ROXANA — The Roxana Shells boys' basketball team survived a late game surge from the Madison Trojans in Tuesday's non-conference contest at Larry Milazzo Gym, breaking a two-game losing streak.
The Shells improve to 10-6 with the 70-62 win.
“When the ball goes in the basket it makes up for a lot of your weaknesses and flaws,” Roxana coach Mark Briggs said. “And also the holes in your schemes that you might not be sure about. When you shoot the ball well, it makes those things go away. Those three guards (Trace Gentry, Zach Golenor and Chance Foss), it's the first time that they've probably shot the ball well at the same time.”
Roxana led 39-27 at halftime, but Kendall Kennedy's basket at the 6:51 mark in the third quarter kicked off a 12-6 run for Madison. Shamond Moore's three free throws ended the run and made the score 45-40 Roxana. However, the Shells never lost the lead in the quarter and led 56-44 at the end of the third.
The contest remained close throughout most of the fourth quarter with Madison stringing another momentum boosting run. Moore's basket at the 7:50 mark kicked off a 12 -4 run. Antwan Glasper's 3-pointer at the 2:02 mark ended the run and cut Roxana's led to three points at 60-57, but the Shells never lost the lead.
In the final two minutes of the game, the Shells offense passed the ball around in an attempt to own the clock and Madison fouled to regain possession of the ball. Roxana capitalized from the free throw line in the final two minutes, as it went 10 for 12 from the charity stripe.
The 70 points against Madison marked the Shells' second highest scoring game of the season. Roxana scored 82 points in a win over Odin on Nov. 27. Roxana did a fine job in creating second chances on scoring through offensive rebounding.
“The reason why we lost this game is our rebounding,” Madison coach Jaime Cotto-Rodriguez said. “How many offensive rebounds did they have? And a lot of their threes came off of second chances, too. I didn't feel our offense was the issue tonight. This is the most points we've given up all year. But we didn't give in and we fought.”
The Shells recorded 11 treys in the contest. Golenor, a junior, led Roxana's offense with 27 points. Madison's defense played a diamond-in-one against the Shells' top scorer Gentry in the first half. Gentry scored just two points in the first quarter, but Golenor picked up the slack, scorin 12 points in the opening frame, as Roxana led 16-12 at the end of the first quarter.
“I thought we played really well together, everybody was looking for each other,” Golenor said. “And my teammates found me when I was open.”
Roxana placed a trio of players in double figures, as Gentry scored 17 points and Foss had 16.
“We've talked about playing with each other and trusting each other,” Briggs said. “You saw better ball movement tonight and kids utilizing their strengths. We've fallen into a bit of a lull because sometimes we get in the habit of standing around and watching Gentry and there's other guys on this team that can make shots. Foss, tonight on the free throw line, he hit some huge free throws for us.”
Madison had three players in double figures: Moore with 17 points, Kendall with 13 and Vince Wilson with 12.
The Shells will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. Friday against South Central Conference rival Staunton on the road.