Sparked by the play of Brenton Covington and Nick Ford, Madison Central (1-3) jumped out to a quick lead over Clark County Tuesday in Richmond.

After Covington scored on a putback with 3:49 left in the opening quarter, the Indians had a surprising 14-6 advantage over one of the top-ranked teams in the state.

However, that lead won’t last.

Foul trouble slowed Central’s two top performers and the Cardinals (3-0) took control and then rolled to a 81-53 victory.

“Brenton and Nick are the only guys we have with any real varsity experience,” Central coach Allen Feldhaus said. “So, when they got in foul trouble, the game was pretty much over.”

Clark County got a game-high 22 points and 15 rebounds from All-State candidate Vinny Zollo (6-foot-8 center), while Robbie Stenzel (6-foot-4, guard/forward) and Cory Rogers each added 21 points.

The Cardinals dominated on the board against the much-smaller Indians, out-rebounding them 57-34, including a 25-14 advantage on the offensive boards.

“That’s about as big a high school basketball team as I’ve ever seen in my 23 years of coaching,” Feldhaus said. “We can’t put one player on the floor who is bigger than any of their starters.”

Central scored 12 of the first 16 points of the game, but Ford drew two quick fouls and ultimately played just four minutes. Covington had a team-high 12 points at halftime, but he played just four minutes in the second half because of foul trouble.

The Indians came into the game without senior guard Casey Schneider, who sustained a high-ankle sprain in Saturday’s win over Seven Hills (Ohio).

Then, in the first half against Clark County, Stephen Guerra had to leave the game with a knee injury.

“When it rains, it pours,” Feldhaus said.

Clark County stormed back from an early deficit, tying the game (at 14) with an 8-0 run and had a 18-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.

By halftime, that lead had expanded to 41-26.

“We had things going. Dominique (Hawkins) was doing a good job controlling the game and finding Brenton. But, we get wore down pretty quickly. That’s a freshman trying to run that point against a big, physical defender. It’s a lot to ask of him.”

Covington finished with a team-high 14 points as Central shot just 34 percent. Hawkins and Hunter Stocker each had eight points and Jared Pyatt added seven points. Ford had four points and six rebounds.

Clark County shot 46 percent and had 25 second-chance points.

“We are not going to hang our heads,” Feldhaus. “We are going to keep plugging.”

Central is scheduled to return to action Thursday at Lafayette.

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