The Madison Bulldogs jumped on Baltic early and kept their foot on the gas during the Region 3A boys basketball tournament matchup in Madison on Tuesday.
Before people could sit down with their popcorn, the game was out of reach, thanks to a fast start from Madison. At the end of the first quarter, Madison held a 26-6 lead. That quick start helped Madison pick up the 69-46 victor over Baltic.
“We came out as the aggressor and played with a ton of confidence,” Madison head coach Jeff Larsen said. “We shot the ball well and had great intensity on defense. We were able to maintain the lead and get a running clock in the third quarter.”
Eli Barger opened the scoring by knocking down a three-pointer. Back-to-back baskets from Aiden Jensen put the Bulldogs up 7-0, and a three-pointer from Andrew Comes pushed Madison’s lead to 10-0.
Baltic scored their first basket with 3:32 left in the opening quarter to make it a 10-point game at 12-2.
A three-pointer from Comes pushed Madison’s lead to 15-2, and a three-pointer from Thomas Mechels gave Madison a 20-4 lead. At the end of the first quarter, Madison led 26-6.
With Madison holding a 32-11 lead in the second quarter, Comes made his third three-pointer of the game to give the Bulldogs a 35-11 lead. At the break, Madison held a 41-18 advantage.
Not surprisingly, Baltic was unable to erase the 23-point halftime deficit, with both teams scoring 28 points in the second half.
Jensen finished the game with 20 points and eight rebounds for Madison. Comes hit five three-pointers and finished the game with 17 points.
Ben Brooks scored 12 points, dished out eight assists and grabbed six rebounds for Madison. Charles Callahan chipped in with eight points.
With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 13-8 overall and advanced to the next round of the Region 3A tournament, where they’ll square off against Dell Rapids in Sioux Falls. The game is scheduled to be played on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Elmen Center on the campus of Augustana University.
Dell Rapids owns a 15-5 record. They defeated Tri-Valley 64-31 on Tuesday. Madison edged Dell Rapids earlier this season 62-61. The two teams will take the court with a spot in the SoDak 16 on the line.
“Friday night will be a great atmosphere for the boys to compete in,” Larsen said. “We will have to bring great intensity for four quarters and control the tempo and win the rebounding battle. We are excited for the opportunity, and I am proud to coach this group of boys.”