen Feldhaus said. “If we hadn’t missed our free throws, it never would have come to that situation.”
The loss was the first of the season for the Indians (4-1) and their first setback in almost 10 months. Central had won 16 straight games, a streak that started in February and including a run to the school’s first-ever Sweet 16 championship.
Central looked to be in good position to keep that streak alive for most of the game. The Indians had a 24-15 lead after the first quarter and were up 34-28 at halftime.
Central took an 11-point lead (43-32) late in the third quarter.
Montgomery County closed the period on a 10-4 run, then tied the game at 48 just 37 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Central was able to re-gain the lead and hang on it, until the final minute.
Montgomery County went up 61-60 with just more than 30 seconds left. After Sam Jones missed a pair of free throws, Demarcus George scored on a putback, giving Central a 62-61 lead with 14 seconds left.
With time running out, Wallace hit a desperation shot from well beyond the three-point line.
“They were really lost,” Feldhaus said of Montgomery County. “We had them. That was exactly what we wanted — to make him take a shot like that. Give him credit. He hit it.”
The Indians got the ball back with 1.2 seconds and tried a length of the court pass to Isaiah Johnson. The junior wasn’t able to catch the ball cleanly and couldn’t get a shot off.
“We were just trying to throw it up and see if he could catch it,” Feldhaus said.
Central was seven-of-16 from the free throw line and connected on only three-of-10 attempts from the line in the fourth quarter.
Cameron Thomas had a team-best 16 points and seven assists for Central, George had 11 points and nine rebounds, Jones had 13 points and eight rebounds, Coty Alexander had seven points, Johnson had six points, Kirk Humphrey had five points and Ross Ramsey had four points.
Central had 15 turnovers, eight of which came in the second half.
“I’m happy,” Feldhaus said. “We are going to be a good basketball team. It’s just a process. It’s just December with a bunch of kids who didn’t play much last year. We are going to get better.”
Central is set to return to action Tuesday at home against Collins.