Written by Matt Wixon
Madison boys eager to face Houston Yates in 3A final after hammering Abilene Wylie, 92-55
AUSTIN — Madison players have talked all season about playing without fear. On Thursday, in the Trojans’ first trip to the state tournament in three years, they gave reason to be feared as they trounced Abilene Wylie, 92-55, in a Class 3A semifinal at the Frank Erwin Center.
It might not strike fear into Houston Yates, the former 4A powerhouse whom Madison will face in the 3A title game at 10 a.m. Saturday. But for those who had penciled in Yates as the state champ, Madison’s performance gave a reason to keep an eraser nearby.
“We have the luxury of playing 13 guys and not really losing a step,” Madison coach Damien Mobley said. “We’ll eventually start wearing teams down.”
Madison (31-4) wore down Wylie (34-5) by pressuring on defense, relentlessly attacking the offensive boards and sending in waves of fresh players. All 15 of Madison’s players got at least five minutes on the court, and nobody played more than 18 of the game’s 32 minutes.
That was enough time, however, for guard Admon Gilder to display his smooth jumper. The sophomore drilled seven of eight 3-pointers and finished with 25 points.
“Admon’s been giving us that kind of performance for two years now,” Mobley said. “He puts in the work and the time … it’s never a surprise to us.”
Wylie was an early surprise as it jumped to a 7-3 lead. And despite Gilder nailing four 3-pointers in the first six minutes, Wylie trailed just 21-19 late in the first quarter. But Madison scored the next 17 points and led, 49-27, at halftime.
The game seemed decided by then, but Madison finished the knockout by scoring the first 23 points of the second half.
“They just make it so hard on everybody,” Wylie coach Russell Perkins said. “You’ve got to make the right decisions at the exact right times, and if you don’t do that, they take advantage of it.”
Wylie guard Duane Hopper added, “We haven’t seen pressure like that. They’re a heck of a team.”
The only drama of the second half was when Madison’s 6-8 starting forward, JD Wallace, left the game with an injury in the third quarter. The senior, who scored 13 points, limped slightly as he left the court and didn’t return. But Mobley said that it wasn’t serious and that Wallace will be ready for the long-awaited matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2.
Yates, which beat Brookshire Royal, 81-70, in the other semifinal, has been the top-ranked team in 3A most of the season. The school won 4A titles in 2009 and 2010 and was runner-up to Kimball last season.
Yates’ drop to 3A this season kept No. 2 Madison out of the top spot in the rankings, but the Trojans can settle it on the court.
“For us, it’s an honor," Mobley said. "My kids are really basketball fanatics. They read the Internet, they read the newspaper, they hear the words on the street. They’ll be honored to play Houston Yates.”
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.