The bleachers were cramped even before the junior varsity teams finished up.
The game couldn’t have been much bigger for Madison West, and the Regents didn’t leave much, if any, effort in the tank in their efforts to avoid a fourth straight loss.
Still, it wasn’t nearly enough to knock off No. 8 Madison Memorial.
The Spartans continued to run away from the rest of the Big Eight Conference after a 70-48 victory over West on Friday night.
It was Memorial’s ninth straight win — seven by a double-figure margin — since losing two straight in December at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“You don’t want to peak at the end of January, but I think we’re playing pretty well,” Madison Memorial coach Steve Collins said. “Ever since we came back from Myrtle Beach, I think we’ve been playing with more of a passion and aggressiveness.”
It took Madison Memorial (15-3, 13-1 Big Eight) just 3 minutes, 7 seconds to take a 15-2 lead, a run highlighted by three-point plays from Reggie Roemer and Tyler Lindquist.
It was the start of an 11-point first quarter for Lindquist, who finished with 16.
Memorial’s Darral Willis, a 6-foot-7 senior, led all players with 21 points and 12 rebounds. It was his 10th straight game scoring more than 20 points.
Malik Clements led Madison West (8-9, 6-7) with 17 points, the first time since Dec. 27 he failed to score more than 20.
It was Clements’ play in the second quarter that briefly kept the Regents in the game.
The senior forward was fouled on a made 15-foot fadeaway jumper with 3:48 left in the first half, and 40 seconds later rebounded a missed free throw and laid it in to cut the Regents’ deficit to 28-22.
But Memorial stretched the lead to 10 by halftime and scored the first 11 points of the third quarter, seven of those coming from Willis.
“You can’t let a 10-point lead turn into a 20-point lead,” West coach Keith Stewart said. “We’ve got to play for four quarters. You’ve got to keep fighting.”
The loss was West’s fourth straight, and it dropped the Regents’ overall and conference record below .500.
“We’ve just got to go back and regroup,” Stewart said. “We’ve got five games left in conference, and we have to take care of business.”
With four games remaining, Memorial needs just one more win to clinch at least a share of the Big Eight title.
They’ll have that chance at home next Friday against Verona.
“We’ve just got to keep working hard and not take anything for granted,” Willis said. “We’ve just got to come out here every time and have the mentality to win.
“We get everybody’s ‘A’ game. That helps us so that when we make it to state, we’re going to know what to expect.”
Madison Memorial 22 14 21 13 — 70
Madison West 11 15 8 14 — 48
MADISON MEMORIAL — Roemer 9, Fountain 6, Smith 5, Tr. Lindquist 1, Songolo 4, Houden 7, Willis 20, Ty. Lindquist 16, Tauber 2. Totals 24 20-31 70.
MADISON WEST — Davis 2, Pettigrew 3, McFadden 10, Meyer 6, Scott 6, Graham 2, Clements 17, Nytes 2, Russell 0. Totals 18 10-17 48.
3-point goals — MM 2 (Willis 1, Ty. Lindquist 1), MW 2 (McFadden 2). Total fouls — MM 15, MW 26. Fouled out — Russell.