By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
With their leading scorer sitting on the bench with two fouls, the Eagles needed some other players to step up in the first half Friday against Clark County.
And they did just that.
Madison Southern (9-5) trailed by just four points at halftime, but rallied in the third quarter and sealed a hard-fought win with a pair of clutch three-pointers in the final minutes. Michael Rothermel had 21 points, while Tyler Abshear, Drew Taylor and Trevor Huff all had 10 points each in a 62-55 win over the Cardinals (6-10).
“We didn’t play all that well, but we got a win,” Southern coach Shane Buttry said.
Abshear picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game, but played the rest of the first quarter. The senior point guard sat out the entire second quarter and Southern was able to find a way to stay in the game.
The Eagles got a three-pointer from Devante Linville and baskets from Huff, Rothermel and Jake Napier and went into halftime trailing just 25-21.
With Abshear back on the court, Southern opened the second half on a 9-0 run that included two Drew Taylor baskets and a three-point play from Huff.
“In the third quarter we really turned up the defense and that was the difference,” Buttry said. “That run we went on, that’s what won the game for us.”
Southern had a five-point lead (37-32) heading into the fourth quarter, but Clark County battled back. There were four ties and four lead changes before the Eagles were able to re-take the lead for good.
Southern trailed 51-50 with two minutes left when Huff hit a three from the top of the key.
“In practice, he’s one of the best shooters we have,” Buttry said of Huff. “He loves basketball. He’s a gym rat kind of guy. He can shoot it.”
On the Eagles’ next possession, Rothermel knocked down a three-pointer that pushed the lead to five points (56-51).
“I don’t know if that was the best shot in the world,” Buttry said of Rothermel’s three. “We were up two with a minute left and he hit from probably 24 foot.”
Clark County was never able to get any closer than three points the rest of the way as Linville, Drew Taylor and Rothermel all had field goals in the final minute.
Abshear was limited to just seven points in the second half, but also had seven rebounds and three assists.
“Tyler had his second-lowest point total of the season, but he battled foul trouble and he got his eye busted,” Buttry said. “They denied him the ball. But, other guys stepped up.”
Linville finished with five points, Napier had four points and Spencer Stone had two points. Southern was 10-of-18 from the free throw line and hit six three-pointers, including three from Rothermel.
Stone also had seven rebounds, Huff had six rebounds and Drew Taylor had four assists and four rebounds.
Southern is set to return to action Tuesday at Model.