The Madison Lady Bulldogs are just one game away from the Class A State Basketball Tournament. The Lady Bulldogs will be battling the Sioux Falls Christian Chargers for the Region 3A title on Saturday.
"I think that this will be a great opportunity for the girls," said Madison Coach Adam Ericsson. "Some of our younger girls don't quite understand that this might be their best chance to go to the state tournament. We are one victory away."
Madison faced Sioux Falls Christian earlier this season and the Chargers rolled to a lopsided 66-28 victory.
"We know that we did not give them our best shot in the earlier game," Ericsson said. "In preparing for Saturday's game, we've watched a lot of game film from that contest. It wasn't pretty. We know that we can compete with them if we do our jobs."
Two areas where Madison has shown improvement since the last time these two teams met are ball handling and decision-making.
"We have grown up as a team and we have been able to learn from our mistakes and make the proper adjustments," he said.
The Lady Bulldogs have been peaking at the right time. Out of the last five games, Madison has won three games.
"I believe that we are playing the best we have all season," Ericsson said. "We have started to make the `little things' happen. We have a better idea of our roles on the team as well. We are figuring out how to be basketball players, not just athletes who play basketball."
For the Lady Bulldogs to win Saturday's contest, they will need to execute on both ends of the court.
"We will have to execute our offensive and defensive game plans with total commitment," Ericsson said. "We have to have less than 20 turnovers and shoot over 35 percent from the field."
The Lady Bulldogs enter the region finals with an 8-14 record while the Chargers enter the game with a 15-7 mark.
The Region 3A championship game will be played at Tea High School with tipoff set for 3 p.m. Ericsson does not believe the starting time will hamper the Lady Bulldogs.
"We would play this game at 3 a.m. on an outdoor court if we had to. We just want to play," he said.