REXBURG – It was ugly at times, with shots clanking off the rim, loose basketballs seemingly bouncing from end to end, and fouls marring any semblance of rhythm.
But in the end, the celebration was much sweeter for the Madison boys basketball team, which survived another physical meeting with rival Rigby on Thursday night, this one earning the Bobcats the 5A District 5-6 title.
“That was just two teams getting after it,” Bobcats coach Travis Schwab said after his team held off the Trojans, 46-41 before a boisterous and spirited crowd at Madison High. “A gritty, gritty, win for our boys. No it wasn’t pretty, but I wasn’t expecting it to be pretty after playing a team five times.”
With Thursday’s victory, Madison won four of those five meetings with Rigby, but this one was for the district championship and the Trojans, who had already earned a victory on the road at Madison in the tournament, came out the aggressor. There were some apparent nerves early as both teams fired up air balls in the first quarter and the frenetic pace caused plenty of turnovers and skirmishes for loose balls. But Rigby’s defense held and took advantage of turnovers, the highlight being a steal at midcourt and flying dunk by Wyatt Taylor in the first quarter that energized the Trojan student section.
“I’m super proud of how we came out,” Rigby coach Justin Jones said. “Our kids had to step it up with Keegan (Thompson) being out (with an ankle injury). I can’t be more pleased with our guys.”
Schwab said the Bobcats settled too much on 3-pointers in the first half and preached patience in the second half.
Madison led 26-25 heading into the fourth quarter despite having trouble scoring over the Trojan zone defense. The patience eventually paid off as the Bobcats worked the ball inside and benefited from hitting their free throws down the stretch.
Even so, Rigby was within reach in the closing minutes. A free throw by Kaden Hall pulled the Trojans within 37-35 with 1:42 left. Madison extended the lead with free throws, and 3-pointers by Rigby’s Easton Martin and Brycen Uffens in the final 30 seconds were not enough.
“They’re really physical, they’re a really good team,” Madison senior Spencer Hathaway said. “It’s tough to beat those guys four times; they’re one of the best teams in the state.”
Both teams already qualified for the upcoming state tournament, but district pride and bragging rights were on the line.
“We laid it out there on the floor,” Jones said. “I’m proud of our guys.”
Uffens led Rigby with 18 points and Kyle Jackson topped Madison with 15 points.
MADISON 46, RIGBY 41
Rigby 10 9 6 16 – 41
Madison 6 12 8 20 – 46
RIGBY (41) –Easton Martin 3, Wyatt Taylor 4, Britton Barrett 3, Tagg Olaveson 7, Kaden Hall 5, Brycen Uffens 18, Tanoa Togiai 1. FG: 12. FT: 13-17. 3-pointers: 4 (Martin, Olaveson, Uffens 2). Total fouls: 19. Fouled out: Berrett.
MADISON (46) – Jordan Porter 5, Jaden Schwab 7, Mason McWhorter 11, Kyle Jackson 15, Mark Williams 4, Spencer Hathaway 4. FG: 14. FT: 14-19. 3-pointers: 4 (Porter, McWhorter 2, Jackson). Total fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.