Madison senior Taden King was seemingly scoring at will in the first half of Tuesday's game against Idaho Falls.
A driving layup, a 3-pointer and trips to the free-throw line. Idaho Falls had no answers.
"At that point you have change things and slow him down and try to make someone else beat you," Tigers interim head coach Nate Hartman said.
A zone and a box-and-one defensive strategy nearly worked as the Tigers overcame an 18-point deficit in the first half and then eventually took the lead. But it wasn't enough as Madison dominated the fourth quarter on the way to a 60-48 win.
King finished with 24 points, but had just four in the second half. Fortunately for the Bobcats, their offense didn't miss a beat as Rhett Hathaway had the hot hand in the second half and finished the game 5 of 8 from 3-point range. Madison shot 62 percent in the second half and its defense locked down in the fourth quarter, holding Idaho Falls to just four points.
"I think our kids kind of took the foot off the gas a little bit," Madison coach Travis Schwab said after watching the Tigers storm back and take the lead after Madison had established the double-digit advantage early. Madison beat the Tigers by 44 points last month and Schwab noted that maybe the early lead caused a let down.
"Idaho Falls was not going to roll over," Schwab said.
If there was a letdown, the Tigers took advantage and closed the first half with a 15-0 run. A pair of free throws by Dylan Seeley with 5:58 left in the third quarter tied the game and a basket by Merit Jones put Idaho Falls up 36-34.
But Hathaway responded from beyond the arch and the Bobcats took a 46-44 lead into the fourth quarter.
Idaho Falls, trying to keep pace in the conference standings, couldn't maintain any momentum as the Madison defense clamped down and held the Tigers to just one field goal and pair of free throws in the final quarter.
"We always try to play team basketball," said King, who finished with seven rebounds and five assists. "With them putting that much emphasis on me I just try my best … to get them the ball and set up opportunities."
Hathaway finished with 15 points, all on 3-pointers.
Defensively, Madison converted 15 turnovers into 24 points and the Tigers shot just 27 percent in the second half and finished 1 of 9 on 3-pointers.
Madison (12-2, 3-0) hosts Thunder Ridge on Thursday in a battle of 5A District 5-6 unbeatens.
Idaho Falls (6-7, 1-3) is at Shelley on Thursday.
MADISON 60, IDAHO FALLS 48
Madison 21 11 14 14 — 60
Idaho Falls 12 17 15 4 — 48
MADISON — Taden King 24, Rhett Hathaway 15, Logan Crane 7, Tyson Lerwill 7, Eli Randall 3, Riley Sutton 2, Braxton Pierce 2.
IDAHO FALLS — Dylan Seeley 15, Merit Jones 11, Christian Jensen 10, Braxton Sorenson 7, Skyler Olson 5.