Stars the victim of Madison Miracle as Cubs rise from the dead for 57-54 overtime win

MADISON – BNL’s Colten Leach waits for Madison’s Kaden Oliver to descend before scoring. Leach had 14 points, but Oliver totaled 25 as the Cubs escaped with a 57-54 overtime triumph.

By Justin Sokeland

MADISON – After the wildest, most inexplicable, inexcusable and mind-boggling finish to regulation, justice would dictate Bedford North Lawrence leaving with a road victory it had tucked away twice on Friday night. But justice was denied, and a loss that will live in infamy for generations to come will sting for a long time.

The final buzzer sounded twice, the celebration had started two times, and Madison’s bench was lining up for the glum, obligatory hand shake. Except it wasn’t over. The Cubs were mostly dead, not all dead, and there’s a big difference. Miracle Max would be proud of this one.

Given new life twice in the final second of regulation, the Cubs took advantage of an unbelievable whistle and head-shaking break to record a 57-54 overtime triumph with more plot twists that one of M. Night Shyamalan’s dark films. Kaden Oliver was the ultimate Madison hero, scoring 25 points, while Jackson Falconberry hit the clinching free throws in the extra session.

But the overtime was almost anticlimactic compared to the unthinkable conclusion of the fourth quarter. Here’s the scene. After Trace Rynders buried a clutch 3-pointer with 23 seconds left for a 49-48 lead, Madison went to Oliver, who missed a contested 3-pointer. In the scrum for the rebound, Rynders came out of the mad pack with the ball, the horn sounded. Game over.

Wait, cue Lee Corso. Not so fast. The three game officials huddled as the teams lined up to shake hands and leave the court. They decided a foul had been called, put 0.7 seconds back on the clock, and sent Rynders to the foul line. He hit the first, missed the second, and Oliver missed a desperate fling from the opposite foul line as the buzzer sounded again.

Wait. Not so fast. The back official called a foul on Rynders – phantom, he will claim until his last breath – and awarded Oliver three free throws with no time on the clock. He hit the first, hit the second after a BNL timeout, then clanged the third, forcing overtime with a 50-50 deadlock.

Wow. Call it the Madison Miracle.

MADISON – BNL’s Colton Staggs cut between defenders. Staggs scored 14 points.

“What a crazy game,” BNL coach Jeff Hein, managing great composure, considering the circumstances. “25 years of coaching, I don’t know I’ve ever been a part of that, what happened tonight. Where you’re lining up to shake hands, all of a sudden – twice – the referees decide they’re going to change the game and play longer. I mean, it’s crazy.”

With floor leader Colten Leach sidelined after he fouled out with 1:55 left in regulation, the Stars were undermanned in the overtime, yet still had a chance to win for a third time and escape. After Falconberry drained a gorgeous but deadly jumper for a 55-53 lead with 12 seconds left, Colton Staggs was fouled at midcourt as he rushed to the other end. He made only one free throw with 6.7 seconds left. Falconberry made two at 5.6, and Staggs got an opening for a 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer. The ball got grazed, Staggs and the Stars claimed foul, but this time the zeroes on the clock were absolute.

“I think these kids learned some lessons for life, not just for basketball,” Hein said. When asked if that lesson would be ‘Life isn’t fair?’ “That would be the one.

“It’s going to be a tough ride home, a long ride. These kids will take it hard. And should. We didn’t come over here to lose.”

Madison (2-4) controlled the first half, jumping to a 17-9 lead early in the second quarter as Falconberry got loose in the paint. Leach spurred a charge with a steal and breakaway, Staggs scored twice, and BNL stayed within striking range at 21-17.

MADISON – Madison’s Kaden Oliver claims a rebound over BNL’s Trace Rynders. The Cubs had a commanding 30-17 edge on the boards.

BNL was brilliant to start the third quarter, scoring 9 straight points. Leach rebounded his own miss, Kaedyn Bennett buried a 3-pointer, Kole Bailey added two free throws and Leach pocketed a steal off the press for another layup. In the fourth quarter, BNL broke to its biggest lead at 42-35 with two Staggs free throws, another Bennett bomb and his beautiful fake-and-step jumper on the baseline.

But the Stars couldn’t put the Cubs away. Oliver scored six straight points to give the Cubs a 48-46 lead with 55 seconds left. That set the stage for the wacky, strange and implausible. Perhaps it’s telling that first-year Madison coach Adam Stotts came out of the locker room to shake Hein’s hand – this time for real – and offer an apology.

”It’s a bad way to lose,” he said. But he wasn’t going to give it back.

“It was like everything that could go wrong, went wrong late,” Stotts said. “That’s why I tell my guys it’s never over.” And he was correct, even if it was over. “We shouldn’t have been in that situation, so let’s take advantage of it.” The Cubs certainly did that.

Oliver was 14 of 16 from the line for the bulk of his points, plus he had 8 rebounds. Falconberry added 13 points.

BNL (1-4) had some outstanding numbers. Leach scored 14 points, Staggs totaled 14, and Bennett added 11 – plus he drew four charging fouls, which has to be a record. Bailey was a catalyst with 8 points. But there were bad numbers, including Madison’s 30-17 rebounding edge and BNL’s 8-for-15 night at the line, including two missed one-and-one chances in the fourth quarter.

“That’s the way it goes,” Hein said. “There were things we didn’t do well. We took some bad shots, missed some free throws. If we just rebound a little better . . .”

The Stars will have to regroup quickly, as they host Silver Creek on Saturday night.

MADISON – BNL’s Kole Bailey absorbs a foul in the paint. Bailey came off the bench for a career-high 8 points.


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

4 Kaedyn Bennett, f 3-7 4-8 0-0 3 1 11

40 Jett Jones, f 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

22 Colton Staggs, g 1-4 5-11 3-5 0 2 14

1 Trace Rynders, g 2-8 2-9 1-2 3 2 7

2 Colten Leach, g 0-0 6-14 2-3 4 5 14

10 Dylan Nikirk 0-1 0-1 0-1 0 3 0

14 Kole Bailey 0-1 3-5 2-4 4 3 8

20 Dylan Endris 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

3 Quincy Pickett 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 6-20 20-48 8-15 17 17 54


3s FGs FTs R F Pts

0 Jackson Falconberry, f 0-0 5-6 3-3 5 3 13

34 Jackson Lynch, f 1-2 2-4 0-3 3 3 5

1 Kaden Oliver, g 1-5 5-15 14-16 8 2 25

5 Colin Yancey, g 0-0 2-2 0-0 6 2 4

10 Henry Grote, g 2-6 2-7 1-2 6 3 7

3 Jackson Bear 1-1 1-1 0-0 3 1 3

22 Drew Hayden 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 3 0

12 Quincy Reynolds 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 5-14 17-35 18-21 30 17 57

Bedford NL 9 8 11 22 4 – 54

Madison 10 11 6 23 7 – 57

Turnovers – BNL 8, Madison 19

Technical foul – Grote

Field goal percentage – BNL 20-48 (.417); Madison 17-35 (.485)

Free throw percentage – BNL 8-15 (.533); Madison 18-21 (.857)