RIGBY – The Rigby and Madison show continues.
No. 2 Rigby had its chances on Tuesday night, hosting rival and No. 1 seeded Madison in a loud and standing-room only gym, with the 5A District 5-6 boys basketball championship trophy waiting at the scorer’s table.
But the trophy presentation will have to wait.
Madison, sparked again by its defense, pulled away from Rigby in the third quarter and put the game away in the fourth, rolling to a 62-52 victory and forcing the if-necessary championship game on Thursday in Rexburg. Both Madison and Rigby have already secured spots in the state tournament, but Thursday’s winner will be crowned district champion and will take the top seed from the district at the state tournament.
“The defense is who we are, that’s our identity,” Madison coach Travis Schwab said after the game, echoing a familiar rallying cry that’s helped propel the Bobcats to a 22-3 record.
Much to the delight of the home crowd, Rigby (19-5) led 24-21 at the half, but Madison started forcing turnovers in the third quarter and quickly turned the deficit into a 32-28 advantage. The Trojans called a timeout with 4:31 left in the third to stop the bleeding, but Spencer Hathaway connected on a 3-pointer to increase the lead and Jordan Porter knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to increase the lead to 41-30. Madison scored 21 points in the fourth quarter.
“We have to take care of the ball better,” Rigby coach Justin Jones said. “They kind of got a spark on the defensive end.”
“The one thing about our kids is they didn’t panic when we were down,” Schwab added. “We’ve been down to Rigby the past two games … Once shots started to fall and the kids got some confidence, and man, things started rolling.”
Rigby, which defeated Madison last Thursday to secure the right to host Tuesday’s rivalry rematch, looked good early on, putting together a 10-0 run over the first and second quarters. Tagg Olaveson’s spinning layup put Rigby up 19-16, then Olaveson scored off a steal and layup and was fouled. He hit the free throw for a six-point advantage.
But it wasn’t enough. Now the road to the 5A District 5-6 championship runs through Rexburg.
“One shot,” Jones said. “That’s all we ask for. Give credit to Madison tonight, they came down here and took advantage of that shot tonight. We’re looking forward to a great game (on Thursday.)”
Rigby won last Thursday’s game 54-44 at Madison.
“Now we have to make sure we beat them at our place and we didn’t last time they were there,” Schwab said. “Our kids are aware that they can come up there and knock us out at home. Our kids will be focused and ready to play.”
Olaveson led Rigby with 16 points and Tanoa Togiai added 10. Porter scored 22 points and Hathaway scored 18 for Madison.