Middletown Madison Loses In Championship

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Findlay Liberty-Benton coach Nate Irwin

knew his undersized squad couldn't out muscle Middletown Madison so

the strategy was to push the pace.

It worked as the Eagles limited Madison to four goals in 21

attempts in the second half while outscoring them by 18 points to

pull away for a 66-44 win and its first state title in Division III

on Saturday.

"We had to run the floor and hopefully wear them down and

hopefully affect their shooting," Irwin said.

The Eagles (27-0) broke a tight game by outscoring the Mohawks

15-6 in the third quarter for a 53-40 advantage that was capped by

a layup from Amanda Hyde with five seconds left.

Hyde, an Associated Press first team All-Ohio selection, had 13

of her 23 points in the first half in the first meeting of unbeaten

teams in a final since Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame beat Dayton

Chaminade-Julienne in the 2004 Division championship.

Caite Craft scored 11 in the second half to increase the Eagles'

(27-0) four-point halftime lead, 38-34. She finished with 19 and

Amber Peterson added 13 points.

Brittany Shields had 13 points and Ally Malott 10 for Madison


Madison had gradually cut a 10-point second quarter deficit and

got to within 40-38 three minutes into the third but Peterson

nailed a three-pointer from the left corner, Hyde hit a jumper and

Craft made two free throws and a layup to provide the Eagles a

49-38 edge.

"Everyone realized if we wanted to win we had to keep our

defense up," Peterson said.

The Eagles are known for their long-range shooting - they made

six three-pointers to give them 235 for the season, second-most in

Ohio girls history to the 241 by Lima Bath in 2004-05 - but Madison

coach John Rossi was impressed by their defense.

"Going 4 for 21; that's tough to win any ballgame against a

great team like that," he said.

Madison, in its first state appearance, had trouble early, too.

It went five minutes without a point while Liberty-Benton ran off

15 points in row to take a 32-19 lead. The Eagles were up 34-24

when Lindsay Hopkins drove the floor to end Madisons scoreless

streak. Adrianne Lehman followed with a three-pointer and later a

free throw to make it 34-30 with two minutes left in the first


"We knew they weren't scared of us," Hyde said. "We knew we

weren't scared of them."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)