When Madison East girls basketball coach James Adams watches Madison Memorial, he sees a young, up-and-coming group reminiscent of his team a couple years ago.
Madison East had its hands full with Memorial on Thursday night, but the more experienced Purgolders withstood the host Spartans’ challenge during a 63-57 double-overtime victory in Big Eight Conference play.
Senior guard Justice Filip scored 11 of her game-high 19 points in the first half, 6-foot-2 senior forward Erin Howard added 12 points and senior forward Jayla Conners and junior guard Shayla Moseberry had 11 points apiece for the Purgolders (13-4, 11-2 Big Eight). Second-place Madison East, receiving votes in Division 1 in The Associated Press poll, remained two games behind league leader and third-ranked Sun Prairie.
“I tell the girls every time we play Memorial, ‘They mirror us — in speed, athleticism, tenacity,’ ” Adams said. “If they had a big like we had in Erin, they’d be right there with us. One thing that separates us from them is we had the big that can rebound shots. … There is a (darn) good basketball coach over there for Memorial. He (Marques Flowers) does a really good job of preparing them against us.
“They are a team on the rise. They are a very scary team. I don’t want to see them in the playoffs.”
Sophomore guards Leilani Kapinus and Daiysha Brown led the Spartans (9-8, 8-5) with 14 points each, while sophomore guard Emmoni Rankins contributed 12 points. Memorial, which started four sophomores and a freshman, fell to fourth place — behind third-place Middleton.
“We really want to play a faster tempo game,” said Memorial coach Marques Flowers, whose team dropped a 52-48 decision to East in the first meeting this season. “They try to make us slow it down. … They have got some vets who are really solid and they were able to weather it and withstand it.”
The Purgolders were 7-for-8 from the foul line in the second overtime and outscored the Spartans 9-3. The 5-8 Filip and Auburn commit Howard combined for eight of the points.
“We were more pumped that we got into another overtime,” Filip said. “(The two teams) are just alike. And I think that helped us because we do know they are just like us and that’s how we were, but we are older and seniors now.”
The teams entered the second overtime tied at 54; the 5-8 Brown’s 3-pointer from out front missed at the buzzer ending the first 4-minute extra session.
Filip sank two 3-pointers while scoring the final eight points of the first half, propelling the Purgolders to a 28-19 lead at halftime.
“I knew I had to step up,” Filip said. “I just was confident and took my shots.”
East, effectively using a morphing 1-2-2 defense, boosted its lead to 34-21 before the Spartans picked up their defensive pressure and chipped away, finally tying the game at 49.
“It was too early in the game and I think we got comfortable,” Adams said about seeing the Purgolders’ lead disappear. “We had to lock in on ‘D.’ ’’
Rankins sank a 3-pointer from the left corner with 3 minutes, 19 seconds left and Kapinus followed with the tying basket off a drive with 2:39 remaining in the second half. Regulation ended still deadlocked at 49 when Moseberry’s 13-foot shot missed at the buzzer. Before that, Memorial had possession but Brown missed a shot on a drive to the basket with 7.8 seconds left.
“The fact we are able to compete at this high of a level is a testament to the talent they have,” Flowers said. “They just have to continue to learn the mental side of competition.”
Madison East 28 21 5 9 — 63
Madison Memorial 19 30 5 3 — 57
MADISON EAST — Howard 4 4-5 12, Filip 7 3-4 19, Hayes 2 0-0 4, Conners 3 5-5 11, Janto 1 0-0 2, Moseberry 4 2-6 11, Bentley 1 2-4 4. Totals 22 16-24 63.
MADISON MEMORIAL — Rankins 4 3-4 12, Brown 6 0-1 14, Garcia 1 0-1 2, Peters 1 0-0 3, Kapinus 4 6-7 14, Rosales 2 2-2 6, White Eagle 2 2-5 6. Totals 20 13-20 57.
3-point goals — ME 3 (Filip 2, Moseberry 1), MM 4 (Rankins 1, Brown 2, Peters 1). Total fouls — ME 18, MM 18.