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Strong defense has Madison boys hoops soaring

By: Jon Malavolti | Madison - Park News | Published January 26, 2011

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Two things have turned out to be consistent for the Madison Heights Madison boys basketball team so far this season.

Through eight games, the Eagles have played tenacious defense. And through eight games, the Eagles haven’t lost.

After allowing an average of about 60 points a game the past two seasons, Madison has stepped things up on the defensive end, holding opponents closer to 50 points a game.

“We invest a lot of time in our defense,” Madison coach Steve Rhoads said.
That statistic becomes even more impressive when you take into account the fast-paced style the Eagles play.

“The fact that our opponents aren’t scoring more than that is impressive considering how many more possessions are in the game,” Rhoads said.

The coach said his team is successful “when we defend and rebound.”

“We’re fairly quick and athletic,” he said. “We need to play very aggressively in order to be successful. When we do that, we can be quite good. If we don’t play with intensity, emotion and aggression, we’re very vulnerable.”

Rhoads said he’d also like to see the team improve its shot selection and free-throw shooting as it heads into the second half of the season with big goals ahead.

“My message to our players is that we have to get better,” the coach said. “We have to practice better to expect to improve. We can only expect to continue to be successful if we continue to improve, because other teams will.”

The coach noted that holds especially true if the Eagles want to maintain their perch atop the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division standings as they prepare to face division opponents a second time this season. Madison, 8-0 overall, was 3-0 in the MAC Blue at press time, tied with Fair Haven Anchor Bay for first place.

Rhoads highlighted the individual play of a handful of his players.

Junior Damon Bozeman has provided solid play, according to the coach.

“He’s very effective offensively,” Rhoads said. “He scores consistently in double-figures.”

The coach said senior Tony Lowry is having an “exceptional year” on both ends of the court, especially in rebounding and shotblocking.

And the group of juniors D.J. Larkins and Will Bradley, senior Rob Sims and sophomore Nick Wallace have “consistently contributed to our success,” according to the coach.
Catch the Eagles in action at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 in a crucial league contest at home against Anchor Bay.
 

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