It wasn't as crisp a victory as Jesse Nelson would have liked, but his Olpe Eagles still came away with a win on Friday night.
Madison slowed the Eagles down on both sides of the ball, but offensive rebounds and turnovers still allowed Olpe to take a 54-24 victory over the Bulldogs, advancing them to the 20th consecutive appearance in the Lyon County League Tournament. The Eagles are 14-5 in that stretch with tonight yet to play out.
"Defensively, we really did a good job," Nelson said. "They're just going to make you play a long time on defense and if you make a mistake, they're going to make you pay for it. I wasn't disappointed in what we did there. We just stuttered sometimes on offense when we shouldn't (have)."
Olpe's offense wasn't up to its normal pace but was still effective enough against a Madison attack that sought success from minimizing the Eagles' opportunities.
"We knew they would try to stall the game a little more and we just needed to go and attack," Olpe senior Emma Miller said.
It was Miller who led Olpe with 10 points, along with Neleh Davis. The two Eagles helped their team to a modest 20-point lead at halftime, which is still far closer than a majority of the Eagles' contests have been this season.
The Bulldogs were led by Emily Farrow, who scored seven points.
Another set of Bulldogs will face the Eagles tomorrow night, when Olpe and Waverly meet for the seventh time in a span of nine LCL Tournament Championship bouts.
"What they do, they do with really good athletes," Nelson said of Waverly. "They can score it a lot of different ways, so part of it is you have to beat their energy. The second part is you have to defend that well. Our defense tomorrow will be ... the most important part of the game."
The two teams met in their regular season league finales, with the Eagles taking a 76-50 victory, though Waverly shot the ball quite effectively from the perimeter.
"We played really hard (tonight) and we know we need to come back tomorrow and play even harder, with a little bit more energy," Miller said.
MHS 4 8 4 8 — 24
OHS 15 17 12 10 — 54
Madison: E. Farrow 7, Williams 3, Watts 4, R. Farrow 4, Stutesman 2, Serrer 4.
Olpe: Smith 5, McDougald 6, Davis 10, Heins 3, Bishop 7, Beeman 8, Miller 10, Sleezer 5.