Madison’s Jacob Leader, center, gets double-teamed by Oak Hill’s Gabe Samson (10) and Gavin Rawstron (11) during a game Thursday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan)

WALES — A sleepy start between the Madison and Oak Hill boys’ basketball teams turned into a furious finish.

Jacob Meader scored 24 points, then saw Joshua Linkletter and Vern Worthen make clutch plays in overtime after he fouled out to lift Madison to a 53-48 victory over Oak Hill in Mountain Valley Conference action in Wales on Thursday.

Madison improved to 5-2 with the victory, while the Raiders fell to 3-4.

“That was a test of will really, I think,” Madison coach Jason Furbush said. “We were in foul trouble the whole game. My big guy, Thomas (Dean) was in foul trouble, Meader was in foul trouble, (Eric) Wescott was in foul trouble. We had some combinations on the floor that aren’t used to playing together very much. It was an adventure at times, but they stuck it out.”

Oak Hill got 17 points from Gavin Rawstron and 12 from Gabe Samson, but couldn’t put the game away despite taking its first lead at 45-43 with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.

“They’re getting it,” said coach Tom Smith, whose team has no seniors and started four sophomores and freshmen. “The positives do outweigh the negatives. With such a young team, they have to learn how to win the close games. This is a true test for them.”

Wescott added 11 points and Caden Franzose had 10 for the Bulldogs, who were tied at 48 but without Meader in overtime when the ball went to Linkletter with 57 seconds left. He knocked down a jumper from the corner, his first basket of the game, to put Madison ahead by two, and Worthen then made a free throw and got a steal, forcing Oak Hill to foul and send Wescott to the line with 12.5 seconds left. The senior hit both shots to all but seal the game.

“It was basically a must-win,” said Furbush, whose team had dropped two straight after a 4-0 start. “We’ve got Spruce Mountain and Winthrop coming up. We’ve got a tough two games, so this was a must-win. And we made it, somehow.”

Madison led by as many as 12 in a low-scoring first half, but saw its chances at a victory slipping away when Samson had a layup and then, after stealing the inbounds pass, a putback to put the Raiders ahead for the first time, 45-43, with 10 seconds remaining.

Madison had an answer, however, as Franzose drew a foul and knocked down both pressure-packed free throws to tie the game at 45-45 and force overtime. Oak Hill took the first lead of the extra period on a pair of Rawstron free throws, but Wescott hit a pair of free throws to tie the game again, then hit another to put Madison ahead 48-47 with 1:24 left.

Oak Hill got what appeared to be a game-changing break when Meader, dominant all game long, fouled out with 1:19 to play and Alex Fournier hit a game-tying free throw, but the Bulldogs instead went ahead for good when Linkletter picked a perfect time for his first points.

Madison’s Eric Wescott, left, gets double-teamed by Oak Hill’s Gabe Samson, center, and Isiah Morgan during a game Thursday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan)

Oak Hill’s Liam Rodrigue (20) attacks the hoop against the defense of Madison’s Eric Wescott during a game Thursday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan)

Oak Hill’s Caden Thompson, left, plays defense on Madison’s Joshua Linkletter during a game Thursday at Oak Hill High School in Wales. (Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan)


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