Hart County’s Jordan Carter was hot from beyond the arc early Tuesday, hitting three three-pointers and leading the Bulldogs to a 15-2 early edge.
But the home squad was feeling it from deep, too — particularly Alex Jordan, who came off the bench and hit three three-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the first half to give the Red Raiders a 30-23 halftime edge.
Madison County (3-4) never trailed again, downing 0-2 Hart County 76-67. Jordan, who went 5-for-6 from beyond the arc Tuesday, finished with 16. Trey Carruth led all Red Raider scorers with 19, while Trae Burton finished with 16 and T.J. Skelton added 14.
“We knew he could shoot, we just haven’t had a game to get him good looks,” said Red Raider coach Steve Crouse of Jordan. “He’s a great shooter. Now everyone knows he can shoot.”
Crouse said opponents will likely now have to focus on Jordan outside, which could open up some more on the inside.
The Red Raider coach said his team’s bench play was a major factor in Tuesday’s win. He said his squad showed a lot better effort against Hart County than it did in Saturday’s 72-47 loss to Cedar Shoals, working harder to get back in transition.
“We challenged our guys not to ever quit,” said Crouse. “Nothing good ever happens if you don’t work hard.”
Crouse said Brock Turner did “an excellent job” defensively Tuesday. He also praised Jordan and Burton for taking charges.
“That (taking a charge) is the ultimate unselfish play,” said Crouse. “You know you’re going to get hit and then hit the floor.”
Once again, the Red Raiders struggled with turnovers, committing 26.
“That’s 26 possessions we don’t even get a shot off,” said Crouse.
While the coach was pleased that his team outrebounded Hart 33-27, he noted that his squad had just one offensive board in the first half and seven total, a figure that must improve, he said.
The Red Raiders, who entered the game averaging 12.3 assists per game, tallied 16 assists Tuesday.
Madison County, which was 58.8 percent from the line entering the Hart County game, went 22-33 (66.7 percent) from the line Tuesday, but the team was particularly strong down the stretch, draining 17-of-20 (85 percent) shots from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
“That’s how you put the game on ice,” said Crouse.
Carruth was particularly clutch from the line, knocking down 11 of 12 free throws.
“We’re getting better in small steps,” said Crouse. “We feel better because we got the win, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Madison County will host Franklin County Friday night at 8:30 p.m. and Elbert County Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
“Franklin County is so good,” said Crouse. “They keep coming back with basketball players — good kids who work hard and come to work. Elbert County will want some payback (Madison County beat them 55-51 Nov. 29) and they are so athletic.”